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Shaping Europe’s digital future

Smart Cities and Communities

The European Commission is working with smart cities and communities in order to address local challenges, deliver better services to citizens and reach the European Green Deal objectives.

    Modern City Skyline with bubble representing smart objects

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Smart City

What are smart cities and communities?

A smart city or community aims at the well-being of its inhabitants, businesses, visitors, organisations and administrators by offering digitally enabled services that contribute to a better quality of life.

These smart services can help to better manage resources like energy or water, to monitor and reduce local traffic and pollution or in the work towards greener ways to light and heat buildings. They can also mean a more interactive and responsive city administration, engagement of citizens in decision and policy-making, safer public spaces and meeting the needs of an ageing population and people with disabilities.

The European Commission is supporting the digital transformation of cities and communities through:

The Living-in.EU movement - a city-led collaborative platform for cities and communities to accelerate their digital transformation the 'European way' (citizen-centric approach, ethically and socially responsible data usage, co-creation with and engagement of citizens, open and interoperable standards)

Local data platforms - Implementing interoperable local data platforms that enable digital technologies to integrate data flows via open standards within and across city systems. Both the public and private sector can then use data to deliver smart services.

Data space for smart communities - Facilitating data sharing through the creation of a data space for smart communities. This will be an interoperable and secure environment, where currently fragmented and dispersed data can be shared, based upon voluntary agreements.

Local digital twins - Building the capacity of cities and communities to implement their local digital twins. Local digital twins are virtual representations of the area’s physical assets, processes and systems. They use AI algorithms, data analytics and machine learning to create digital simulation models that can be updated and changed as their physical equivalents change. They allow real-time city management and long-term, strategic policy decisions, using models, visualisation and scenario building. The latter will provide a good basis for digital Bauhaus initiatives.

The DIGITAL programme – in order to also provide financial support to the four action points above the DIGITAL programme will make some funding available in its various calls. The bulk of the funding should however come from national sources, potentially including Cohesion Policy Funds or the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

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