From 7-9 March, Smarter Together gathered for its second General Assembly, an annual meeting with all cities and partners involved in the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme-funded smart cities project.
The City of Vienna hosted this year’s meeting where all municipal, industrial and scientific partners of Smarter Together came together to discuss project progress, milestones, and the future of smart city innovation in the Lighthouse and Follower cities in 2018 and beyond.
After the initial core group and steering committee meetings, Vienna’s Smarter Together coordinator Julia Girard-Hoog and project coordinator Maxime Valentin from Lyon welcomed the group of over 100 participants and provided an introduction to the second General Assembly – and the progress that has been made since the beginning of the project. A message from Barbara Novak, Municipal Councilor and Deputy Chair of the Municipal Housing Committee followed, welcoming project partners and applauding the results reached within Smarter Together to date and the consequent opportunity to “demonstrate internationally the advantages of a socially oriented smart city."
From the morning of 8 March, project partners reconvened to focus on the progress and status of demonstration activities within the Lighthouse cities. Follower cities Venice, Santiago de Compostela, and Sofia joined in on the conversation, sharing their reflections and the replication processes beginning within their respective demonstration areas.
These talks provided an opportunity for political representatives from all 6 Lighthouse and Follower cities to converge and discuss smart city development within the framework of Smarter Together at a policy level. Joining Ms. Novak were from Lyon Métropole Marie-Anne Gobert, Smart & Sustainable City Advisor at the Private Office of the President David Kimelfeld and Benoît Bardet, Deputy Director of SPL Confluence, as well as Mr. Johann Sauerer, member of the city council in Munich and representative of the district committee in the project area district (Aubing-Lauchhausen-Langwied). From the Follower cities, participating in the panel discussions were city councilors from Santiago de Compostela Jorge Duarte Vazquez and Fernando Martinez Gomez, from Sofia city councilor Prochko Prochkov, and from Venice Luca Battistella (with translation by Paola Ravenna).
The afternoon presented an opportunity to further discuss the learning points introduced within the context of 3 main themes: Low Energy Districts, Mobility, and Integrated Infrastructure. Additionally, round table discussions expanded the conversation into 8 different topics ranging from Monitoring and Investment and Funding, to Mobility Stations and Citizen Engagement, with special attention paid to lessons learned and how to translate those into steps forward during the next phases of the project.
The opportunity to explore these topics discussed first-hand came on 9 March during the excursion to Simmering, the demonstration area of the Smarter Together in Vienna. Participants were split into two groups based on varying thematic areas: mobility and buildings and energy, thus bringing to life the major innovations that are already affecting thousands of residents in Simmering, ranging from school children all the way to elderly citizens and with projects varying from solar charging benches to shared e-car mobility.
After 2 years of implementation, the Smarter Together General Assembly presented the opportunity to share learnings, successes and room for further growth, not just for the continuation of the project, but also in order to establish channels of knowledge sharing, replication, and development of sustainable business models even beyond the horizons of the Smarter Together project.
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 646511