How do we achieve a smart and sustainable city?

How do we achieve a smart and sustainable city?

For some years, we have been listening to talking about smart cities, more sustainable environments… but, in some cases we do not know what kind of strategies could do our city to turn into one of them.

When we refer to Smart City, we talk about cities concerned with reducing energy consumption and emissions, cities that bring advances in information and communication technologies to their inhabitants and, ultimately, cities that seek improve the quality of life of its citizens taking advantage of many technological and non-technological solutions that are currently available in the market.

Although these solutions are available in the market, we have to wonder why these solutions are often not being applied. Sometimes, this is because of lack of funding; the least, of technical ignorance. But there is something in common when implementing this type of project; the difficulty of agreeing on all the agents involved in its execution. Citizens and experts, municipal agents and private companies, neighbourhood associations and users… all have to row in the same direction and work on the development of integral projects, instead of isolated solutions, in order to ensure cities of the future.

In CARTIF, we work to support European cities in this transition towards more intelligent and sustainable environments. Proof of this are the numerous projects that we are carrying out with this objective.

How can a city detect and analyse its needs and priorities? What technological solutions can be implemented to meet those needs? How a comprehensive project can be managed for the city? What business models or financial schemes can be applied? These are some of the issues which we address in this type of projects, and to answer them we work on methodologies that guide cities on the road towards their transformation into an Intelligent City.

One of the last lighthouse project in which CARTIF is working on is MAtchUP project (Maximizing the Upscaling and replication potential of high level urban transformation strategies), which has replicability as one of its main axes. When we look for solutions to satisfy the needs of our cities and their objectives, it is very important to have the experience of other European cities, where these solutions have already carried out. Knowing what has been the key to their success or how they have overcome certain barriers, is very useful information to achieve the replication of these solutions in other cities.

In MAtchUP, we not only work to ensure the success of the actions that are being carried out in its three demonstration cities: Valencia (Spain), Dresden (Germany) and Antalya (Turkey), but we work to ensure its future implementation in new scenarios: both within the same cities through the scaling of solutions in other areas of the city, and outside of them working on their replicability.

The actions can be framed in three fundamental pillars for urban regeneration: energy, mobility and information and communication technologies. These actions involve different agents, but above all, and fundamentally, involve citizens. They are the key factor of the new city model that promotes an integrating vision of all its agents. They create the city, live in it and enjoy it. And they are a primordial force that pushes the defined actions within the framework of the project.

MAtchUP continues the trajectory of demonstration projects at a city scale with which we have been working for years in CARTIF. But, unlike the previous ones, MAtchUP is not just a project for its lighthouse cities, but it delves much more into the work related to its follower cities; Herzliya (Israel), Ostend (Belgium), Skopje (Macedonia) and Kerava (Finland). In this way, the impact of the project will be much greater when working actively with seven cities, which will expand the useful and replicable results for all those cities that want to go further in their urban planning and in their transformation towards a more sustainable environment.

So, if we want to improve our cities, the best way is to take advantage of other experiences and replicating the successful solutions that have been carried out in other parts of the world. In CARTIF we want to collaborate with this dissemination of information and for this we have organized a conference in which smart cities will be the protagonists. BY & FOR CITIZENS will take place in Valladolid on September 20 and 21.

In this event, we will try to spread the experiences of a large panel of experts covering all aspects related to smart cities. We wait for you in Valladolid.