GrowSmarter Story

Smart Cities prove growth does not have to come at the expense of CO2 reductions

After five years of implementing sustainable smart city solutions through the GrowSmarter project, Barcelona, Cologne and Stockholm and their partners in the project, came together on 3 December to share key insights and results, proving that growth does not have to come at the expense of CO2 emissions reductions.

GrowSmarter, co-funded by the European Commission, has, since its kick-off in 2015, sought to demonstrate 12 smart city solutions spanning: low energy districts, integrated infrastructure, and sustainable urban mobility. Barcelona, Stockholm and Cologne acted as ‘Lighthouse Cities’, providing counterparts across Europe with valuable insights into how these solutions work in practice, as well as opportunities for replication.

Results achieved through the project include: the refurbishment of more than 130,000 m2 of building stock through the use of energy efficient and smart technologies; the deployment of a wide range of sustainable mobility solutions; and the connection of city infrastructure to solutions through the exploitation of an 'Internet of Things'.

In addition, the Cities have achieved marked CO2 reductions of 30-70 percent in fully refurbished buildings, energy savings of more than 8GWh, and the deployment of urban data and smart management platforms to manage local energy systems.

“It is about cities growing in sustainable ways, but it is also about putting the citizen in focus. The citizen first. Our job as politicians is to do this and to create the conditions for co-creation together with organisations in society, and to do almost impossible things together,” said Mayor of Stockholm, Anna König Jerlmyr, about the project when opening the conference.

“GrowSmarter has the solutions, because it has shown we are able to overcome the environmental challenges with economic sustainable solutions, while also being socially responsible. That is what both GrowSmarter and the 2030 Agenda are about,” added, Miquel Rodriguez Planas, Barcelona’s Commissioner for UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Speaking about the results achieved through the project, Mayor of the City of Cologne, Dr Ralf Heinen, said: “The best result of all is knowing that changing to climate friendly districts is possible. We will therefore continue this process on our way to becoming a smart city and use the GrowSmarter project as a blueprint and guideline for sustainable city planning.”

The European Commission was represented by Mr. Svetoslav Mihaylov, Policy Officer, Smart Mobility and Living at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Communications Networks. On behalf of the Commission he congratulated GrowSmarter with the successful project and pointed out the important work the project has done to help pave the way for cities becoming better connected through ICT. He also emphasized the importance of building strong communities.

The solutions developed by Barcelona, Cologne, and Stockholm together with the industry partners of the project, have already been shared with the GrowSmarter Follower Cities of Suceava, Graz, Porto, Valletta, and Cork, who are working to replicate these in their local contexts.

The experiences and lessons learned through GrowSmarter will be further shared with other European Cities through ICLEI, a leading global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development, and the European Smart Cities and Communities, an initiative supported by the European Commission.

For more information about the GrowSmarter project, to learn more about the solutions implemented, and results achieved, click here.

To open all the presentations from the final conference as one pdf, click here.