Innovating Cities

Making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable through innovative, coordinated and systemic solutions for the urban environment

Innovating Cities

We will support science, research, and innovation, including a focus on social, technological, digital and nature-based innovation, robust science-policy interfaces in urban and territorial planning and policy formulation, as well as institutionalized mechanisms for sharing and exchanging information, knowledge and expertise, including the collection, analysis, standardization and dissemination of geographically-based, community-collected, high-quality, timely and reliable data, disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability, geographic location, and other characteristics relevant in national, sub-national, and local contexts.”
Quito Declaration on sustainable cities and human settlements for all, Habitat III New Urban Agenda - United Nations, October 2016

The EC presents 'Innovating Cities'

Urbanisation and industrialisation over the past 150 years have affected and will continue to affect our planet. Many of the economic, social and environmental challenges that Europe faces have a strong urban dimension. Rapid growth and the changing demography and related constraints (shrinking and growing cities, aging population, immigration, social exclusion) will further stress the urban environment. Making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable is a global objective that will require innovative, coordinated and systemic solutions for the urban environment.

Over the past two decades, EU research on urban development has financed hundreds of projects, and led to a critical mass of new inspiring knowledge and ideas. In addition, joint programming and partnering initiatives, such as the JPI Urban Europe, the Energy efficient Building Public-Private Partnership, the European Green Vehicles Initiative and the European Construction Technology Platform, have been formed to support research and innovation towards transition to a more sustainable urbanisation. Furthermore EU Research and Innovation on sustainable urban development is also a strong component of Horizon 2020, the EU's current funding Programme for Research and Innovation, with emphasis on social innovation and fostering citizen engagement for sustainable cities.

The 'Renewed Research and Innovation Framework for 'Cities of the Future', in line with the Horizon 2020 objectives, contributes to shaping and implementing an Agenda for the 'Cities of the Future', the 'Urban Intelligence' component of the EU Urban Agenda under way. Through dedicated demonstration projects or 'urban living labs' as well as innovative knowledge and exchange platforms and partnerships, innovative public procurement and prizes, it will mobilise and help cities address complex and cross-cutting challenges and develop integrated innovative frameworks for implementing solutions within a concept of 'city ecosystem'. It will bring together science, planners, businesses and citizens to find common solutions to urban life challenges.

This, 'Renewed Research and Innovation Framework for 'Cities of the Future' aims to:

  • Better co-ordinate, streamline and focus existing and future research and innovation activities and initiatives across Horizon 2020
  • Enable a sustainable and systemic approach to open innovation, by fostering co-creation, co-design and co-implementation with different actors and citizens in cities across the Union
  • Develop new business and governance models, mobilise new partnerships and investments, and facilitate market uptake of the solutions and approaches needed to ensure innovative and resilient 'Cities of the Future'
  • Provide the knowledge and evidence needed for taking informed decisions on investments into key urban infrastructure as well as for policy-making, planning and land use management affecting the urban environment

At the international level, the EU R&I Framework for 'Cities of the Future' will be open to the world, and a vehicle to promote the new EU Urban Agenda for the 'Cities of the Future' in the context of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Habitat III conference in 2016, and the Belmont Forum.