Cities of Focus
The FCs of Brussels, Zaragosa, Botosani, Ptolemaida, Gabrovo and Severodonetsk represent different regions of Europe and correspondingly, different conditions of energy systems, climate, building types and financial possibilities and challenges. All FCs exhibit a long-term commitment to replication activities through their existing policies and strategies. LH cities will act as mentors to FCs.
Τhe City of Brussels is aiming to become a real Smart and Sustainable City, evidenced by the launch of several initiatives in the domains of IoT infrastructure, open ICT platforms and participatory projects. The City has developed a Smart City Strategy, consisting of 6 strategic axes such as mobility, governance, well-being while its vision can be summarized as: “A connected City to foster a high quality of life and a sustainable urban development”. The development of Brussels’ first PED is also an ambition of this program, and is even mentioned in the Political Majority Agreement 2018-2024. The city of Brussels developed also a distinctive (but linked to the Smart City program) and ambitious masterplan called “BXL2021” which reviews completely the IT architecture, and changes the organizational processes. Finally, Brussels has joined the Covenant of Mayors in 2016 and is currently deploying its SECAP (validated by the Covenant of Mayors).
“Brussels Participation” is a service to support citizens in sharing ideas about their neighborhood and provides tools for community projects. The service organizes not only meetings but also participatory budgets allowing citizens to identify and prioritize public spending projects. Furthermore, a vast “Meeting of the Brusseleirs” was organized in June 2019. The event included inspiration workshops, discovering of existing citizen initiatives and the exchange of experiences with other cities. The City has also developed an online collaboration platform i.e. “Faire Bruxelles”, to give citizens the opportunity to express opinions, submit projects, vote for ideas. Other applications also exist, such as the Fix My Street app enabling citizens to report incidents within the Brussels’ public space. “CityFab1” is a digital manufacturing space where any person irrespectively of his expertise, can experiment, learn or manufacture all types of objects.
Zaragoza is the capital city of the Zaragoza province and of Aragon Region (Spain). Its privileged location in the country makes Zaragoza nerve centre of communications between Madrid-Barcelona and Valencia-Bilbao and functional centre of commerce, industry, services and administration for the region, being the largest terrestrial logistic centre of Europe and the 4th Spanish city in terms of its Economic Activity Index. The budget linked to R&D&I integrates the environmental items of “Zaragoza Smart City” with an annual budget of more than 3.5 million €. The municipal environmental expenditures in 2012 amounted to 170 million euros and the municipal budget in Science and Technology in 2013 to 4.5 million. Currently 13,000 green jobs are estimated at Zaragoza (4.9% of total employment in the city). Zaragoza in 2010 achieved a self-sufficiency of 70,14% of the electricity consumed thanks to the renewables installed in its surroundings. Zaragoza signed the Covenant of Mayors in 2011.
Zaragoza is a pioneer city in the creation of a citizen card. This service started in 2010 and nowadays has more than 225.000 cards in service, in a city of less than 700.000 people. Over 20 services are integrated in the card being pioneer at European level, and the amount being increased year by year. More than 1.100.000 economic transactions are registered each month. This tool implies powerful features as it is a mobile “sensor” that provides a huge amount of data about citizens and about the use of the public services and can be exploited during the project. In addition, Zaragoza Open Data is an initiative of Municipality to promote the use of public information published on its web site by citizens, enterprises or any other entity. This initiative has allowed the proliferation of numerous applications (bus timing, tram, taxis, bike sharing, traffic status, etc.) in recent years.
Botoșani is the capital city of Botosani County, situated in the Northeast of Romania. The municipality is located in the contact area between the high hills on the left of Siretului valley, in the west, and that of the low hills of the Moldavian Plain, which stretches to the east. At the level of Botosani municipality there are four branches (approx. 200 students) for distance education of “Petre Andrei” Universities Iasi, “Danubius” Galați, “Gr. T. Popa” Iași (University Medical College) and “Spiru Haret” Bucharest. They have specialties in the fields of law: law, political science, psychology, finance, accounting, business administration, social assistance, medicine, etc. Botosani is in the stage of SECAP implementation and monitoring, and the next step is to develop the Climate Action Plan to develop a strategy for reducing CO2 emissions with min. 40% by 2030.
The city of Botosani is currently implementing the Community Led Local Development (CLLD) process – a bottom-up local development method to engage local actors in the design and delivery of strategies, decision-making and resource allocation. The main focus of the CLLD process is on the Urban Marginalized Areas, as identified by an atlas elaborated by the World Bank. Moreover, Botosani participates to DI4C (Digital Innovation for Cities), which aims to set up an acceleration mechanism to catch up the digitalisation opportunities in hard and soft infrastructure.
