Europe Seeks to Make Cities Smarter

Written by | Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

The European Union is seeking to make cities, which are the major source of European economic activity and innovation, smarter through the adoption of an Action Plan agreed upon by European companies and regional leaders.
The plan, dubbed “the Smart Cities Partnership Strategic Implementation Plan” sets out a broad range of new actions and approaches to encourage cities to rise to the new challenges of a changing global economy, to develop, improve and become cleaner and healthier. To this end, the plan sets out moves to lower energy use and reduce greenhouse gases and local pollution. It focuses on means of improving buildings, city planning, and the use of modern technology services and infrastructure, and of modernizing ways of working and living both for individuals and businesses.
The plan thus suggests improvements as to the way cities are run setting 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 standardized approach to data collection and use to enable better comparisons between approaches and between cities. This approach includes 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.
According to an EC release, the plan will serve as the basis for speeding up the deployment of Smart City solutions in Europe and as a facilitator for any city becoming smart and developing innovative services in the sense that such cities can rely on fast, reliable and secure networks ensuring high quality connectivity.
The Plan was drafted after thorough consultation of a great variety of actors from industry, cities, civil society and research. It focuses on three specific areas: sustainable districts, sustainable urban mobility, and integrated infrastructures across energy, ICT and transport.
The European Commission is expected to invest around €200m to create Smart Cities in the next two years. More details about the next steps and about European Commission funding and Business Commitments will be announced at the official launch of the plan on November 26.

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