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Exploring the Northern Lights – Remourban goes to Denmark for SmartEnCity conference week

You probably don’t know where Sonderborg is exactly, although by the look of the name you would situate it somewhere in Scandinavia. Remourban project coordinator Miguel García knows exactly where this Light house town lies as he took part in the SmartEnCity conference week held there in early October.

Located near the Baltic Sea in the south of Denmark, Sonderborg played host to a series of talks and meeting organised by Lighthouse project Smartencity. It was timed to coincide with a two-yearly conference called 100% Climate Neutrality which gathers speakers from the C40 networks of cities, COP21, mayors and EU representatives. Hot on the tracks of this initial conference, was a workshop for SCC follower cities and then a SCC1 clustering meeting. The follower city workshop focused on ways to fast-track replication despite some technology bottlenecks, legal barriers and economic issues. It was designed to flesh out the challenges and solutions for follower cities in their transition process towards becoming smart cities. Attending the workshop were other Lighthouse projects including Remourban, and Miguel presented the project’s outcomes from the analysis of non-technical barriers so that follower cities from the other projects could learn from what had already been done. All the discussions will now feed into a « supply-side workshop » due to be held in Brussels early next year. Delegates were then able to feast their eyes on what Sonderborg’s doing to transition towards energy efficiency in all its forms. The demo tour looked at how the town has been integrating e-mobility, biking and biogas buses, using these to transport delegates. Also on the visit were green district heating and building retrofit with citizen participation. The conference week concluded with a SCC1 clustering meeting which builds on a similar meeting organised by Remourban in Nottingham (UK). The meeting served to establish further milestones for joint activities including preparation from the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona in November. Along with projects TRIANGULUM and GrowSmarter, Miguel explained some of the lessons learnt so far from this “first generation” of Lighthouse projects. Leaving the conference, Miguel has this to say about his experience up north, “this event enables us as a project to better understand how cities are tackling replication elsewhere and how we are all up against the same sort of barrier. It was interesting to learn how each project is overcoming these challenges and how we may be able to capitalise on their experience while sharing our own perspective.”