26 November 2013

At a conference today hosted by the European Commission, city leaders, CEOs and civil society leaders discussed the actions outlined in the “Smart Cities Strategic Implementation Plan” and how to put them into practice. The Commission announced that it will launch an ‘Invitation for Smart City and Community Commitments’ in spring 2014 to mobilise work on the action plan’s priorities. The plan is part of Europe’s fifth “Innovation Partnership”.

Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, in charge of transport, said: “I am very pleased to see transport operators, telecoms companies, vehicle manufacturers, city planners, energy companies and researchers all gathered in one room to discuss the future of our cities. The Smart Cities initiative is a great opportunity to make changes happen for less congestion and better business opportunities in our cities. We need to keep up the momentum and move from plan to action now.”

Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes, responsible for the Digital Agenda, said: “The future of infrastructure and city planning will be based on integrating ICT systems and using big data to make our cities better places to live and work. We need to base those new systems on open standards for hardware, software, data and services which this European Innovation Partnership will develop.”

Günther H. Oettinger, EU Commissioner for energy, said: “The European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities is about making investments in sustainable development in as many cities as possible. Creating equal partnerships between cities and companies based on synergies between ICT, energy and mobility will lead to projects that make a real difference in our everyday lives.”

The Commission intends to make available approximately EUR 200 million for Smart Cities and communities in the 2014-2015 budgets of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, to accelerate progress and enlarge the scale of roll-out of smart cities solutions. There will also be possibilities to access the European Structural and Investment Funds.

The European Innovation Partnership (EIP) in Smart cities and communities focuses on those areas where ICT, energy and mobility overlap, and identifies the most effective, common approaches and solutions. European cities and regions are different from each other, but they also have many similar needs that can be tackled best through a common approach. This is where the Partnership can provide its added value.

The Partnership brings together city leaders, businesses and community representatives and it provides these actors with a forum in which they can identify, develop and deploy innovative solutions and make them a reality. The EIP on Smart cities and communities will focus on Sustainable Urban Mobility, Sustainable Districts and Built Environment and Integrated Infrastructures and processes across Energy, ICT and Transport. The Partnership has also identified work to be done related to citizen focus and citizen insight, as well as the development of new business and funding models that will help to deliver the rapid roll out of Smart City solutions on a large scale.

The “invitation for commitments” which the Commission announced today will give added value to the committing parties by increased European visibility, a great opportunity to work with others on similar topics and to create large scale investment programmes that will push scale and speed in innovation in cities.

Any city, company, association, government or research body is invited to follow the recommendations in the Strategic Implementation Plan by developing own initiatives and taking on commitments on smart cities by investments, new forms of cooperation and sharing resources.

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