One of the greatest challenges facing the EU is how best to design and adapt cities into smart intelligent and sustainable environments. Almost three quarters of Europeans live in cities, consuming 70% of the EU's energy. Congestion costs Europe about 1% of its GDP every year; most of it is located in urban areas. Smart urban technologies can make a major contribution to tackling many urban challenges.
Therefore the European Commission launched the Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership. The partnership proposes to pool resources to support the demonstration of energy, transport and information and communication technologies (ICT) in urban areas. The energy, transport and ICT industries are invited to work together with cities to combine their technologies to address cities' needs. This will enable innovative, integrated and efficient technologies to roll out and enter the market more easily, while placing cities at the centre of innovation. The funding will be awarded through yearly calls for proposals: €365 million for 2013.
By launching a Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership (SCC) the European Commission aims to boost the development of smart technologies in cities – by pooling research resources from energy, transport and ICT and concentrating them on a small number of demonstration projects which will be implemented in partnership with cities. For 2013 alone, € 365 million in EU funds have been earmarked for the demonstration of these types of urban technology solutions.
The Smart Cities and Communities Initiative was launched in 2011. In the first year (2012), € 81 Million has been earmarked for this initiative, covering only two sectors: transport and energy. Demonstration projects financed under the scheme can be in either one of the two sectors - rather than the two combined.
Starting from 2013, the budget has been increased from € 81 Million to € 365 Million, covering three areas instead of two: energy, transport and ICT. In addition, each and every demonstration project financed under the scheme must combine all the three sectors. Pooling the sources together also means using synergies. With this Smart Cities Partnership, the EU will help to establish strategic partnerships between those industries and European cities to develop and roll out the urban systems and infrastructures of tomorrow. More information can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/technology/initiatives/smart_cities_en.htm