European Commission will invest some £170m over the next two years as a part of an action plan to make European cities smarter.
Leaders of European cities have met today in Brussels with industry and research community representatives to discuss the next steps in the framework of the Smart Cities and Communities Partnership.
The Smart Cities Partnership Strategic Implementation Plan sets out a broad range of new actions and approaches to encourage cities to become smarter, focusing on building improvements, and the integration of information technologies into the transport and energy infrastructure, while relying on fast and secure networks that ensure high-quality connectivity.
Funded mostly through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research funds, the scheme will support development of innovation zones and establishing of new business models to drive data collection and data sharing between individual cities.
The plan expects all data to be "open by default", meaning that it can be re-used by others to create additional benefits for citizens, businesses and governments.
The plan also suggests improvements to the way cities are run, increasing citizens’ involvement and collaborative decision making.
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 the citizens, more competitive industry and SMEs, and more sustainable energy, transport and ICT systems and infrastructures.
Smart Cities use modern technology services and infrastructure, and modern ways of working and raising finance to make real improvements in the everyday lives of its inhabitants. According to EC, they represent an important contribution to building a digital single market.