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Smart Cities: it’s all about finding the right balance and being #smartertogether

By Béatrice Karas on 5 April 2018

Is your city a smart city? Is it moving from an analogue to a digitally-driven place implementing new energy, traffic and transport solutions that respect the boundaries of the environment?

“Smart” local policies are driven by social and technological innovations. The concept is not without controversy, but developing cities as systems with interconnected structures can help overcome the silo thinking that many point to as a crucial obstacle to the energy transition.

In the best of cases, this also includes resident engagement and integrated governance processes that foster dialogue among all the parties involved. Co-creating solutions is actually the main goal of Smarter Together. This EU-funded project focuses on finding the right balance between ICT, citizen engagement and institutional governance to enhance the energy transition. Six neighbourhoods in different European countries are experimenting smart city components that make a real difference to the citizens’ quality of life. Activities stretch from car-sharing systems and high-quality refurbishment measures to the production of renewables driven by local partnerships.

Lyon, Vienna, and Munich are the three leading cities in the project. Other follower cities are involved, seeking inspiration for their own strategy: Santiago de Compostela, Sofia and Venice as well as two "observer" cities, Kiev and Yokohama.

Lyon

Lyon’s participation in Smarter Together is focused on one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in France, called Lyon Confluence. Lyon aims to:

• refurbish existing buildings
• develop local renewable energy production
• reduce the use of conventional cars by providing alternative means of transport for residents
• develop a data platform to monitor energy production and consumption in the area
• involve citizens in the redevelopment of the Lyon Confluence area
• increase the quality of life of inhabitants by building comfortable and affordable housing and office spaces

Read Lyon’s full Smarter Together profile.

Munich

The city of Munich recently started to implement a framework strategy, introducing more smart city technologies in new developments. The city’s Smarter Together project area is the Neuaubing-Westkreuz/Freiham district, with around 30,000 residents. Their aim is to:

• cut CO2 emissions by more than 20%
• increase the use of renewable energy to above 20%
• increase energy efficiency by more than 20%.
• be carbon-neutral in Neuaubing-Westkreuz/Freiham by 2050
• install smart energy-efficient street lighting
• refurbish housing to reduce energy consumption, with a target of using 100% renewable energy

Read Munich’s full Smarter Together profile.

Vienna

Vienna’s project area is located in the central part of the Simmering district. Around 21,000 residents will benefit from smart solutions relating to refurbishment, energy, mobility, and information and communication technologies. The city aims to:

• increase the share of renewable energy in local energy consumption
• reduce the use of conventional energy sources to reduce energy dependency and CO2 emissions
• stabilise energy prices and provide affordable energy to inhabitants
• increase residents’ involvement
• use waste heat and solar heat for 3,000 households
• monitor and optimise the energy systems

Read Vienna’s full Smarter Together profile.

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These large-scale smart city services are being implemented and tested in cities that differ from one another, and under various urban and governance conditions. This will provide a diverse overview to inform replication efforts in cities across Europe. Beyond the scope of the project, Smarter Together will promote these experiences and highlight user-centric innovation, stakeholder involvement and the co-creation of new services and solutions.

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