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Smart Cities Marketplace
09 April 2024

The Smart Cities Marketplace at ChangeNOW 2024

People in front of a window with the Eiffel Tower in the background

Amidst the grandeur of the Grand Palais Éphémère in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower, ChangeNOW 2024 emerged as a key event in the pursuit of sustainability. From 25 to 27 March 2024, the conference served as a hub where 35,000 attendees, including 1,200 investors, gathered to explore, exchange, and champion solutions for sustainability. 

The conference attendance was vibrant and diverse, with 1,000 solutions showcased from over 130 countries. Among the attendees were 700 journalists keen on capturing the innovations, 500 speakers inspiring with their insights and 300 exhibitors showcasing cutting-edge technologies and initiatives. 

At the heart of this gathering was the Smart Cities Marketplace (SCM), as an EC-funded initiative driving discussions on sustainable urban development. Represented by a delegation of 21 cities, the SCM's was present throughout ChangeNow. Noteworthy additions to the Sustainable Cities Program included Treviso, Lappeenranta, Bodrum, Mollet del Vallès, and Valencia, signifying a growing commitment to transformative urban strategies. 

On 27 March, the Sustainable Cities Program took centre stage. The theme of the day was: ‘Solutions for the planet are emerging – the mission is to find and accelerate them.’ The agenda offered city representatives a platform to delve into the intricacies of urban sustainability. After a presentation of its Matchmaking services, thematic workshops, expertly facilitated by SCM representatives, delved into critical topics such as mobility solutions, circular economy and energy transition. These sessions provided the ground for dialogue, collaboration, and the exchange of innovative ideas. 

A highlight of the programme for cities was the keynote of Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen. Her engaging speech underscored that cities are at the heart of change when it comes to aligning with the ambitious goals of the EU Green Deal. 

During the morning and afternoon of the Sustainable Cities Program, European city leaders from the following cities discussed insights and strategies for combatting the climate emergency: Copenhagen (DK), Brussels-Capital Region (BE), Essen (DE), Mannheim (DE), Vantaa (FI), Reykjavik (IS), Vinnytsia (UA), Trondheim (NO), Wroclaw (PL), Trevise (IT), Lappeenranta (FI), Bodrum (TR), Turku (FI), Mollet del Vallès (ES), and French cities Lyon, Annecy, Mulhouse, Biarritz, Fontainebleau, Paris, Anchamps. 

ChangeNOW 2024 embodied the collective determination to forge a sustainable future. As cities worldwide embark on this transformative journey, the summit catalysed innovation, collaboration and action.