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European Commission


Brussels, 14 October 2013

European companies and regional leaders agree on Action Plan to make Europe's cities smarter

Commission expected to invest around €200m to create Smart Cities in the next two years.

For more than 75% of EU citizens their city is their home – it is where they mostly live, work, and play. Cities are the major source of European economic activity and of innovation. But the global economy is developing and changing fast and European cities need to rise to new challenges and develop and improve. Our cities are also a major source of greenhouse gases and local pollution and we need concerted action to put this right. We can and we should make cities better places to live and to work in. Our cities can become cleaner and healthier and use less energy. They can be Smart Cities.

Smart Cities are cities which best use modern technology services and infrastructure, and modern ways of working and raising finance to make real improvements in the everyday lives of the people that live in them and the businesses that generate wealth and employment, and it represents another important contribution to building a digital single market, one of the key issues led by European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes to be discussed at the European Council on 24th October.

The Smart Cities and Communities Partnership, who are meeting today in Brussels, brings together city leaders, industry and the research community working to identify and then to deliver, new ways of improving European cities in a more joined up way. The Smart Cities Partnership Strategic Implementation Plan sets out a broad range of new actions and approaches to encourage our cities to become smarter. The plan concentrates on how to drive forward improvement in buildings and planning, new Information Technologies, transport and energy, and new ways of integrating these areas. These approaches include 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.

The plan also suggests improvements to the way that cities are run with 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 standardised approach to data collection and use to enable better comparisons between approaches and between cities.

This is just the beginning of a large scale programme of work by all the partners and many others. An important part of that work will be the "Lighthouse Projects" - cities which will demonstrate and deliver Smart City solutions on a large scale. These Projects will be partly financed by the European Commission's Horizon 2002 Research Funds. Further business and public funding will help to spread these new solutions to other cities and economies of scale will help to make these "innovative" and "high tech" solutions the norm – available more easily to all cities and neighbourhoods.

More details about these next steps and about European Commission funding and Business Commitments will be announced at the official launch of the delivery plan on 26 November.





Annex: Outcomes of the 2nd High Level Group meeting, 14 October 2013, Brussels

The High Level Group of the European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities has today adopted the Partnership's 'Strategic Implementation Plan' (SIP). The plan will serve as the basis for speeding up the deployment of Smart City solutions in Europe. A facilitator for any city becoming smart and developing innovative services in this sense is if they can rely on fast, reliable and secure networks that ensure high quality connectivity.

The SIP is drafted by - and based on a 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. It proposes a variety of actions to drive forward improvements in these areas. These include a common set of Smart City standards, "open data by default", new ways of designing planning solutions, the creation of "innovation zones", new business models and improving collaborative governance mechanisms dedicated to integrated city planning and management.

Successful programmes require that the public and private sector work closely together, at local, national and EU level. The SIP is the first result of such cooperation, and now the challenge comes to developing real projects that deliver real improvements to our citizens.

Such projects require mutual commitments:

  • To kick-start projects, the Commission intends to support large, integrated, interdisciplinary and highly visible "Lighthouse Projects" through Horizon2020 funds, with the aim to develop common successful solutions that can be replicated in a large number of cities. In the mid-term, the roll out of successful solutions will be facilitated further across Europe also through regional funds. In addition, the Commission will invest (in cooperation with other organisations) in activities to promote the exchange of know-how and build capacities concerning Smart City activities. The Commission will also ensure that this is linked with on-going and future work to improve framework conditions, for example in regulation, in standardisation and in evaluation/ progress monitoring.

  • All members of the High Level Group commit to develop and use open standards and common data formats for technologies deployed in such Smart City solutions, and to ensure interoperability across systems. All members equally commit to making relevant data accessible also to third parties, whilst fully respecting consumer privacy and protecting their legitimate business interests, and to providing integrated policy approaches across the three sectors to their stakeholders.

Any city, company, association, government or research body is invited to join the commitments of the High Level Group. The European Innovation Partnership will launch an open call for "Smart City and Community Commitments" in early 2014, which should lead to the deployment of smart city solutions that achieve a triple bottom line gain for Europe: better quality of life for our citizens, more competitive industry and SMEs, and more sustainable energy, transport and ICT systems and infrastructures.

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