Open data is one of the key elements when it comes to building a smart city and improving urban life. While open data can be seen as a gold mine in terms of driving forward smart initiatives, it can also pose a risk, with cities becoming just as hackable as smartphones and computers. Cities in Europe will have to re-evaluate the way they use open data once the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into play this spring.
With the redevelopment of former harbours like Helsinki’s Smart Kalasatama, and projects like Interactive Cities, where Genova is leading the way with digital developments that impact city governance, both EU cities could benefit from Google Urbanism and its plan to “think about a city from the Internet up.”
Each year heralds in a new wave of predictions when it comes to the trends and technology that will be sweeping over smart cities—and developing new ones. In 2017, European cities saw the rise of smart city solutions like electric vehicles, smart parking and street lighting, and free (and fast) Internet. 5G, for example, was a hot topic at tech conferences as companies partnered up with cities to get the networks in place for this high-speed service.
As the EU looks to be a driver in terms of a low carbon economy, islands in Europe are becoming more aware of their role to serve as inspiration for sustainable, integrated solutions that “make the most out of islands’ competitive advantages,” according to the Smart Islands Initiative. Let’s take a look at this new effort inspired by Smart Cities and Communities and how Europe’s islands may play a vital role in helping Europe transition into a low carbon and sustainable economy.
Tech corporation ZTE is looking to bring Hungary’s technology up to 21st century standards starting with one major upgrade: a 5G network. While small towns like Szentendre near Budapest have toyed with smart city solutions like Smart Parking systems, it’s up to larger metropolises to set the example when it comes to Smart City projects.
As part of the six-year mySMARTLife project, European Lighthouse city Helsinki is looking to urban solutions to cut 70 percent of greenhouse gases. Along with Nantes and Hamburg, Helsinki is part of the mySMARTLife plan to transform cities into “more sustainable places where smart people and smart economy become reality.”
Shared mobility may still be in its early stages, but this is one trend that could have a major impact not only on the automotive industry, but also on cities themselves. Shared mobility is predicted to only partially replace car ownership, but by 2030, this part could equal up to a third of vehicle sales. Europe currently ranks third in the market in terms of shared mobility, with the challenge of lacking a “one-size-fits-all” model, since each city has its own regulations.
While the Finnish town of Tampere may only have 200,000 residents, it’s the largest inland city in Scandinavia. Set on an isthmus between two lakes, the city is dominated by old industrial buildings, original architecture and a stunning natural backdrop of ridges formed thousands of years ago. Yet despite its small town vibes and compact city centre, Tampere is poising itself to become a frontrunner for 5G technology.
Essen has transformed itself from a mining city of coal and steel into the third greenest in Germany. By working with partners to implement a highly replicable, integrated environmental management system.
Just as a CEO is essential to managing a company, cities are creating a role just as crucial for smart city projects—a Chief Technology Officer. New York City kicked off this trend in 2014, but London quickly followed in its footsteps. Now with these CTO’s helping pave the way for smart solution strategies, cities across Europe (like Barcelona) are incorporating one major element into the mix: free Wi-Fi.