When we talk about smart cities, we often let our imagination run wild, imagining something surreal and futuristic. However, a smart city is nothing more than a place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient by the use of digital and innovative solutions. With this regard, Europe still has a long way to go and it is with the intention of minimising the difficulties that the European Commission has merged two previous projects, the “European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC)” and the “Smart Cities Information System (SCIS)”, into a single platform called: Smart Cities Marketplace.
The platform aims to unite cities, companies, SMEs, investors, banks, researchers and many other smart city players with the common goal of improving the quality life of citizens.
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Smart Cities Marketplace: what it is and how it works
The Smart Cities Marketplace was created with the aim of bringing together smart projects from other European cities, turning innovative ideas into reality. The primary objective of the platform is to create a large marketplace for change where cities, authorities, companies and investors can come together to share experiences and develop partnerships. The platform, therefore, makes useful material available to interested stakeholders, such as:
Smart Cities Marketplace: which are the planned activities?
The planned platform activities are structured in a three-stage process:
The Smart Cities Marketplace communities is made up of a series of action clusters, which in turn have organised subgroups called “initiatives”. Each action pole represents an assembly of partners who commit themselves to work on a specific issue related to the theme. Before joining a community, it is recommended to read the “Smart Cities Marketplace Charter”, in which the guiding principles for participation are described.
How to join the platform
Joining the Marketplace is very simple: just register on the European Commission’s website. Once you join a community, you will have access to all the information material and be able to share ideas or completed projects with other members.
The Smart Cities Marketplace, in concert with other initiatives implemented by the EU, contributes to achieving one of the five missions of the Cohesion Policy 2021-2027. Specifically, the aim is to create a smarter and more sustainable Europe, also in accordance with the European Green Deal. For this purpose, one hundred European cities have been selected which will be the focus of activities and funding aimed at making them smarter and climate neutral by 2030. The hundred selected cities also include nine Italian cities: Bergamo, Milan, Turin, Bologna, Florence, Prato, Padua, Parma and Rome.
This mission will be pursued thanks to Horizon Europe 2021-2027, which will allocate EUR 360 million to transform ‘pilot’ cities into major urban experimentation centres where interventions capable of improving the quality of air, environment and city life will be set up.
Will our future really be smart and sustainable?
The Smart Cities Marketplace, as well as other initiatives proposed by the European Union which are not always known and used, is a very valuable resource. The question we all are asking is: «Will our future really be smart and sustainable?» The forecasts are optimistic and the conditions seem to be in place to achieve the goals.