Smart applications for residents, businesses and visitors in Greece and Cyprus

Implemented in Paphos in Cyprus, Chania on the Greek island of Crete and Lesvos in Greece’s North Aegean region, the Smart Cities project has developed IT applications to help citizens, businesses and visitors interact with local authorities. The applications cover such areas as e-governance and citizen participation in public actions; collection and digitisation of material of natural, cultural and touristic interest; and promotion of tourism and the specific characteristics of each city. They also foster cooperation between the participating municipalities in these fields.

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In Chania, e-government applications can be accessed through touchscreens. ©Municipality of Chania (2019) In Chania, e-government applications can be accessed through touchscreens. ©Municipality of Chania (2019)

" For citizens, the project improves quality of life; and for both citizens and enterprises, it facilitates participation in local policymaking processes via e-governance and ensures easy access to, and interaction with, local authorities through ICT. For visitors, it provides easy access to information about the cultural and natural assets of the city, about local businesses, and lets them submit their own opinions and impressions. "

Sevasti Polychronaki, Director, Programming, Planning and Technology Department, Municipality of Chania

Smart Cities outputs include a common digital tourism, culture and entrepreneurship platform that provides online services, newsletters and surveys; and digital e-democracy and citizen participation applications with e-signature, e-polling and e-community platforms for Paphos and Lesvos.

In Chania, e-government applications can be accessed through touchscreens set up to enable groups such as the elderly, the disabled and people lacking IT skills make complaints to the municipality. Lesvos also now has a web-based public complaints system.

Complaints and digital tours

Chania’s complaints system allows elderly people with no experience of or access to computers or smartphones to log in using a card with their details on it, choose the subject that concerns them, pinpoint their location on a map and send this information to the relevant municipal service. The system has been deployed in care homes and reduces the need for elderly residents to visit the city hall to deal.

Digitisation of cultural and tourist material has led to the creation of a virtual tour of Chania. The ‘Explore Pafos’ augmented reality platform and digital application provides multimedia information on the main points of interest in and around Paphos.

It has an interactive map, an event calendar and content in Greek, English, Russian, Hebrew and German, and can be accessed online – including at four Wi-Fi hotspots set up under the project – or through touchscreens installed at points of interest in the city. The content of the platform is available through the ‘Explore Pafos’ application, available from Google Play and App Store.

More efficient public services

Development of smart systems for interaction between citizens, companies, visitors and local authorities, and enhanced ICT use in areas of common interest for different cities allow public services to be streamlined and procedures simplified. This saves time and money for service providers and users, increases transparency, and leads to faster and more efficient communication and cooperation between municipalities.

Further elements of Smart Cities aimed at supporting the application of such systems included the formulation by participating cities of business action plans and strategic marketing and branding plans. These were based on survey findings. These features tied in with another key aim of the project: that of creating an attractive environment for enterprises, visitors and organisations.

Events were held to familiarise municipal and company employees with the tools elaborated under the project and to support good practice exchange. Foremost among these were workshops on the role of local authorities in implementing smart city-related actions and information days publicised through the distribution of informative and promotional material.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Smart Cities” is EUR 643 000, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 546 550 through the “Interreg V-A - Greece-Cyprus” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Information and Communication Technologies”.

Draft date

17/06/2020