Connecting digital, physical, natural and social solutions for cities

Challenge description

Innovation in cities is systemic by nature. Therefore innovative urban solutions happen at the intersection of built form, public space, urban mobility, energy usage, ICT, nature-based solutions, social innovation and new governance structures, while involving many different stakeholders. This co-design session explored ways to connect smart and sustainable city initiatives in a closer, interactive way.

How can urban sensor networks and smart mobility inform urban nature? How can urban wetlands and smart parks inform urban energy usage and urban big data? How can we think broadly about fluid urban interfaces – biosensors, drones, new technologies? What new policies or policy changes are necessary to allow for these innovations to happen in cities? How can these new interactions be introduced in urban policy without a disruptive process? What space needs to be provided to let the digital, physical, natural and social worlds blend in urban areas?

Workshop results

The current policy practices do not support new configurations and interactions between different disciplines and economic and societal actors. We need new policies to allow for these innovations to happen in cities. Both on a regional and local level as on the level of EU policies and instruments. The participants identified the need for an urban policy transformation lab: a third space where EU policy officers and all relevant urban stakeholders could meet in a labsetting in order to identify new areas for innovation in cities. The kick-starter of this intention is to hold a systemic urban innovation lab-session.

Next steps

We are organising a lab session bringing together European Commission Urban Policy Officers, city-makers and innovators, city organisations, and other urban stakeholders from multiple cities across Europe, to discuss the development of this urban policy transformation lab. The objective is to understand what should be the key functions and features of a multi-level 3rd space in which EU policy officers and all relevant urban stakeholders could work on urban challenges and identify new areas for research and innovation in cities.