European companies and regional leaders agree on Action Plan to make Europe’s cities smarter
Commission expected to invest around €200m to create Smart Cities in the next two years.
For more than 75% of EU citizens their city is their home – it is where they mostly live, work, and play. Cities are the major source of European economic activity and of innovation. But the global economy is developing and changing fast and European cities need to rise to new challenges and develop and improve. Our cities are also a major source of greenhouse gases and local pollution and we need concerted action to put this right. We can and we should make cities better places to live and to work in. Our cities can become cleaner and healthier and use less energy. They can be Smart Cities.
Smart Cities are cities which best use modern technology services and infrastructure, and modern ways of working and raising finance to make real improvements in the everyday lives of the people that live in them and the businesses that generate wealth and employment, and it represents another important contribution to building a digital single market, one of the key issues led by European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes to be discussed at the European Council on 24th October.
The Smart Cities and Communities Partnership, who are meeting today in Brussels, brings together city leaders, industry and the research community working to identify and then to deliver, new ways of improving European cities in a more joined up way. The Smart Cities Partnership Strategic Implementation Plan sets out a broad range of new actions and approaches to encourage our cities to become smarter. The plan concentrates on how to drive forward improvement in buildings and planning, new Information Technologies, transport and energy, and new ways of integrating these areas. These approaches include a presumption that data be “open by default” – meaning that the data can be re-used by others to create additional benefits for citizens, businesses and governments.
The plan also suggests improvements to the way that cities are run with better ways of involving citizens and more collaborative ways of doing things. It suggests innovation zones, new business models, a re-evaluation of rules and legislation and a more standardised approach to data collection and use to enable better comparisons between approaches and between cities.
This is just the beginning of a large scale programme of work by all the partners and many others. An important part of that work will be the “Lighthouse Projects” – cities which will demonstrate and deliver Smart City solutions on a large scale. These Projects will be partly financed by the European Commission’s Horizon 2002 Research Funds. Further business and public funding will help to spread these new solutions to other cities and economies of scale will help to make these “innovative” and “high tech” solutions the norm – available more easily to all cities and neighbourhoods.
More details about these next steps and about European Commission funding and Business Commitments will be announced at the official launch of the delivery plan on 26 November.