During the European Week of Regions and Cities, the first three Smart Cities and Communities projects GrowSmarter, Remourban and Triangulum, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, hosted the session “From dream to reality: sharing experiences from leading European Smart Cities” at which more than 150 participants took part.
The goal of this joint session was to present major outcomes and to share lessons learnt from five years of smart city projects in different European regions, focusing on technical as well as political aspects of creating smart cities.
“The European smart cities have come a long way since our projects started five years ago and we have gained a lot of experience. Remourban, Triangulum and GrowSmarter have worked through many of the ‘do’s and don'ts’ of smart cities and gained an understanding of how policies can be changed to support the development of smart and sustainable cities and help meet local and European climate goals,” says Gustaf Landahl, Project Coordinator of GrowSmarter.
High level politicians from five of the Lighthouse Cities discussed what is needed on an EU level to facilitate successful replication in the future. The overall consensus of this panel was that European support is needed to help get local initiatives off the ground.
The project coordinators of all three projects demonstrated their main achievements in the areas of energy, mobility and ICT. Lisa Enarsson from the City of Stockholm (GrowSmarter), for example, exemplified that it is indeed possible to reduce energy consumption of a residential building from the 1960s by 80 % by providing new insulation, four-glass windows as well as smart ventilation and waste water systems. Miguel Ángel García Fuentes, Coordinator for Remourban, spoke on mobility and the work done by the City of Nottingham to implement the largest fleet of electric busses in Europe.
Detailed insights on the daily work within the cities have been provided by overall six site managers from the various Lighthouse Cities of the three projects. They presented the biggest successes as well as the hardest failures from their individual demonstration sites. Amongst other achievements, Gerd Seehuus from the City of Stavanger (Triangulum) demonstrated the tremendous energy savings having been achieved through the development of a central energy plant based on 100 % renewable energy that now heats (and cools!) three administrative buildings as well as the city’s public swimming pool and could thus already save over 1000 tons of CO2 since its implementation in 2017.
As a major outcome of this joint session by GrowSmarter, Remourban and Triangulum, the three projects collectively produced a policy paper to summarize the experiences and the knowledge gained within these five years of smart city implementations. The set of policy recommendations builds upon combined lessons learned to support other EU cities in their transition towards smart and sustainable cities and communities.