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Stakeholders gather in Brussels for Info day on Smart Cities and Communities call

Interested stakeholders gathered in Brussels earlier this month to learn more about the two open Smart Cities and Communities calls for proposals.

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What is a smart city? It’s a city that uses ICT for better resource use and less emissions, but it’s also a city which pioneers smart urban transport networks, upgraded water supply and waste disposal facilities, and efficient ways to light and heat buildings. A city that takes pride in its public spaces, a city that takes good care of its citizens.

Transforming our Europe’s hubs into smart cities and communities is a priority for the EU. That’s why the European Commission launched the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities in July 2012, bringing together European cities, industry leaders, and representatives of civil society to smarten up Europe's urban areas. And it’s also the reason that the European Commission has launched two 2015 Smart Cities and Communities calls for proposals under the Horizon 2020 programme. Earlier this month, interested stakeholders gathered in Brussels to learn more about this call and meet with potential project partners at a dedicated Info day and brokerage event.

Speaking at the event, Alexandros Kotronaros of DG Energy firstly noted that all of the information needed is contained in the ‘Smart Cities and Communities solutions integrating energy, transport, ICT sectors through lighthouse projects’ call (SCC-01-2015). He went on to underline the importance of three key concepts: integration of innovative technologies or innovative methods; replication – other cities should be able to take up the solutions; and balance – it is important to maintain a balance between the size of the sector, the size of cities, the size of transport, etc.

Mr Kotronaros drew attention to three critical aspects: nearly zero or low energy district (which should go beyond the national requirements), sustainable urban mobility; and integrated infrastructures (such as lighting, industrial sites etc.) – all three of which should be connected by ICT in each city. ICT is the bonding element and, Mr Kotronaros noted, it would be expected for ICT platforms to be open.

The consortia for lighthouse projects under this call comprise industry, city planning authorities, the research community and SMEs, and they should have the support of the cities.

Submitted proposals are evaluated by a team of external experts who score and comment independently and then gather together to discuss in the presence of colleagues from three sections of the European Commission. Last year 19 projects were submitted and three were supported. GROWSMARTER, TRIANGULUM and REMOURBAN are now in the kick-off phase. The deadline for submission for SCC-01-2015 and the other smart cities call ‘Development of system standards for smart cities and communities solutions’ (SCC-03-2015) is 5 May 2015.

- Horizon 2020 projects light the way for smart cities across Europe

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