Towards a European version of the Smart City concept


Jonas Norrman is partner at IMCG and works with many smart cities throughout Europe. Here he shares insights on the development of concepts for smart cities in general and the development of European Smart Cities in particular.

Smart City is a concept under development in many countries all over the world and I have the opportunity to support large companies with the implementation of new innovative sustainable solutions in line with the concept. The mayor driving force is the need of reducing city environmental footprint. The other driving force is the availability of enabling technologies in the ongoing digital revolution.

These two forces have merged into a rapid implementation of new tools for quality of life in cities. However, from ideologies and strategies the end results could differ from one another. From the work I have conducted, I have set the framework for what I see as the European Smart City Concept. A concept that builds from established policies within the EU as well as it is compatible with modern way of life.

The 3 key guidelines for a European Smart City Concept
Smart Cities in Europe will remain smart and become smarter when adopting a smart city concept with constant focus on:

  1. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – Every investment and every implementation of new services within the city must be in line with the global sustainability goals. A mayor part of all citizens lives in cities, and the trend indicates that more will be move into the urban areas. it is important to keep up a rapid development pace regarding implementation of solutions that contribute to solving the challenges cities are facing.
  2. Democracy – based and dependent on informed and engaged citizens. Easy access to information is a basis for a democracy. It is of essence that the city authorities provide the citizens with a communication platform with open data and that citizens are encouraged to give the city feedback about their everyday needs.
  3. Privacy – No monitoring of citizens. Stronger rules on data protection mean people have more control over their personal data and businesses benefit from a level playing field. GDPR regulation support privacy as well as development of smart digital services without storage of user data.

IMCG works in several smart city projects, for example the Lighthouse City project IRIS Smart Cities, and has a network of cities all over Europe. The cities we work with address several of the sustainability goals, open data , privacy and GDPR is central for all.