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16 October 2015

Smart Cities Project Coordinators' Meeting held in Brussels

The first European Smart Cities Project Coordinators Meeting took place in Brussels on October 13. The goal of the meeting, which brought project leaders together with town planners and architects, was to gain feedback on ways to efficiently process information through the Smart Cities and Communities Information System (SCIS) platform and to ensure project replication across Europe.

Opening the meeting, EC Technical Officer Eric Lecomte said that the SCIS portal should offer solutions for those setting up Smart City initiatives, and not just illustrate the potential problems. ‘Challenges appear at every stage. The SCIS should represent a One-Stop-Shop for sharing information and experience’, he said.

Organised by the Smart Cities Information System (SCIS) within the context of the Open Days: 13th European Week of Regions and Cities, the first Coordinators Meeting was aimed at coordinators of smart cities and energy efficient buildings projects funded under FP7 and H2020 programmes.

The meeting consisted of two discussion sessions. In the morning the focus was on monitoring the technical, social and economic performance of demonstration projects and the SCIS database. The afternoon session dealt with the dissemination potential of the projects and how information can be relayed by the SCIS. Established Cities and Projects profiled their accomplishments during the sessions, in an effort to encourage knowledge sharing.

At the meeting, architects and town planners stressed that the SCIS database needed to assist in the goal of making projects financially viable in the long term through ongoing collaboration with national, regional and local authorities. ‘Energy efficiency needs to be considered in the design stage not just as an add-on at the end of the project’, said one architect. ‘Yet currently it carries too much financial risk.’ As well as developing a project database from which KPI’s can be calculated based on data from Smart Cities initiatives, the SCIS team will produce analysis and recommendations that will contribute to policy development in the sector.

SCIS is a continuation of the Concerto series of initiatives, which began in 2005. Several of the Concerto funded projects were showcased (including CELSIUS, DIRECTION and PIME). Those present stressed the need for reliable data, and noted the challenges created by public authorities and local regulations whilst highlighting the many cultural, climatic and socio-economic differences in projects. All the meeting participants agreed that Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) should take into account not only the synergies of projects, but also their individual features.

Further Smart Cities Project Coordinators Meetings will take place annually.