Last February, the flagship project Remourban was launched in Valladolid. This was an acknowledgement and a turning point in its sustainable growth pathway towards the goals established in Europe 2020.
The main goal of the project -in which around 15.000 European citizens and 22 partners belonging to seven countries will participate, which has been allocated nearly 24 million euros and is expected to last for five years- is to introduce an urban regeneration model from a comprehensive, sustainable point of view. The model is to be focused on energy efficiency, transport and ICT. Funded by the European Programme Horizon 2020 in the Smart Cities area, Valladolid is the only city in Spain to lead an European project of this kind.
Within the smart city philosophy, our view is based on city intelligence. From the very beginning, this focused on three key points:
- We believe that we should attempt specialization instead of being all-encompassing. Thus, public partner partnerships and working as a network become essential.
- We believe more in the ends (making life easier for citizens) than in the means (the widespread deployment of technology), as well as in innovative small solutions to day-to-day problems.
- We focus on technology not being an obstacle but a tool, an element that fosters communication and relationships with citizens.
We specialized in electric mobility and energy efficiency. Electromobility is now regarded as a path towards sustainability and towards achieving the agreed upon goals on emission reduction and a low-carbon economy. We never stopped leading projects, such as the pilot project Recarga VyP (34 filling stations in the city) and the estrategia eMovilidad 2012-2015, which provides fiscal benefits and parking advantages (among other positive discrimination measures) along with support to fleets and and last mile projects in urban transport of goods.
In December 2014 the Valladolid City Council passed a pioneering Programa de Vehículos Limpios (“Clean Vehicles Programme”) in Spain, coordinated along the Plan Integral de Movilidad Urbana de Valladolid (“Comprehensive Plan for Urban Mobility in Valladolid”) and the Remourban flagship project. Out of a total of 7,7 million euros invested in Valladolid, nearly 3 millions will be devoted to sustainable transport and 50 electric vehicles will be made available in the city.
In terms of making buildings more energy-efficient -besides the permanent development of Áreas de Rehabilitación Integral (“Integral Rehabilitation Areas”)- two projects were already funded by European Union funds: R2CITIES -which focuses on reducing CO2 emissions, thermal consumption and power supply consumption of a housing area (81.000 m2, 550 residents- and the CommONEnergy, a model for energy efficiency in shopping malls all over Europe, which will turn the Mercado del Val in our city into the great market in the 21st century. This will be a wonderful example of how shopping and historic and cultural heritage may beautifully complement one another. The Remourban flagship project will make it possible for us to apply new solutions in the FASA-Renault residential district, which includes 24.000 m2, 398 residential units and 1.100 residents.
Besides, managing a city also involves making it special and attracting tourists. Two of the flagship interventions in this area were highly regarded and are also related to energy efficiency: the Plaza del Milenio (“Millennium Square”) and the Ríos de Luz (“Rivers of Light”) route.
We believe in working in cooperation, in networking. We are the permanent offices of the Red Española de Ciudades Inteligentes (“Spanish Network of Smart Cities”). We also participate, always in a proactive manner, in the Comité de Normalización 178 (“Committee for Standardization 178”) by the Ministry of Industry, in cross-border cooperation with the Cencyl Network for Spanish and Portuguese cities and with the Hannover metropolitan area by fostering electric mobility.
But as I said before, being a Smart City is mostly a matter of improving the life of citizens, making life easier for them by providing daily life solutions such as the Blue Parking pilot project, an innovative project and a great example of a public-private partnership with the local sector. Or else the new application for cell phones, Valladolid en tu mano (“Valladolid in your Hands”), which promotes smooth, bidirectional communication with public administrations.
The Valladolid City Council makes public infrastructure available to innovative companies and local technological centres, as if they were a huge laboratory in which new technologies applied to public services may be tested. Besides, we are involved in innovative public procurement as a way to foster such business initiatives. Apart from that, we brought forward the launching of our Portal de Transparencia (“Transparency Portal”) by almost a year.
As for the final aspect a city requires to be a truly Smart City (technology not being an obstacle) we focus on citizen engagement and preventing massive technology use from becoming a threat towards digital divide. In order to do so, we count on the Escuela de Participación Ciudadana (“Citizen Engagement School”) and the Centro Municipal de Difusión Tecnológica (“Municipal Centre for Technology Diffusion”) which makes it possible to access (among other aspects) our Administración Electrónica (“Electronic Administration”), a top-notch administration in terms of digital services for citizens. Plans to create a new location for Citizen Service are already under way.
In order to make the most of the possibilities offered by both Horizon 2020 and the ERDF Funds, we are drawing up a comprehensive strategy for sustainable urban development in Valladolid: INNOLID 2020. The strategy will devote particular attention to a Social Innovation Global Programme for Inclusion.
In short, Valladolid is involved in city intelligence, which includes the following aspects: specialization, communication, transparency and citizen engagement and the small steps taken to improve citizen’s life. We are quite well positioned, we are capable of providing a real meaning to expressions such as “Smart City” and “innovation”, with tangible benefits for citizens and for our local business networks. This is, and should be, our real challenge for the present and the future.
Francisco Javier León de la Riva
Mayor of Valladolid