EUROCITIES, the network that connects 130 of Europe’s largest cities, is now leading the European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) action cluster on business models, financing and procurement for Smart Cities (AC BM).
Nathalie Guri, Director of Projects & Knowledge Sharing of EUROCITIES, said her priority is to ensure that the Smart City agenda is driven by cities’ needs.
EUROCITIES provides a platform for members to share knowledge and ideas, exchange experiences, analyse common problems and develop innovative solutions, through a wide range of forums, working groups, projects, activities and events ranging from environmental and mobility to social issues.
The success of all these ambitious projects hinges on the cities’ capacity to transform itself, work with new business models and their access to financial resources.
The action cluster on business models (ACBM) brings all these ambitions and tasks under a single umbrella through new integrated and innovative business models.
It met recently to help remove the remaining obstacles to cross-border joint procurement. The cluster is aimed as a sounding board for cities interested in pursuing a results-oriented and constructive dialogue with industry and the private sector.
An official said it is engaged in creating a European critical mass for innovation uptake by bringing the ongoing expert-level discussions within the remit of AC BM.
It is considering projects such as Horizon 2020 CITYnvest to support and replicate successful innovative financing models for energy efficiency renovations in buildings, and the City Sustainable Investment (CSI) URBACT project to demonstrate the role financial instruments can play in efficiently planning, progressing and administering urban development priorities.
The official said investment in Smart City development remains scarce due primarily to the absence of cohesion among the potential partners. There are thousands of Smart City initiatives and strategies, but most are pilot projects funded by research and innovation grants. Sustainable solutions are still few and far between.