Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum shares results of European projects
Cities play an important role in protecting the environment. They are centers and drivers of innovation, partly because they have every potential to bring the representatives of key interest groups around the same table. In recent years, more and more European projects referring to innovative urban models have been set up and promoted as “smart cities” and thanks to European funding, some successful solutions have been developed. Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum has already been involved in a variety of EU and smart city projects for a number of years and is keen on sharing its results, so they can be used by other cities and made available to the market.
The sustainable development of urban areas requires innovative, efficient, and user-friendly technologies and services, especially in the fields of energy, transport, and information and communication technology (ICT). Cities have a variety of challenges to address such as to meet economic, political, societal, energy-related, and environmental requirements. These include integrated planning, monitoring and communication with all of the stakeholders involved, in ways that match the given objectives. These parties include municipal representatives, urban planners, architects, energy providers, energy consultants, construction companies, investors, business enterprises, homeowners, and tenants. Steinbeis- Europa-Zentrum works with European cities on strategy planning, strategy implementation, and the exploitation and dissemination of any solutions that are developed. It does this to ensure that other cities derive benefit from these projects.
Smart City Lighthouse projects were set up by the EU based, among others, on the principle of creating “observer cities.” These cities track developments in lighthouse cities before applying solutions to their own local issues. One example is a project called REMOURBAN, in which 22 project partners are working together on the development and assessment of a regeneration model for accelerating the smart urban transformation thanks to the lighthouse cities of Valladolid (Spain), Nottingham (UK), and Tepebasi/Eskisehir (Turkey). Two observer cities, Seraing in Belgium and Miskolc in Hungary, will then use the project results for plans in their own cities. Dovetailing energy, mobility solutions, and ICT should help significantly accelerate the use of innovative technologies, promoting not only processes but also commercial solutions aimed at improving resource and energy efficiency. A number of efficient heating and air-conditioning solutions will be introduced in urban areas. A significant proportion of private journeys should be replaced by travel on public transportation by introducing smart grid solutions or traffic management systems. Urban renewal revolves around people, since they are the key to developing smart cities and of course they are the primary beneficiaries of improvements. Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum’s role in the REMOURBAN project is to identify the replicability potential for other cities and to draft market introduction strategies in Europe. For example, the Steinbeis experts have identified major market potential for the new urban regeneration model. It offers guidelines and help with selecting the optimum business model, technologies, and related instruments. The target markets for the new ICT platform are local and regional authorities and public authorities. The platform offers information tools for energy, operational infrastructure, waste management and sustainable transport solutions combined with integrated infrastructure, and such it makes it possible to create sustainable cities and develop efficient services. Finally, there is also market potential in low-temperature district heating (LTDH) systems, which are seen as the next generation of district heating solutions. They will make it possible to achieve significant improvements in the energy efficiency of DH systems. One study conducted by the experts found that the system is still being set up in many European countries, but that it is already considered a breakthrough in the UK.
With the project TRIANGULUM, smart city methods are being applied, tested, and evaluated in flagship cities like Manchester (UK), Eindhoven (Netherlands), and Stavanger (Norway). In parallel to this, city concepts being used in the observer cities of Leipzig (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic), and Sabadell (Spain) are being analyzed. The project is being coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO) and project partners, which include SEZ. On the basis of insights gained to date, the various parties have now drafted guidelines for future urban development projects. These include recommendations for the observer cities; this makes it possible for smaller cities such as Sabadell in Spain to take part. Another EU project run by the CITyFiED consortium has resulted in the development of a systematic model for renovating urban areas, making it possible for other cities to plan and implement their own projects. Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum has also conducted a survey in the city of Ludwigshafen on the Rhine and the metropolitan region Rhine-Neckar, with the aim of examining difficulties of a less technical nature. Aside from financial impediments, other identified difficulties include organizational, legal, social, and cultural issues. The city of Ludwigshafen has found some successful ways to refurbish urban areas. For example, a coordinated energy contract has been agreed between a residential real estate developer and an energy provider. Aside from Ludwigshafen and the metropolitan region Rhine-Neckar, Steinbeis-Europa- Zentrum has also successfully introduced the city of Ludwigsburg to the CITyFiED cluster. The cities are now involved in know-how transfer across Europe, sharing their own expertise with others.