A look back at #EUSEW17: inspiring speakers, compelling conversations and smart city storytelling
Another great edition of EU Sustainable Week is behind us! The event offered three dynamic days filled with interesting discussions, inspiring speakers and conversations that you wished would never end. We, the Smart Cities Information System’s (SCIS) team, had more excitement than usual this year, as besides meeting you at our stand throughout the week, on 21 June we held a policy session in a very crowded room! A big thank you to all the participants who joined us and contributed to its success!
Under the topic “Sharing smart solutions and experiences — scale-up and replication in European cities” different speakers brought an interesting mix of perspectives to foster learning and exchange, and demonstrate how innovation building, technological transfer and knowledge sharing help create a smart city. We heard about real case studies, inspiring practices, recommendations and creative solutions by SCIS, the Covenant of Mayors, the City of Vienna, the Horizon 2020 Lighthouse Projects network, and the EU smart cities projects SMARTER TOGETHER and City-zen.
Jorge NUÑEZ-FERRER from the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) showed the progress of building up the SCIS into a true knowledge base. ‘Telling the replication story is important!’ is a phrase that resonated in the room and made us think about the word ‘story’ – it is not only about the data, when thinking about replication we should consider the geography, the context, the framework.
Emmanuel GASTAUD from Métropole de Lyon followed with a presentation on smart data and how the three lighthouse cities in the SMARTER TOGETHER project – Lyon, Munich and Vienna – are developing smart data platforms which collect dynamic sets of data from smart city solutions in the fields of energy, infrastructure and e-mobility. He told the participants more concretely about the successful implementation in Lyon and encouraged others working on similar platforms to learn from their experience.
The audience favorite Craig LEE MARTIN from the Delft University of Technology took us on a quick trip with the City-zen project and their Roadshow initiative – co-creative urban design approach showing European cities the way towards sustainable city agendas. Bringing together city representatives, local stakeholders and citizens, the roadshow methodology is built on trust and is about building trust. ‘Stakeholders need to believe in the process, objectives and solutions, no matter how radical or unfamiliar’, Craig noted while showing the participants examples of cities his team have visited - Belfast (Northern Ireland), Izmir (Turkey), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Menorca (Spain).
The next speaker was Miguel Á. GARCÍA-FUENTES from the CARTIF Technology Centre, who is currently managing the Horizon 2020 lighthouse project REMOURBAN, and he is also the acting coordinator of the Horizon 2020 Lighthouse Projects Network. He described how the network of EU’s nine Lighthouse projects - REMOURBAN, SMARTER TOGETHER, GrowSmarter, TRIANGULUM, REPLICATE, SmartEnCity, Sharing Cities, RUGGEDISED, mySMARTlife – and their cities collaborate to enhance scale-up and replication of smart cities solutions.
Another great exchange and mentoring initiative was presented by Claire BAFFERT from the Covenant of Mayors. The City-twinning program is specifically designed for Covenant of Mayors’ signatory cities with the objective of to accelerate local capacity building and exchange of good practices on climate change adaptation. A city that is starting its adaptation work is twinned with a mentor municipality that has already developed successful adaptation strategies. Claire announced that the new calls to participate in the City-twinning programme are open in July, so if you are interested in participating follow the Covenant of Mayor’s website for updates.
The benefits of sharing know-how among cities are also the cornerstone of the SMARTER TOGETHER Club of Cities, which was introduced by Bojan SCHNABL from the City of Vienna. The club brings together cities from Europe and beyond with the objective of improving their capacity to implement smart city solutions through networking, study visits and online tools. Bojan highlighted the value of a sharing and structured learning approach as equally important as the technological part of creating a smart city. Find out how you can join the club here.
These presentations were followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with the audience that was moderated by Jens BARTHOLMES from the European Commission. Speakers sought to determine success factors and solutions to challenges for scale-up and replication in a smart city context. Despite their diverse backgrounds and field of work, they all came to one clear conclusion – a message best described by Craig: 'We celebrate the fact that cities are different. Sustainability is site-specific’. The panel emphasized that replication is not only about technologies and KPIs; it is about the whole story. Understanding the factors that affect replication is critical for successfully implementing global ideas at a local level.
Yana Pargova works as a Project Manager at GOPA Com., where she has been involved in smart cities projects such as the Smart Cities Information System (SCIS) and the Horizon 2002 lighthouse project SMARTER TOGETHER. Currently, she is managing a wide range of communication activities for SCIS such as strategy, content creation, digital communication and community management, events, media and partner relations. Prior to that Yana has worked as a Project & Communication Officer in the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized enterprises (EASME) and in DG Interpretation at the European Commission.
Yana holds a Master’s degree in Virtual Culture with a focus on digital communication and design and a Bachelor’s in Cultural Studies from Sofia University, including a year specialising in Film and Media in the University of Copenhagen. Before moving to Brussels, she spent several years working as a Communication Manager of contemporary art, design, dance, and music projects and festivals in Bulgaria, while also covering the urban and cultural life of Sofia as a journalist.
Yana is interested in the creative industries and their power to boost the economy, increase citizen engagement and transform our urban space. You can get in touch with her on firstname.lastname@example.org.