Lighthouse smart cities conference celebrates GrowSmarter success

lighthouse smart cities
© iStock/ horstgerlach

The GrowSmarter sustainable smart cities initiative has brought together its three ‘Lighthouse Cities’ in a conference aimed at assessing the impact of the scheme.

The GrowSmarter project was established in 2015 with the goal of demonstrating the ways in which smart city solutions can improve urban sustainability while improving living conditions for city residents. Barcelona in Spain, Cologne in Germany and Stockholm in Sweden were designated as Lighthouse Cities, acting as urban laboratories where GrowSmarter’s 12 key smart city innovations for energy, infrastructure and transport could be tested and developed ahead of Europe-wide implementation.

Anna König Jerlmyr, Mayor of Stockholm, said: “It is about cities growing in sustainable ways, but it is also about putting the citizen in focus. The citizen [comes] first. Our job as politicians is to do this and to create the conditions for co-creation together with organisations in society, and to do almost impossible things together.”

The Lighthouse Cities reported marked improvements in energy efficiency, mobility and infrastructure as a result of implementing GrowSmarter’s innovations: in total 130,000m2 in building stock has been renovated with smart, energy efficient technologies; while the cities have collectively seen CO2 reductions in these buildings of between 30% and 70%. An extensive range of sustainable mobility options have been fully implemented; and cities have seen widespread Internet of Things connections.

Mayor of Cologne Dr Ralf Heinen said: “The best result of all is knowing that changing to climate friendly districts is possible. We will therefore continue this process on our way to becoming a smart city and use the GrowSmarter project as a blueprint and guideline for sustainable city planning.”

Miquel Rodriguez Planas, Barcelona’s Commissioner for the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda, said: “GrowSmarter has the solutions, because it has shown we are able to overcome the environmental challenges with economic sustainable solutions, while also being socially responsible. That is what both GrowSmarter and the 2030 Agenda are about.”

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