Ptolemaida is a city in Nothern Greece and since 2011 is the capital of municipality of Eordaia, of Kozani Regional Unit of Western Macedonia Region. It is well known for its coal (lignite) mines and its thermal power stations. Prior to 2010 and for approximately 30 years, the city has experienced a spectacular population and economic growth due to the strong presence of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) in the area, which transformed it into an urban center. Due to the decarbonisation policies, existing power plants of installed capacity of approximately 2TWe are about to cease their operation, in the near future. Ptolemaida is the first Municipality of Greece that entered the initiative of Covenant of Mayors in 2008, but the local government approved the Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) in 2016, while a revision of the SEAP was recently prepared in order to include measures of adaptation to climate change. The region of Western Macedonia is one of the four pilot projects within the Platform on Coal Regions in Transition, funding the implementation of projects contributing to gradual transition to meta lignite era.
The Lignite Centre of Western Macedonia of PPC implements numerous environmental management techniques; Up to now 4,500 ha of overburden land has been reclaimed (2,500ha reforestation lands & 2,000 farming lands). Institute of Chemical Processes and Energy Resources of CERTH in collaboration with PPC SA, participates in CC Life 15 / 000125″ Restore desertified areas with an innovative tree growing method across the Mediterranean border to increase resilience” aiming at 90% survival rate for the forest species to be planted, reduction in irrigation costs, improving soil quality, enhancing the ecosystem by preserving and providing information on climate change. Additionally, the city has plans for the bioclimatic regeneration of the Polycentric building square, including planting shrubs and trees, replacement of hard conventional flooring with cold materials, creation of living rooms along the roofed areas, etc. Finally, the municipal authority is planning the installation of a number of sharing electric bike systems, which will be charged by roof PV stations.
Gabrovo is situated in the North Central Region of Bulgaria. It is a pioneer in EE projects and intelligent energy in Bulgaria with experience dating back to 1992. Gabrovo’s long-term vision is imprinted in the phrase “Gabrovo Municipality – Green, Innovative and Effective”. The municipal network for EE EcoEnergy was established in Gabrovo in February 1997, based on the initiative of 23 mayors. Gabrovo Municipality also joined the Covenant of Mayors in 201359 and is a leader in regional development and strategic planning; the municipality is mentoring the new network for sustainable and innovative public procurement (SPPI) in Bulgaria60. The Municipality of Gabrovo became a member of the public-private collaboration initiative ‘Building Efficiency Accelerator’ in the beginning of 2018 and is also a member of the national cluster for electric vehicles.
Gabrovo Municipality is an active member of the municipal network EcoEnergy and also participates in the world campaign „Earth Hour“, organized annually by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Gabrovo Municipality organizes regularly collection of outdated electrical appliances/electronic equipment from households and residents are stimulated by discount vouchers for purchasing of energy saving equipment. The major investment of national and international importance is the construction of the bypass road that will connect Northern with the Southern part of Bulgaria and provide for a transit pass of the Balkan. Under the Operational Program “Regions for Growth 2014-2020”, the Wheel Park and part of the southern inner quarters of the 90th block were reconstructed, including playground, games and picnic areas, outdoor gym, green landscaping and street extensions for waste bins. In the Uzana area an “Eco –academy” is organized, introducing children with nature in an entertaining way.
Severodonetsk is currently a regional center of the Luhansk Oblast, located in the east of Ukraine. Severodonetsk has been involved in the EU / UNDP “Community Based Approach” program since 2016, including environmental and energy policy reforms, while the same year, Severodonetsk and Rubizhne became the winners of the USAID project on Municipal Energy Reform in Ukraine. As part of the project, energy audits of typical buildings in the city were carried out, including schools, department of Labor and Social Welfare, multifamily residential buildings and V. Dahl EUNU. On September 2017, the new Resource Center on Clean Energy was inaugurated aiming to provide advice and assistance in opening new centers related to energy-saving technologies. In October 2018, Severodonetsk City Council presented the Smart City project focusing on i) intelligent city transport infrastructure; ii) provision of green buses; iii) RES provision in every house.
The City Council actively cooperates with institutions of local economic development to provide information, educational, consulting services for business, while a Coordination Council for Entrepreneurship Development was established for developing roadmaps for joint activities. Currently, the USAID DAIERA Small and Heart Entrepreneurship Contest has been announced to provide grant support to entrepreneurs in the fields of alternative energy, IT implementation and vegetable and honey production. As part of its SEAP, the city plans the creation of modern business center and agricultural. For interacting and engaging with citizens, the city has established a city hub, unified system of local petitions61 and a city council webpage with consultations for the public62. Finally, the city envisions the creation of safe islands starting from the already deployment of 10 online video surveillance cameras63 to the creation of a well-lit playground with a powerful video camera and a patrol call button for the police.