EU Smart Cities – An Update

This is a short post to highlight the work that has started recently on 3 projects funded by the European Union specifically promoting the Smart City agenda. The projects are being funded under the Horizon 2020 programme. This policy area though funded by H2020 is being steered by a wide partnership approach. This body is called the Smart Cities and Communities European Investment Partnership. I blogged on this a couple of years ago here. I think it is useful to revisit it through looking at these three projects. The SCCEIP leads the wider partnership and policy thinking under this agenda and have published two key documents.

The Strategic Implementation Plan and more latterly the Operational Implementation Plan. This latter document goes into significant detail about areas that need exploring. The former introduced the term Lighthouse projects – large projects that moved beyond pilots to promote the development of market replicable solutions. A key aspect of the approach is that mobility, energy and ICT need to be integrated and that the cities involved need to be working together and not in silos. Whilst these policy documents produced by the SCCEIP are not formally linked to the H2020 calls they influence their content.

The first batch of successful Lighthouse projects are:

GrowSmarter

  • Lead cities: Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona
  • 5 follower cities: Valetta, Suceava, Porto, Cork and Graz
  • 12 ambitious, integrated ‘solutions’ covering energy, transport and intelligent infrastructure.
  • Within the project, an additional 20 cities will be engaged

REMOURBAN

  • 3 Lead cities: Valladolid, Nottingham and Tepebasi/Eskisehir
  • 2 follower cities: Seraing, Miskolc
  • Focuses on mid-size cities of about 300.000 inhabitants.
  • A central element of the project will be the elaboration of urban renovation strategies focused on the citizens.

TRIANGULUM

  • 3 Lead cities: Manchester, Eindhoven and Stavanger
  • 3 follower cities: Prague, Leipzig and Sabadell
  • ‘Observer City’: Chinese city of Tianjin
  • Development and implementation of a joint ICT reference architecture.

The summaries were drawn from a presentation by Mercè Griera i Fisa from the European Commission.

These three projects are also working together under the Joint Smart City Initiative which will be sharing results across the 12 cities and 50 other organisations involved to learn lessons and maximise replicability.

These Lighthouse projects were funded from the first call in 2014 and went live in 2015; a further 4 projects have been selected and will be announced shortly resulting from the 2015 call and another call is scheduled for 2016. To date the budget for the two first calls was almost 200m Euros.

The workplan for 2016-17 envisages a further 131m Euros in these type of Lighthouse projects – with a further 100m Euros available for nature based solutions. These outstanding and forthcoming calls are detailed in this presentation by Bernadette Frederick INEA given at the recent SCC Info Day. Fuller details are given in the H2020 Workplan (Pages 104-123)

The 2016 call reiterates the need for cross thematic working. The call ‘focusses on demonstrating sustainable, cost-effective and replicable district-scale solutions at the intersection of energy, transport enabled by ICT. They should integrate smart homes, energy efficiency measures, very high shares of renewables, smart grids, energy storage, electric vehicles and smart charging infrastructures, using latest generation ICT platforms (and infrastructure) based on open specifications.’

The main call closes on April 2016.

So you can see that the commitment established under the previous Commission to the Smart Cities approach is being delivered by the new Commission and significant resources are being allocated. They see this both as a way to tackle some of the problems afflicting cities – most notably the need to a more sustainable trajectory but also as a way to stimulate innovation in European businesses – as the global smart city industry has huge potential. Given that both these two drivers are likely to be around for sometime – as long as the early project show promise – this type of funding is likely to continue into the medium term.

 

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