Role of cities and regions

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Role of cities and regions

Our cities and regions have an important role to play as leaders in the digital transformation process. They can create the right environment to accelerate the digital transformation of businesses, organisations and public administrations, and improve the life of their citizens. European Commission initiatives support local policy makers to understand the application of advanced technologies and the opportunities they provide, so that they can design flexible, future-proof policies. 

The Digital Cities Challenge

The Commission's 'Digital Cities Challenge' initiative invites city leaders and key stakeholders to make their cities more productive, innovative, better places to live, by putting advanced technologies at the service of their citizens.The Challenge will select 15 cities to receive free high quality policy advice and coaching from high-level experts with local and international experience. This tailored support will help them to develop and implement strategic plans addressing economic growth and social welfare.

The first group of 8 cities have already been selected to take part in this new initiative and a second group of 7 more cities will soon be chosen to join them. More 'fellow cities' will be given the opportunity to benefit from the challenge using their own resources.

The Digital Cities Challenge

The Blueprint for cities and regions as launch-pads for digital transformation

The Blueprint for cities and regions as launch-pads for digital transformation by the Strategic Policy Forum on Digital Entrepreneurship illustrates the strategic role of urban and regional ecosystems in leading a modern, smart transformation of their territories. It also underlines the importance of a holistic approach that is built on visionary political leadership and strong partnership with all local actors and citizens. An online tool for the blueprint defines the specific recommendations for local stakeholders on how to support digital transformation and presents the 13 case-studies in detail.

Yet, the key to digital transformation remains leadership. Digital transformation has to be led from the top, with active involvement from policy makers and higher management in both the public and private sectors. To enable them to better appreciate the functioning of advanced technologies, as well as their social, economic and regulatory implications, the report, ‘Digital compass for policy makers: technologies, impact and recommendations’ by the Strategic Policy Forum highlights the possibilities, opportunities and effects of advanced digital technologies and sets out a 3-stage approach to deliver effective, successful digital experiences.

Other Commission actions

  • The European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities brings together European cities, industry leaders and citizens to improve urban life through sustainable and innovative smart solutions.
  • Many smart cities projects promote the development of cities with better public services, better use of resources and less impact on the environment, thanks to advanced technologies.
  • The Commission has set-up the Smart Specialisation Platform for Industrial Modernisation to offer hands-on support for the creation of investment pipelines for cross-regional projects across the EU. The platform strengthens cooperation across and between European regions, clusters and value chains that are aligned with smart specialisation priorities.