A smart city is a place where the traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital and telecommunication technologies, for the benefit of its inhabitants and businesses. With this vision in mind, the European Union is investing in ICT research and innovation and developing policies to improve the quality of life of citizens and make cities more sustainable in view of Europe's 20-20-20 targets.
The smart city concept goes beyond the use of ICT for better resource use and less emissions. It means smarter urban transport networks, upgraded water supply and waste disposal facilities, and more efficient ways to light and heat buildings. And it also encompasses a more interactive and responsive city administration, safer public spaces and meeting the needs of an ageing population.
To speed up the deployment of these solutions, the European Commission has initiated the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities that will bring together European cities, industry leaders, and representatives of civil society to smarten up Europe's urban areas, in July 2012.
So far, the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Smart Cities and Communities has received some 370 commitments to fund and develop smart solutions in the areas of energy, ICT and transport. These commitments involve more than 3,000 partners from across Europe and create a huge potential for making our cities more attractive, and create business opportunities.