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Role of cities and regions

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 ‘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 motivated by strong leadership and mobilises all local actors. 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.

European Commission actions

  • The action, ‘Transforming regions and cities into launch-pads of digital transformation and industrial modernisation’ will start in April 2017. It will help build up regional and local capacity in digital transformation, in line with smart specialisation strategies. It will support networking, and interregional collaboration and investment. 
  • 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.
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