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What's behind EUREKA's Smart City initiative? (part 1)

EUREKA publishes a series of short articles to explain the concept behind Smart City, an initiative of the EUREKA Inter-Cluster committee aiming to support investments in this technological field (read here part 2 and part 3).

Innovators hold the key to ensure growing cities are great places to live. New business models, regulations and investments are needed to follow a change happening at a global scale. Thirty years ago, the then Lord Provost of Glasgow Michael Kelly worked with businesses to boost the image of Glasgow. It was a rebranding exercise that created an actual clean-up as investment flowed into the Scottish city in the north of the UK. The Glasgow’s Miles Better advertising campaign used Mr Happy from the children’s books by Roger Hargreaves for its cheerful slogan that suggested Glasgow - once thought of as a grim, dirty, dangerous place - was improved, better than others and ‘smiles’.

'By 2025, 60 percent of the world’s population will be living in urban centres.'

The idea of collectively improving cities remains more relevant than ever as more of the world’s population moves to the metropolis. Fast-growing China, for instance, has about 650 cities, 10 of which have more than 4 million people and another 20 of which have between 2 and 4 million. By 2025, 60 percent of the world’s population will be living in urban centres compared to 50 percent today and city planners and managers are turning to innovative businesses to tackle the challenges of so many of us living together - like pollution, overcrowding, and providing us with services like water, energy and internet.

“Thirty years ago, we didn’t have the technologies we have now like smart phones and we need to use them to optimise our experience of living in a city,” says Guus Derks, who works for the Netherlands’ enterprise agency. Part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, his agency has spent the last two years pioneering “smart city” projects that have attracted the attention of cities world-wide. While there is as yet no accepted definition globally of what a “smart city” is, consultancy Frost&Sullivan suggests a metropolitan area that uses technology to develop at least five out of eight areas: smart governance, technology, citizens, energy, mobility, healthcare, buildings and infrastructure. (read here part 2 and part 3).

For more information about the EUREKA Smart City initiative go to www.eureka-smart-cities.org/

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.