Webinar: RESPONSE – first actions and future plans towards Positive Energy Districts

On October 1st, 2021, the RESPONSE project hosted its first webinar, RESPONSE – first actions and future plans towards Positive Energy Districts. The webinar aimed to provide and discuss the initial experiences of the RESPONSE Partner Cities and their first steps towards achieving Positive Energy Districts.

The webinar had a wide range of speakers, including project coordinators, who presented the project, and representatives from the RESPONSE project Lighthouse and Fellow Cities, who presented their main goals, key activities during the first year of the project, expected results and upcoming actions.

The webinar, attended by 51 individuals, also had two Q&A sessions, for the Lighthouse Cities and the Fellow Cities, respectively, where participants could clarify their doubts.

For those who were not available to participate in the webinar, it is available on RESPONSE’s Youtube channel.

Here you can find the presentation used during the webinar.

During the project period, more webinars will be held, both presenting projects’ results and debating on topics relevant to the project.

RESPONSE WEBINAR: First actions and future plans towards Positive Energy Districts | October 1st, 2021

The RESPONSE project is implementing the Webinar “RESPONSE – First actions and future plans towards Positive Energy Districts. The objective of this webinar is to provide and discuss the initial experiences of the RESPONSE Partner Cities and their first steps towards achieving Positive Energy Districts. Representatives from the RESPONSE project Lighthouse and Fellow Cities will present their main goals, key activities during the first year of the project, expected results and upcoming actions.

The detailed agenda is available here.

Please register here by the 29th September!

The webinar will take place remotely using the Zoom Platform.

Release of the First RESPONSE project newsletter

We are pleased to share with you that our First Newsletter is out now!

This newsletter reviews the first steps of the project, a brief introduction about the Lighthouse Cities and Fellow Cities which RESPONSE supports and a quick overview about our latest events, updates and results.

Find the Newsletter here: https://bit.ly/37X4bGc  

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

Nordic EdgeExpo 2021

Nordic Edge Expo is a unique meeting place for decision-makers, technology enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, start-ups and investors with smart city ambitions. Here, the public sector meets private businesses and organizations to share experiences, discuss challenges and present solutions. 

The 7th edition of Nordic Edge Expo & Conference, the leading Smart City event in the Nordics, will be a hybrid version in 2021. 

While “It’s Tomorrow” is the theme and red thread of this year’s conference programme, topics such as Come Clean, On the Move, Spaces and Places and Life Actually will be addressed by speakers and panelists in the four–day conference programme. Each day will also have 6 exclusive workshops linked to the topics. The Nordic Edge Expo & Conference will dive into the challenges of today and tomorrow; and will be discusses showcase best-practice solutions, and find new collaborations.

In addition, there will be side events with KnowHow EdTech, Nordic eSport, City Centre Conference hosted by Norwegian Cities Association, Gründer Academy, Youth Achievement and a Smart City Symposium Research Day.  

The mission of the 7th edition of Nordic Edge Expo & Conference is to deliver the most valuable Smart City meeting place in the Nordics. Together with the partners from the private sector, public sector, academia and start-up community the Nordic Edge will work hard to bring people together and deliver an insightful event.

From Positive Energy Districts to Climate Neutral Cities – Time to scale-up!

We are living in bold and incredible times. In one year, mountains have been moved to design and manufacture vaccines against COVID-19. How can the pandemic mindset be applied to a more looming threat: climate change?

Our goal during these two days is to explore the future of cities in the face of climate urgency and fair social and ecological transitions. The future is already here, embedded in innovative projects and initiatives. We don’t bet only on long-term visions but focus on practical and promising innovations that shape the future of cities.

The global online and local event is a joint event of four H2020 Lighthouse smart city projects that comprises the Final event of Smarter Together joined by its 2016 sister projects – ReplicateSharing Cities and SmartEnCity and presenting their recommendations. Following streaming from local studios in Lyon, London, San Sebastian and Sonderborg the global online audience is going to participate in the activities and the role of the SCALE Secretariat. The SCC-LG family, cities, stakeholders, industry partners, researchers and beyond are all welcome to join in all sessions.

Main sessions

The event is a two day event with an ambitious agenda that is composed of several key sessions. 

We will kickstart the two days with the Final event of Smarter Together.

The Joint event will present high-level political representatives from cities of the “Four” 2016 Smart Cities projects who will focus on What comes next for cities? Desirable futures and climate neutrality

To deepen the debate, each project will broadcast live from a local studio 

  • Smarter Together Studio based in Lyon
  • Replicate Studio based in San Sebastián 
  • Sharing Cities Studio based in London
  • SmartEnCity Studio based in Sonderborg 

Each will look at one of the four themes that will make the future of cities:

  • The future of Energy Communities
  • Investment, accessing finance, and scaling-up
  • The Roadmap2025-project
  • Smart districts

With the help of a panel of experts, the ”Four” will use the business, organisational and technological models to reach their desirable futures. 

The European Commission SCALE initiative will present its portfolio of activities to foster replication and scaling up of smart solutions as well as to create sustainable communities of cities and practitioners.

We will close with the SCALE Secretariat hosting a number of sessions on upcoming topics of Call for Experts & Peer-to-peer learnings, City Coordinators Group, Roadshow, Smart City Brand and a meeting of the Board of Coordinators as well parallel individual sessions for each Task Group.

Kick-off Meeting

The official Kick-off Meeting (KoM) was held on November 3rd and 4th, 2020. EIFER, the project coordinator organised it virtually via Zoom Meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to extensive participation of the involved 53 partners, the event gathered distinguished individuals such as Jens Bartholmes, Policy Officer at the European Commission. City representatives of Turku and Dijon were represented by welcome message videos, previously collected from them as part of the preparation process.

The first day of the KoM mainly focused on the cities and their integrated solutions, followed by WP leaders’ presentations which were held on the second day. The content of presentations included description of tasks, deliverables, and upcoming actions of the respective WPs. In order to facilitate discussions, a Q&A session was organised after each presentation and the questions were facilitated only via the chat box. This helped to spark useful discussions leading to significant conclusions.

It is relevant to also note that as a side activity, 30 second video clips were collected from all partners prior to the kick-off, to be played during the meeting as due to the size of the consortium and the virtual meeting set up, it would be complicated to have a classic round table for a consortium of 53 partners. The clips were then grouped by ecosystem and played after the presentations, in order to enable the participants to get acquainted with the representatives involved in different parts of the project. A snapshot of such a video is presented below.