Smart City – Copenhagen

EUREKA is an intergovernmental organisation for pan-European research and development funding and coordination. It aims to coordinate the efforts of governments, research institutes and commercial companies concerning innovation.  

The EUREKA innovation event from this year was focused on Industry and city perspectives on “Smart Cities – Sustainable and Attractive Communities”. The presentation of Smart city in Copenhagen: Ambitions, possibilities and strategies was made by Winn Nielsen, Head of City Data, City of Copenhagen.

The main points of Winn’s presentation are:

Issues that the cities are facing today had grown complex so complex that it’s hard to maintain simple, normal approaches. Today we need much more collaboration around finding solutions, we need much more dialogue. Winn stressed several times that the traditional customer-vendor relationship no longer works for cities.

Nobody cares about Smart Cities – they care about livable cities with a great quality of life. Although this message is now becoming mainstream, Winn stressed that Copenhagen’s strategy doesn’t talk about Smart Cities. Instead, it focuses on a livable city, a sustainable city.

The concept of Smart Cities is very hard to explain to citizens and politicians. The need for integration of many factors that can translate the vision into life. Today we have plenty of data, so we need to define what actually this data going to solve.

How Copenhagen is becoming a Smart City

There are three core technology pieces for a smart, livable city: data platform and privacy, smart city infrastructure, co-creation and partnership.

Smart City infrastructure so often demands a ‘loose solutions’ approach with suppliers working together to provide a loosely couple infrastructure offering data and management interoperability.

Copenhagen has not tried to break down silos and create a central Smart City unit within the city organization, but has instead worked with the silos and created a very small ‘solutions lab’ that works with transportation, finance, housing, to help them integrate their solutions with other parts of the city: Copenhagen City and Regional Authorities, Citizens and Civil Society, University and Research Institutions, Companies and Startups.

It’s very important to involve all the main actors of the Smart City in the process of solution development.

Data brokerage is a crucial factor when it’s comes to Smart Cities. People have focused on Open Data and there are many initiatives around ensuring citizens have access to city data via Open Data platforms.

But the real benefit from data will come when citizens and corporations make their data available. Since this data is valuable, you need to develop a brokerage or data exchange platform that allows corporations to buy and sell that information.

Further, it needs to allow citizens to also make their personal data available and to provide means for them to secure it, control who sees it and provide ways for them to benefit from the use of their data.

You can find Winn’s presentation here, or you can watch the video:

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