Smart Cities combine diverse technologies to reduce their environmental impact and offer citizens better lives.
This is not, however, simply a technical challenge. Organisational change in governments - and indeed society at large - is just as essential.
Making a city smart is therefore a very multidisciplinary challenge, bringing together city officials, innovative suppliers, national and EU policymakers, academics and civil society.
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
The Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform provides a unique opportunity for all stakeholders (companies, cities, individuals, ...) in Europe to establish Europe's Smart City Roadmap, inspire the future Calls in EU Horizon 2020 and Key Innovations that will make our cities smarter and more sustainable. The Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform will stimulate the emergence of smart cities by bringing stakeholders together from across Europe to exchange ideas, launch projects and improve policy at local, regional, national and EU level.
Its two main goals are:
- Policy input and analysis: get stakeholder input into how national and EU policies and programmes can best support smart cities;
- Smart City Projects: help cities go smart through both helping cities learn from each other and by generating privately and publicly funded projects.
At the heart of the Platform is a set of Working Groups, a community website and a series of conferences and workshops.
These are tightly integrated together: a stakeholder seeking project partners, for example, could use the website to raise awareness of their experience and ideas, resulting in an invitation to a working group workshop, thus influencing the Platform's policy recommendations.
See also: About the Platform
The Platform has set up three thematic Technical Working Groups, each dedicated to one technology area (Transport & Mobility; Energy Supply & Networks; Energy Efficiency & Buildings and ICT) and two horizontal Coordination Groups (Finance and Roadmap Groups). A fourth thematic Working Group on ICT has been added in spring 2013.
The Technical WGs review and rate the submitted Solution Proposals (SPs) with a view of grouping them as Keys to Innovation (KIs). Results are visible for all stakeholders.
One of the guiding principles of the Platform is openness. Anyone can join the Platform and submit relevant content - perhaps a best practice or news from their home city's project, an idea for a networking session or a description of an innovative technical solution.
Commenting on existing content is also a good way of raising your profile, and publishing a public profile is essential: let people know who you are, what you're interested in and what you have to offer!
Another principle, however, will be quality. The authors of the best submissions, for example, may be invited to input their ideas into a Working Group’s recommendation for EU policy, or to present them at the next conference.
Any member of the Stakeholder Platform can submit a Solution Proposal (SPs) via the online form. The SPs will be validated (Note: not evaluated!) by the Chair based on the following criteria:
- Relevance to cities
- Completeness of the information
If suitable it will be published on the website. Rejected SPs will be communicated to the SP proponent. The SPs can be resubmitted with relevant corrections. In case the Chair has doubts, s/he will consult with relevant Working Group members prior to publishing the SP.
At the end of the process, the WG decides on whether to select the SPs which will be promoted as KIs, based on the evaluation criteria described in the working methods, and for which the WG will develop implementation ‘Toolkits’, in coordination with the Finance Group.
Solution Proposals are innovative ways in which cities have become smarter. This could have been through using new technologies, or by combining existing technologies in new ways. Innovative approaches to organizing the stakeholders or leveraging systems available in other cities can also lead to major advances, and are therefore considered as well. All validated SPs will be published on the Platform. This will allow the stakeholders, in particular city authorities, to discover all innovations that are submitted to the Platform.
Keys to Innovation are one of the central outputs. Keys to Innovation are drawn from selected Solution Proposals by the technical Working Groups. The selection of the Solution Proposals is based on the following evaluation criteria: applicability, simplicity, affordability, usability, the extent to which it addresses integration and if the potential impact is significant.
Completed Key Innovations will be sent to the Finance Group, which will assist the Working Groups in refining the financial information, provide information on potential financing sources and provide other information to enhance the deployment potential of the Key to Innovation. The combined information is the so-called “Toolkit”, which can also be understood as a kind of deployment template.
The basic idea of the City profiles is to allow users to find smart city solutions suitable to their city. To achieve this, we are:
- setting out which cities across Europe have smart city projects, and to characterise them by climate, population density, etc;
- link the Smart City Innovations submitted, profiled and studied on this site to Profiles of the cit(ies) they have been piloted in, if any;
- characterise the suitability of each Smart City Innovation by 'city type'.
Your public profile is your presence on this site - it tells other users about you, and links to and from all of your blog posts, comments and Solution Proposals.
When you log in, you are sent to your ‘My profile’ page. You can also get there from the link under ‘My shortcuts’, which appears on the right of every page whenever you are logged in.
From ‘My profile’, click the ‘Edit’ tab. Here you should:
- Set the profile to Public (essential);
- Upload a picture of yourself (recommended – put a face to your name);
- Add information about your company and position;
- Write a short ‘About me’ text under “Your Biography”. Tell other users about your job, knowledge, views, interests etc.
You can allow users to contact you without sharing your email address, and for you to do the same.
You need to both have a public profile (above) and tick the "Personal contact form" tickbox in your profile (log in, click 'My profile', click 'Edit', and scroll to the bottom of the page).
If you are sent a message:
- you will be alerted by email that a message has been sent;
- the email will include a link to your inbox on this site, where you can reply.
To send a message to a user:
- go to the user's Public Profile and click the 'Contact' tab;
- type in your message;
- the user will be alerted by email that a message has been sent.
Looking for smart city ideas for your city? When the City Profiles are finalised (see above), you will be able to enter the profile of your city (size, population, etc.) to find projects and best practices in cities similar to yours.
For networking purposes, try People Search, and don't forget to create a good public profile for yourself.
And remember - this is not supposed to be a one-way conversation (see Get involved).
All people who join the site can subsribe to the enewsletter, while everyone can follow us on twitter and subscribe to our RSS feeds.
The Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform project is an initiative of the European Commission (DG ENERGY), in close cooperation with the Covenant of Mayors and the Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform consortium: