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“If I were to decipher the message that 2017 is bringing, I would say that data sharing and co-creation will certainly boost urban innovation in the forthcoming years. And that, in Zaragoza, we have some interesting tools to make it happen:
our smart Citizen Card, our “de facto” digital platform upon which we can build all sorts of services, from gamification to citizen participation
our Open Urban Lab, the co-creation lab of the city, located at the very core of Zaragoza’s flagship innovation hub “Etopia Center for Arts and Technology”
a thriving civic and innovation ecosystem and a program “100 Ideas ZGZ” conceived to set bottom-up ideas in motion, using the city as an innovation platform
The good news started in Luxembourg. After pitching the Citizen Card in late January on the Big Data Info Days on Horizon 2020 we are overwhelmed by the number of agents from either industry and research arena that have proposed to partner with us in big data-related H2020 calls. Almost simultaneously, four groups of design students from the University of Zaragoza presented four innovative ideas for new services on the Citizen Card. They had been working on them for three months both in the classroom and in the Lab.
A week later we took a plane to Brussels: on Jan, 25th Zaragoza’s Citizen Card received the Green Digital Charter (GDC) 2016 Award on ‘Citizen participation and impact on society’. During the conference ‘Cities in Transition – the role of digital in shaping our future cities’ held in Brussels we had the opportunity to present our current and future data policy and discuss it with an engaged audience from government and academia. Take two concepts already developed in these blog’s pages: Big (open) Data, and Data Sharing.
We need European funding to materialize these and other ideas, so we’ve been working very hard with the team on several European proposals for using data to spark and guide the co-creation of new public services. We have already tested this principle within the project CITYkeys, where data has allowed us to identify gaps and opportunities for new transport services: that’s how the future network of bicycle parking spots started to be designed. A path, that of the co-creation of new public services based on data insights, that we intend to develop further.
On Feb, 6th we enrolled on a learning trip to beautiful Cascais (Portugal) to join the “Smart Life Incubator” think tank. We were ‘locked’ by the outstanding TM Forum staff alongside other city policy makers from Tokyo, Liverpool, Nice, Porto, Saint Quentin, Cascais and Utrecht. It was an intense 3-day working session focused on addressing urban challenges through innovation and cooperation between stakeholders. We dealt with problems such as mobility, talent attraction, unemployment, on-line services,… We shared strategies to bring deprived public space back to life, or to improve city response in case of catastrophe. Surprisingly, data sharing was identified as a common enabling vector for most of the challenges. The bad news is that no one seems to know how to make it happen without compromising, either legitimate organization assets or personal privacy: the relationship between big data and governments is still heavily cluttered.
So while everybody talks about co-creation, there is an astonishingly small number of succes stories out there. Most projects, like the “Co-creating responsive urban spaces” initiative in Amsterdam, are just starting. And data sharing is something we all think should be happening (for the sake of humanity, right?) but that no one has seen yet. In my Master on City Sciences’ thesis I pointed out that there are gigantic organizational and behavioural (psychological) barriers that block the way. As more projects on co-creation start in the following years, and small scale urban data sharing examples are being built, we expect that a whole new body of knowledge about the subject will appear. This knowledge, of course, will blossom on the urban ground, since it is the natural environment where people’s ideas and big (urban) data can turn into solutions.
The story of co-creation and data sharing is just beginning. We’ll be here to write it.”
Daniel Sarasa Funes is urban innovation planner and Smart City Program Manager at Zaragoza City Council. He is co-author of Zaragoza’s digital agenda 2012-2015 “Towards a Smart Citizenship” and co-editor of OpenYourCity.com
Digital innovation is a driver of sustainable urban development all over the world. Approaches to becoming ‘smarter’ may differ, but open and interoperable solutions arguably play a key role in ensuring the sustainability of smart infrastructures.
Public authorities collect and produce reams of data, which can be used to design and deliver innovative services and applications. From a governance perspective, public data also has the potential to contribute to more transparency in municipalities’ urban planning. This is why open data strategies are at the core of smart city initiatives all over Europe.
The third GDC award category will recognise the project that has adopted and implemented open data and/or interfaces; has deployed and/or promoted interoperable solutions; and has tried to promote urban platforms or the better use/re-use of infrastructures, services, tools, etc.
The three finalists are:
- Amsterdam region’s Open Data – Smart Neighbourhoods (ODSN) project
- Rijeka’s iURBAN intelligent urban energy tool
- Valencia’s Smart City Platform
Amsterdam region’s ODSN project uses IT to achieve urban climate targets
Commissioned by the Dutch ministry of infrastructure and environment, the Open Data – Smart Neighbourhoods (OSDN) project implements the IREEN roadmap, which was developed by Green IT Amsterdam under the FP7 funding programme between 2011 and 2013. This roadmap for energy-efficient neighbourhoods aims to promote the development of a comprehensive Europe-wide innovation strategy and the take-up of ICT-based energy efficiency solutions in urban districts and neighbourhoods.
The ODSN project builds on Amsterdam’s expertise and experience in open data management and in supporting new data-driven projects in five municipalities of the Amsterdam region, namely Haarlem, Tilburg, Zaanstad, Lelystad Airport Business Park, and Heerlen.
The project encourages the participants to learn about the benefits of open data and also about the challenges involved in monitoring, as well as in engaging and protecting the privacy of residents.
More information is available at at Green IT Amsterdam website.
Contact person: Jaak Vlasveld, director of Green IT Amsterdam: jvlasveld[at]greenitamsterdam.nl
Rijeka’s iURBAN: intelligent tool for an energy-efficient smart city
Just like all other local and regional authorities, the city of Rijeka must pay the energy bills of public buildings, such as schools, kindergartens, public libraries, and the city council itself.
An open access research book was published online in November 2016, just after the end of the project. Entitled iURBAN: Intelligent Urban Energy Tool, the book introduces this tool that integrates different ICT energy management systems (both hardware and software) in Rijeka) and Plovdiv. This system provides useful data to a novel decision support system needed for the development of associated business models.
The iURBAN smart Decision Support System (smartDSS) addresses a growing market demand for cheaper and cleaner energy services. It enables municipalities to analyse consumption patterns within buildings, detect sources of inefficiency, and identify power-hungry devices that weigh heavily on the municipality’s energy bill. It also helps building managers identify areas where investment is needed.
Interested to know more? Visit the iURBAN website at http://www.iurban-project.eu.
Contact person: Tatjana Perse, head of the city of Rijeka’s e-government unit: email@example.com
Valencia Smart City Platform (VLCi)
The Spanish city’s 2020 strategy emphasises innovation, sustainability and environmental quality; promotes entrepreneurship; foresees the emergence of a civic-minded political culture; and aims for the creation of spheres of excellence in promising sectors such as design, renewable energies, health, technology, and arts.
The Valencia Smart City Platform (VLCi) enables the municipality to efficiently manage its public services through the compilation and use of urban, citizenship and service management-related indicators. These enable the city to accurately measure urban behaviour and resources, and offer an integrated view of its operations and management. The indicators also enable Valencia to check itself against other similar cities and to improve its strategic and operational decision making processes over time.
By using some of the 600 indicators integrated in the VLCi platform, the municipality can also provide better services to its citizens. VLCi’s control panel display encourages the use of public open data by citizens, technicians and council officials for urban service management purposes.
To improve interoperability between its municipal services, Valencia has also developed an urban management platform based on FIWARE, an open standard recommended by the European Commission, which smart city developers use to ensure Internet of Things (IoT) compliance.
Further information is available at http://vlci.inndeavalencia.com (in English)
Contact person: Anna Melchor-Pérez, smart city specialist at Las Naves (previously InnDEA Valencia Foundation), Valencia city council: anna.melchor[at]inndeavalencia.com