According to the European Commission, cities account for about 80 % of energy use and generate up to 85 % of Europe's GDP. They are perceived as the source of today’s economic and environmental challenges as well as the solution for a sustainable future. Given that more than 70 % of the EU-28’s population lives in urban areas – with urbanization rates expected to continuously increase, it is thus pivotal to help develop smart cities and work towards economically viable and environmentally sustainable solutions in European cities.
The European Commission has committed to support the Smart Cities movement through the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC). This Partnership aims to foster innovation in the field of energy, transport and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), thus working towards the improvement of urban life. New investments are being made in research and new technologies, and institutions are also paying renewed attention to integrated smart city solutions across Europe.
Building a smart city encompasses the use of big data applications, energy efficient solutions and low carbon means of transportation, among others. This means that collecting and sharing information can be used towards the development of various sectors including citizen services, healthcare, education, energy grids and transport. Furthermore, focusing on renewable energy can help create a sustainable energy sector, while promoting green technologies for cars can improve mobility within and around cities.
This timely symposium sets out to explore the concept of smart cities, its objectives, as well as various actions taken at EU level to support its development. It will discuss ways to facilitate access to finance for smart cities programmes and thus promote cooperation and competitiveness. The symposium will assess the importance of big data in supporting urban development and will examine possible solutions towards the efficient use of energy and sustainable mobility.