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Smart Cities are at the crossroad of two of the major trends shaping today’s societies: urbanisation and technological innovation. Both trends are happening at an increasingly fast pace and appear to be mutually re-enforcing each other: on the one side growing urban areas attract investments in technology and stimulate innovation through agglomerations of businesses, research centres and “creative classes”; on the other growing agglomerations require innovative practices and technologies in order to efficiently provide goods and services. Where urbanisation and innovation meet, Smart Cities can emerge as a model to address major societal, economic and environmental issues. In essence, Smart Cities deploy innovative technology and collaboration models in order to become more prosperous, sustainable and liveable places.
Major role governments on local and international level
The process of making a city a “Smart City” involves the interaction of different actors, both from the private and public sector, as well as the societal body. Out of the three main actors of urban development – governments, businesses and citizens – the Smart City model appears to be mostly driven by the business sector. In fact due to its focus on technology, infrastructure and ICT, corporations are playing a major role in the development of the smart city discourse and have become crucial actors in urban development. Within a complex multi-stakeholder setting, governments play a major role in ensuring inclusive and sustainable urban developments. Moreover, all those interactions not only happen at a local level but also exist at the international level: the EUKN as an international institution supporting national governments in exchanging and creating knowledge on urban issues intends to play a key role in this field. If we consider the Smart City concept as composed of three main dimensions – Technological, Human and Institutional – city leaders must be able to interact with a number of different stakeholders, both within and outside the city if they want to accomplish the vision of transforming their city.
Promoting the ENSCC Call
It is here that the EUKN is at hand to provide the precise linkage needed between research institutions and national governments as well as the operative support to formulate the right policy for Smart Cities. The EUKN also applauds the ENSCC call and will use our inter-governmental positioning to promote the call throughout our network.
The EUKN celebrates 10-years linking researchers to policy makers and practitioners. Since our initiation in 2005, the EUKN has been at the forefront of intergovernmental urban policy exchange and generating impact on political and research agendas. Member States, Presidencies of the Council of the European Union among other urban stakeholders have been beneficiaries of our associative support and strategic advocacy. As an aid to Europe’s latest integrated vision for urban areas, the EUKN will be using its position as a network of national governments and knowledge institutes, deeply involved in EU policy-making, to support Member States in the definition of national policies on Smart Cities. The EUKN will work in close cooperation with research institutions and national governments to devise policy frameworks, strengthened by capacity building, trending research and knowledge exchange.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857160.