The transition towards a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy is gathering momentum, thanks to various EU-funded initiatives implemented in urban areas.
Efforts to make smart urban transformation a reality are bearing fruit in several European countries, including the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. The EU-funded Triangulum, one of the 14 European Smart Cities and Communities lighthouse projects, has been sharing the results of its suite of solutions for developing zero- and low-energy districts, integrated infrastructures and sustainable urban mobility. Selected districts in the lighthouse cities of Eindhoven, Stavanger and Manchester that have served as living labs made the case for developing a European-led market of integrated smart city solutions and products. These cities developed individual approaches reflecting their specific local circumstances, with replication potential in Triangulum’s follower cities of Prague, Sabadell and Leipzig. The follower cities have been setting up their own smart city implementation plans in collaboration with the lighthouse cities, creating a ripple effect beyond Europe. For example, the city of Tianjin in China is participating in the Triangulum project as an observer city.
Blueprint for smart cities
A news item on the ‘Intelligent Transport’ website reports that the results of the Manchester pilot will be utilised “to develop smart city quarters in other cities around the world.” Quoted in the same news item, Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens in the United Kingdom, says: “Triangulum has shown a blueprint for low-carbon, cost-efficient smart cities. … Now to meet the carbon neutrality targets set by many cities around the world – these projects need to be rolled out at city and regionally-wide scale to have a significant impact on energy consumption and carbon emissions.” A press release by project partner Siemens explains how Manchester focused on the issues of ICT, mobility and energy. “Manchester City Council - the lead organisation of Triangulum in Manchester, The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University – partnered with Siemens as the technical partner to investigate how to balance energy consumption and demand, reduce costs and carbon emissions and increase the use of renewable energy along the city’s Oxford Road Corridor.”
The Triangulum (Triangulum: The Three Point Project / Demonstrate. Disseminate. Replicate.) project recently published a joint policy paper together with GrowSmarter and REMOURBAN, also part of the Smart Cities and Communities lighthouse projects. The policy paper summarises the joint impact of GrowSmarter, REMOURBAN and Triangulum. “228 067 sqm have been retrofitted in the 9 cities involved, leading to more than 16 GWh/yr of energy savings and more than 7000 tons of CO2e avoided.” The policy paper adds that 194 alternative-fuelled buses, vehicles and bicycles have been deployed for transport and delivery of goods and services. It also says that “9 urban platforms have been deployed, including services as: energy and mobility games, energy and mobility maps, car and bike-sharing apps and retrofitting and urban planning tools.” The number of people who have directly benefited from the initiatives of the three projects amount to 52 000, as stated in the policy paper. It also notes that collectively, these projects have helped “to create more sustainable environments in the partner cities, which are now recognised as frontrunners in urban transformation for achieving the EU Sustainable Development Goals.”