Smart Cities across Europe are facing up to the challenges of urbanization with pioneering solutions. Technology is helping to create more sustainable greener cities that offer residents a greater quality of life. From mobility to water management, intelligent systems are making a real impact on city life across the continent.
It’s a trend that’s set to increase as cities seek ways to solve the problems caused by an increasing population. Using Information and Communication Technologies, cities and urban areas can provide greener, cleaner, and more efficient places to live and work across Europe and the rest of the world.
Here are some of the European Smart Cities leading the way.
Barcelona, Spain—Smarter Urban Planning
Barcelona was recently named best foreign smart city by the World Smart City Expo Korea. The Catalan capital has long been considered one of the most pioneering smart cities globally, adopting new technologies to improve energy efficiency and sustainability.
One of Barcelona’s smart city projects is Sentilo, a network of sensors throughout the city that measures traffic and bicycle flow, noise pollution, temperature, and air quality in the different neighborhoods.
Another example is the recently implemented superblock system. This has created mini neighborhoods with reduced traffic and more leisure and green spaces for residents. Using innovative solutions to improve the quality of life in the city.
Barcelona will host the Smart City Expo World Congress from 15 to 17 November 2022. Leaders from the world’s most innovative companies and organizations, plus governments will take part to share ideas for future-proofing our cities.
If you’d like to attend, you’ll need to register online. Also, check the entry requirements for Spain well in advance as it’s one of the European countries that still has some COVID-19 restrictions in place. If you are from a visa-exempt country for the Schengen Area you can travel to Spain without applying for a visa. Also, given that the ETIAS for Spain is not yet operational, you don’t need a travel authorization yet either.
There is a Digital Program too if you can’t attend in person with expert interviews and live connections.
Zurich, Switzerland — Ambitious Smart City Strategy
For Zurich in Switzerland, a Smart City is one that ‘connects people, organizations or infrastructures’ to add economic, social, or ecological values.
Zurich’s Smart City strategy lays out its clearly defined goals when it comes to digital transformation. Using Smart City technology, Zurich aims to promote equal opportunities and improve the quality of life for everyone—that includes visitors to the city. The environment is another major focus. Zurich’s Smart City strategy helps to conserve resources and support sustainable development. By positioning itself as a leading Smart City, Zurich also attracts businesses and entrepreneurs looking to innovate.
Central to achieving these aims is the Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWN), an Internet of Things Solution. Using LoRaWN, data can be collected in a cost-effective way and used to improve air quality, water management, and Smart Parking.
Zurich has positioned itself as a leading European Smart City thanks to its innovative approaches to digital transformation and ambitious Smart City strategy.
Paris — Post-Pandemic Digitalization
The French capital has learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and turned its attention to Smart City solutions. The Smart City plans focus on areas including transportation, urban planning, and the environment, among others.
A Smart Transportation Plan is being implemented to create a more efficient transportation system, reduce emissions, and improve health and safety. People are at the center of the Paris Smart City planning. The government is focussing on creating greener and safer transport for all its residents.
Another key concern is the climate and environment. Paris aims to be a carbon-neutral city by 2050 and is using Smart City solutions to work towards this. Paris is implementing energy-efficient services such as smart street lighting, increasing the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings, and working to reduce the carbon footprint of its industries.
Other aspects of Parisian life that will be improved by Smart City solutions in the coming years include water management, health services, and shopping.
Helsinki — Offering Mobility as a Service
Finland shows how technology can be used to improve life in the city and the country. The Helsinki-Uusimaa smart region benefits from cutting-edge research and innovation.
Many case studies across the region demonstrate the commitment to improving efficiency and sustainability. One example is that of Porvoo Central School which has installed a heating system that utilizes waste heat. There is also an intelligent heating and control system. Sensors measure indoor temperature, CO2 levels, and heat produced by humans to adjust heating and ventilation.
Helsinki is a global leader when it comes to smart mobility. Helsinki offers mobility-as-a-service. Using the ‘Whim’ application, residents can find out how to get from A to B by a combination of cars, taxis, bikes, and buses… this way traffic can be kept to a minimum and promote a more streamlined journey.