Sitting in the centre of the Mediterranean Corridor, Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain after Barcelona and Madrid, located just a 95-minute, high-speed rail ride away. In terms of economic activity, Valencia also ranks third-highest in the country with 170,000 companies and an economy that has grown 3.9 percent in the past year. As one of the leading smart cities in Spain, Valencia has introduced a few firsts in the country, including the integration of a smart city management platform. Now with a budget of over 1 billion euros, Valencia is undergoing a transformation to become a center of urban innovation on par with some of the continent’s most progressive smart cities.- Bruno De Man
Integrated city solutions
According to Euronews, two out of three people living in Europe are faced with the issue of urban sprawl, and 80 percent of the continent’s energy is directed to cities. While some of Spain’s larger cities like Barcelona were the natural contenders in the race across Europe to become smarter, now smaller spots are stepping up to the challenge. Valencia first started its transition to smart city back in 2012, launching solutions like AppValencia that allow users to access real-time information on buses and bikes, pay bills, and receive important alerts about happenings in town, such as road accidents. This integrated platform brought existing apps together, in addition to launching new apps providing information on the municipality, interactive street maps, and daily agendas. Citizens can even pay bills online or speed up administrative paperwork, such as taxes or registry certificates. In the Euronews article, Rafael Monterde-Diaz, CEO, Las Naves Urban Innovation Centre, Valencia City Council, explains: “The citizens are able to use the data. The private sector, in general, can develop apps, solutions that the city can benefit from because it gives us a solution for a service, but also it is a viable business model that allows them to generate profitability.”
With sensors connecting everything from street lamps to traffic lights and parking spots, the city is able to more effectively manage public resources and reduce pollution and utility costs, in addition to helping citizens avoid common annoyances like traffic jams. Valencia’s smart service management will create a global platform that helps measure and compare the quality of life and municipal services with similar cities to continue improving its own model of governance, ultimately creating a more sustainable urban environment for its citizens.