As the Future of Cities report (2019) recognises that ‘cities will increasingly apply new technologies and innovation across a wide range of sectors, from transport and mobility to citizen engagement’, the first webinar of COP-CITIES in 2020 will focus on the digital transformation of cities and in particular on how to scale up digital solutions in smart cities and communities.

Smart cities have been using data and digital technologies to create resource efficiencies and improve the quality of life for their citizens. The current pandemic has demonstrated that public administrations need to speed up their digital transformation. It is however, important that European cities and communities follow a path towards digital transformation that is smart, sustainable and helps cities become resilient. As highlighted by the (Join, Boost, Sustain) Declaration, cities and communities are encouraged to follow the ‘European Way’ in their digital transformation, which entails independence in deploying innovative digital solutions, while respecting European values, diversity and citizens’ digital rights. Encouraging the use of commonly agreed digital solutions among regions, cities and communities will help close the digital divide and reduce inequalities for a stronger territorial cohesion. While many good smart cities solutions exist already, scaling them up remains difficult and thus their impact on society as a whole remains limited and unevenly distributed across the EU. Scaling, increasing the number of participants, resource allocation, geographic footprint or offering services more widely are high on the current EU smart cities agenda. A recent survey indicates that building trust, ensuring a multi-helix ecosystem collaboration as well as open data standards and protocols are some of the most important elements for scaling up, while contractual issues and legislation seem to be the biggest barriers.

In this context, the 100 Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) helps EU cities leverage cutting edge technologies to foster their local ecosystems and reconstruct their economies, post-pandemic, while steering them in the direction on green, smart, climate-neutral growth. This will help cities to improve the quality of life, create and maintain quality jobs and build a resilient, stronger, fairer local economy.

The COP-CITIES webinar on 26/05/2020 focused on scaling up digital solutions in smart cities and communities and is organised jointly by the JRC, DG CONNECT and DG GROW.
The objective of the event was to discuss (i) the challenges of smaller (non-capital, remote, less connected) cities when it comes to scaling up urban digital solutions and (ii) present scaling up methodologies.

It is considered that cities’ organisations, as well as Innovation Hubs, Digital Innovation Hubs, City Labs, Fab labs, Living Labs, Industrial Clusters, the Enterprise Europe Network or other, locally / regionally embedded innovation organisations can be an effective means to accelerate and expand the implementation and scaling-up efforts. The workshop therefore brought together cities, national associations of municipalities, communities and municipalities representation associations, policy makers, innovation hubs, city labs, Digital Innovation Hubs, living labs, and policy labs, etc. to discuss:

  1. What are the main challenges of smaller cities and communities in implementing smart city solutions and be involved in scaling up programme?
  2. What are some of the initiatives and measures that could help municipalities implement smart city solutions and be involved in scale up?

26/05/2020, 10:00-12:00 CET, webinar on WebEx


Welcome & Setting the scene - Charlina Vitcheva, JRC Deputy Director General



Part I:
Challenges and opportunities in smaller communities in implementing and scaling up smart city solutions



Part II: Scaling up initiatives and support mechanisms 

Q&A / 

Conclusions & Next steps