Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, will soon celebrate its 750th anniversary. The city represents a great historical richness and is one of the most important Smart Cities in the world. One of the city’s main goals is to ensure, together with partners worldwide, that a safe digital public space is the standard for all citizens, so that they can benefit from the possibilities of digitization in a city where human digital rights are protected.
The current city government developed an ambitious policy framework in 2018 entitled “The Digital City,” which includes proposals on data minimization, open by default, privacy by design, and a ban on Wi-Fi tracking. In addition to this, the city is also implementing the participatory manifest “Tada, Clarity about Data“, created in partnership with local businesses, academia, and residents, in order to highlight concepts such as inclusion, transparency, and ethical data use.
The city of Amsterdam is convinced that diverse input from residents is essential to their policymaking. OpenCity Amsterdam provides easy-to-use digital participation tools to include the residents’ voice, such as co-creating the design of public space. In Amsterdam, civic initiatives have emerged to empower people digitally. For Amsterdam, being part of CommuniCity means making sure all communities are included, integrated, and empowered.
Forum Virium Helsinki
Forum Virium Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital of Finland, the administrative centre of the country, and an important hub of business and culture. The Helsinki metropolitan area, the most populous urban area in Finland, has approximately 1,2 million people and is composed of the cities of Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen. In Helsinki, Finnish is the primary language, with 6% of the residents speaking Swedish as a mother tongue and another 16% of the population speaking other languages.
According to a UN report, Finland is the happiest country in the world, and Helsinki wants to reinforce this status. It has launched a City Strategy for the years 2021–2025 to be a city where different lifestyles and opinions can coexist in harmony. The strategy also renews the city’s economic policy priorities, strengthening and developing Helsinki’s status as a top start-up hub, an innovative environment, and a hotbed of business opportunity in Europe.
But still, Finland is facing a challenge with an aging population. While the share of individuals aged 65 years and older was still 15% in the year 2000, it increased to 22% in 2019, partly due to a declining birth rate. This demographic shift is accelerating to the point where Finland has one of the world’s five fastest-aging populations. Following the city’s commitment to innovation and democracy, CommuniCity will address the needs of the Helsinki population, from the young to the elderly.
Porto is in the Northwest of Portugal, in a strategic location in relation to three continents (Europe, North America and Africa). The city has around 232,000 inhabitants but the Porto Metropolitan Area (AMP) totals 1.7 million people.
The city’s historic center is classified by UNESCO as World Heritage Site and its architecture and culture show a strong connection to the historical past. In parallel, Porto has state of the art knowledge being produced by academia (Universidade do Porto and other strong education institutions), a strong pool of talented and creative people, a large number of R&D units with many scientists, a growing local investors network, good accessibility and infrastructures, uncommon safety levels, high quality of life and a vibrant culture.
Innovation plays a big role in the city and region and there is an ecosystem leading transformation with very interesting outcomes on the challenges smart sustainable cities face. There is also a clear ongoing effort to use Innovation to combat climate change and population aging, as well as the polarization of the socio-economic conditions.
Replicator City: Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, with around 1.3 million inhabitants. The city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has traditionally been one of the most visited cities in Europe.
In recent years, Prague has been trying to fundamentally respond to climate change, promote research, innovation and artificial intelligence, and is home to the administrative headquarters of the European Space Agency EUSPA. According to its Climate plan from 2021, Prague aimes to reduce CO2 emissions in the metropolis by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010, aiming at carbon neutrality by 2050. Many city-level projects, especially those in the Smart City area, are based on these targets. The pilot innovation projects as well as the innovation marathon ” Kick Prague” have already become a solid part of the Innovation Ecosystem that we are trying to develop in Prague.
However, with the increase in the use of digital tools and advancing digitalisation in general, there is a growing disparity between the groups of the population who are able – and have the opportunity – to use these tools and those who do not, usually for socio-economic reasons. Through participation in CommuniCity, we would like to try to erase these differences and at the same time encourage interest in participating in city projects among all population groups, especially those who have limited access and knowledge of digital tools and technologies.
Replicator City: Tallinn
Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, is a vibrant and forward-looking metropolis situated on the shores of the Baltic Sea. With a population of around 450,000 residents, Tallinn is a cultural and economic hub that bridges the gap between Eastern and Northern Europe.
Tallinn’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a captivating blend of medieval and modern influences. The city’s skyline is adorned with historic spires, while its streets are lined with well-preserved medieval buildings that offer a glimpse into its rich past.
Home to renowned institutions like Tallinn University and the Tallinn University of Technology, the city boasts a thriving academic community that contributes to its culture of innovation. Recently, the city has reached the eight position in the ranking of Europe’s most popular start-up hubs and its smart city solutions are amongst the best in Europe.
Julie Whyte Kelstrup
Hans Christian Bugge
Replicator City: Aarhus
Aarhus, often spelled Århus, is a vibrant city nestled on the eastern coast of Denmark. With a population of approximately 350,000 inhabitants, Aarhus is the country’s second-largest city and a cultural beacon that marries history with modernity.
Aarhus is home to a captivating blend of old-world charm and contemporary dynamism. The city’s historic district, including its charming cobblestone streets and well-preserved architecture, evokes a sense of timelessness. Notably, the Aarhus Cathedral and the Latin Quarter stand as reminders of its rich heritage.
The city’s academic scene is anchored by Aarhus University, a renowned institution that contributes to the city’s reputation for innovation. Aarhus fosters a spirit of creativity and progress through the Smart Aarhus network. It seeks to link public and private sectors, academia and citizens to improve the city by making it greener and smarter. This initiative includes the Aarhus City Lab to test smart city solutions, the Nordic Smart City Network for knowledge exchange and cooperation, and Open Data DK to promote democracy, transparency and economic growth.
Replicator City: Breda
In Breda, ‘enjoying life’ seems to have been invented. A bustling city in a historic setting. The Dutch royal family was founded here 600 years ago. Many monuments and greenery remind us of this royal period. You can enjoy this atmosphere in the countless lively restaurants, cafes and terraces and also in the peaceful, vast nature. Breda is also a city of modern street art, international transport hub, high standard education, world famous dance culture and innovative business community. Breda brings it together.
At the same time, there is also a visible difference in Breda between less and more privileged people. With the city program Verbeter Breda (Improve Breda), Breda is working on more equal opportunities, wherever you grow up in Breda and Breda wants to realize that within one generation. In 2040, everyone must be able to seize sufficient opportunities to design their own life in a valuable way. Inhabitants, schools, businesses, the police, housing corporations, care and welfare, the municipality and the government work together to permanently improve Breda.
Breaking intergenerational transmission is an important subject; breaking down how behaviors or problems are passed on from one generation to the next in families. Problems can include crime, trauma, unhealthy lifestyle, weak socio-emotional relationships, addiction and poverty. These issues are interlinked and contribute to the persistence of the lack of prospects in underprivileged communities if they are passed down over three generations or more.
Breda is also committed to facilitating digitization in the city in a responsible manner. Digitization can offer Breda new solutions for our social challenges with an eye for the risks, ethics and those who are less able or unwilling to keep up with developments.
Breda cares for every inhabitant!