19th European Week of Regions and Cities

11-14 October 2021

The European Week of Regions and Cities (#EURegionsWeek) is the biggest annual Brussels-based event dedicated to cohesion policy.

It has grown to become a unique communication and networking platform, bringing together regions and cities from all over Europe, including politicians, administrators, experts and academics. Over the last 18 years, it has done much to promote policy learning and the exchange of good practice.

The purpose of the EURegionsWeek is to discuss common challenges for Europe’s regions and cities and examine possible solutions, to provide a platform for capacity-building, learning and exchange of experience, to facilitate cooperation and networking between regions and cities, and to feed into the debate on EU cohesion policy in a wider context.

The themes for the 2021 edition are Green Transition, Cohesion, Digital Transition and Citizens engagements.

At the European Week of Regions and Cities, VTT will promote a workshop, “Fair and inclusive citizen engagement towards a new city vision in the energy transition, and will present the first results and approach for the citizen engagement in RESPONSE.

Find more: https://europa.eu/regions-and-cities/home_en

Energy and Climate Days 2021 Conference

24-25 June 2021

This hybrid event (in-person and online), which took place in Gabrovo on June 24th and 25th,  got together over 200 experts and policy makers from Bulgaria and EU, who debated over key topics such as: accelerated building stock decarbonization, development of sustainable urban ecosystems, innovative financial instruments, etc. Among the key speakers at the event were: Markku Markkula – First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions; Iskra Mihaylova – MEP and Chair of the Regional development commission at the European Parliament; Frederik Boyer – Covenant of Mayors head of office; Ivaylo Alexiev – Executive Director of the Bulgarian Sustainable Energy Development Agency, etc. The event showcased best practices and innovative ideas and solutions in areas such as: the Renovation Wave, Energy poverty and energy cooperatives, the EU Green deal, etc. The RESPONSE project – its scope and key objectives was presented by the representatives of MoG during the second Conference day as part of the “Energy management at municipal level” panel.

Assessing Impact, Performance and Sustainability Potential of Smart City Projects: Towards a Case Agnostic Evaluation Framework


Authors: Konstantinos Kourtzanidis , Komninos Angelakoglou , Vasilis Apostolopoulos , Paraskevi Giourka and Nikolaos Nikolopoulos

Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Chemical Process and Energy Resources Institute, Thermi, GR-57001
Thessaloniki, Greece; angelakoglou@certh.gr (K.A.); v.apostolopoulos@certh.gr (V.A.); giourka@certh.gr (P.G.);
n.nikolopoulos@certh.gr (N.N.)
* Correspondence: kourtzanidis@certh.gr

Abstract: We report on a novel evaluation framework to globally assess the footprint of smart cities and communities (SCC) projects, being also expandable to the case of smart grid related projects. The uniform smart city evaluation (USE) framework is constructed upon three complementary evaluation axes: the first one aims to weigh up the success of a SCC project based on performance metrics against pre-defined project-specific target values. The second axis focuses on the project’s impact towards the sustainability of a city and it is bench-marked against national and international key objectives arising from strategic plans. This bench-marking feeds the third axis which provides a more inclusive evaluation against four pre-defined and widely acclaimed sectors of interest. The steps to be followed for the uniform evaluation of each axis and corresponding index are presented in detail, including necessary key performance indicator (KPI) normalization, weighting, and aggregation methods. The resulting indices’ scores for each axis (namely project performance index, sustainability impact index, and sustainability performance index) can be post-processed with adequate data processing and visualization tools to extract important information on the extent to which the range of success of a SCC project contributes to the city sustainability progress. Illustrative examples from an on-going SCC project are provided to highlight the strengths of the approach. The proposed framework can be used to compare multiple projects within a city and sustainability and project performance in different cities, evaluate the interventions chosen per project against city needs, benchmark and design future projects (with, e.g., reverse engineering, projections), as well as evaluate various spatial and temporal scales.

Keywords: smart cities; evaluation; frameworks; impact; KPI

Air quality partners met for a site visit in Turku

In June, partner representatives from the city of Turku, the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and the University of Turku gathered for a site visit in the Student Village, Turku’s Positive Energy District (PED). The purpose of the site visit was for the partners involved in air quality activities, to get familiar with the PED air quality characteristics and the overall air quality measures and monitoring in Turku. In RESPONSE, FMI is responsible for meteorological and dispersion modelling activities. FMI will for example develop SILAM Air Quality Modelling for the PED and demonstrate the use of a high-resolution operative air quality forecasting system. The University of Turku, more specifically the department of Geography and Geology, is providing high-resolution local climate information with a focus on urban planning.

View from the Aitiopaikka rooftop, the buildings in the front of the picture are subject to retrofitting activities, including nano-coating 4-glazing panel windows, high performance ventilation and IoT thermostats funded by RESPONSE. The blue building in the back is the Tyyssiija building, also part of Turku’s Positive Energy Block (PEB), in which most of the infrastructural implementations will take place. Photo: Sini Lamoureux

During the visit, air quality expert Petra Sainisto from the city of Turku introduced the subject of air quality in Turku, stating that there are quite few days per year with poor air quality in the city. When the air quality level drops, it usually happens in spring when the streets dry and the level of dust particles in the air increases.

The tour around the Student Village started on the Aitiopaikka building rooftop which provided a good overview of the PED area. Aitiopaikka, built in 2018 is a four-story apartment building equipped with 516 solar panels. After seeing the PED from above, the site visit led by environmental expert Hans-Peter Huhtala from the city of Turku, continued on the ground. The University of Turku has several air quality measuring sensors in the PED area which are part of the TURCLIM urban weather observation network. The site visit was completed with a stop at the Turku market square air quality measuring station, which monitors the traffic’s impact on the city centre air quality.

Sini Lamoureux, City of Turku