The urban transformation gets real: REMOURBAN project meeting marks a turning point from theory to action
After stretching the imagination in search of innovation, analysing solutions and lining up the necessary human, technical and financial support, REMOURBAN is ready to get to work on some serious urban transformation.
The first year of REMOURBAN set a ferocious pace, with no less than 18 major deliverables submitted at the end of year one, December 2015, and a few more to follow since then. Lighthouse and follower cities underwent an extensive ‘city audit’ process to assess the baseline in energy, ICT, mobility, citizen engagement and more, while technical inspiration, definition and strategies were established in smart grids, district heating and intervention sites, amongst others.
Even admidst such a large amount of data collection, analysis and design, things are already on the move at lighthouse cities:
In Nottingham, residents benefit from an energy makeover due to the retrofitting and low temperature district heating; but the internal process and functions of the local authority are making significant progress as well. Their work on innovative “outcome based” public procurement centred on resident requirements and ‘pay as you save’ co-financing instruments are destined to be a highlight for project sharing.
A relative electric vehicle and mobility revolution is underway in Tepebasi, Turkey, with delivery of four new electric buses and 22 new hybrid vehicles as part of a major boost for mobility plans for the city and region. A network of cycle paths and a fleet of 50 e-bikes will shortly give a further boost.
Valladolid is currently making significant efforts to communicate and engage with citizens and residents in order to make their technical definitions come to life for those that matter most - a wise move ahead of substantial works and a stronger foundation for sustainable behaviour. As it has famously been said “buildings don’t use energy, people do!”.
Follower cities Miskolc and Seraing have been shaping, challenging and co-authoring many of the deliverables in order to join the action with their own REMOURBAN-inspired plans shortly. Although, the project calendar and technical apprenticeship is not stopping either, both cities are forging ahead with significant plans for urban transformation: Seraing has recently finalised a major new central boulevard and Miskolc is currently building on its Integrated Territorial Programme in order to devise an ambitious long term smart city strategy.
Across the board, everyone has been working on turning data into information for local authorities, partners and citizens, with an open source platform lead by Xeridia and ICT partners in each city, and in December 2015, every city of the project submitted the first iterations of their citizen engagement strategies.
Sharing is caring: accelerating replication
REMOURBAN’s ultimate goal is to inspire others to act with confidence, finance without fear and create a pleasant urban environment for people and the planet. In this respect, the first months of the project have also set a targeted ‘dissemination cascade’ approach which was reviewed during the meeting:
Seraing led a significant piece of work to characterise and analyse 41 additional cities which are most likely to benefit from the REMOURBAN model, partner Steinbeis kicked off the exploitation, IPR and market analysis initiatives and youris.com are contributing to a favourable environment for smart city success, both locally and at a European level, with an ambitious dissemination and communication campaign.
Understanding how cities work, what their needs are, commercial and academic exploitation and carefully crafted text, video and social media will all have their role in achieving the far-reaching economic, environmental and societal benefits which the project desires. In this respect, the meeting was also complemented by the first session with the Advisory Council – a real world and connectivity sounding board for REMOURBAN solutions.
The next block of work for REMORUBAN is 18 months of hard work and possible scenarios of unfavorable realistic situations. One thing is sure; the consortium feels well prepared and inspired to meet expectations after a highly productive start.