Yesterday, ICC City Lab attendees engaged in a series of sessions designed to provide more detailed insights into ICC’s thematic approach. Mentor-participant discussions covered advice on intelligent city journeys and examples of successfully scaled thematic solutions. Through a combination of tailored advice and discussion, participant cities discovered effective community building methods from the ICC mentor cities.

Natalia Gkiaouri, policy assistant at the European Commission’s DG GROW, opened the third day of the City Lab. Her welcome remarks were followed by a summary of the participants’ main takeaways from the first days of the City Lab, provided by Morten Rasmussen from Technopolis Group, the advisory service coordinator:

  • importance of citizen participation
  • the relevance of moving from strategy to action
  • importance of collaboration
  • learnings related to advanced and digital technologies

Participant cities were then introduced to a scalable thematic solutions session with presentations by EU and international mentor cities Aarhus (Denmark), Antwerp (Belgium), Hamburg (Germany), Medellín (Colombia), Nice (France), Porto (Portugal). The talks covered actions, results, transferability, future cooperation, and advice. The goal was for the seven speakers to share solutions they have managed to scale in their cities, in order to offer inspiration and guidance to cities embracing similar challenges. Canvassing direct and indirect actions, and their respective results, cities obtained knowledge regarding the expansion of the green economy, citizen participation and business transformation by drawing on the past experiences of mentor cities. For instance, Sebastian Bonding, Business Developer from Aarhus, presented a green smart city project he initiated to make Aarhus CO2-neutral by 2030. Alain Chateau, Smart City Project Director in Nice, talked about his city’s environmental ambitions, and its energy transition to promote a more sustainable growth.

The second part of the day was marked by expert talks covering the ICC’s transversal services: marketplace, open data, access to finance, and innovative public procurements. Experts presented each transversal service and encouraged discussions among participants. After the presentations, the city representatives had some time to network and engage with lead experts to zoom in on their thematic interests. In these talks, cities were able to evaluate and offer important reflections on their experiences so far, and ICC experts were able to observe the progress cities have already made on their ICC journey towards a greener future.

The final session of the day was reserved for identifying key learnings. It also gave the participants a chance to provide real-time feedback. Overall, the participants were particularly inspired by the open data and the access to finance sessions and they expressed their interest in following up with the international city mentors to exchange best practices and discuss in more detail about the challenges they faced. “There are many potential solutions, but its time-consuming to source them and change them to fit your needs. This is something your lead experts and mentor cities can help you with, so reach out to them,” John Higgins, the ICC City Lab’s moderator concluded.

Every day, our cities grow more prepared to jumpstart their digital transformation. Today, they will learn how to mobilise local economies through transversal services and how to overcome common challenges in their ICC journey towards a greener, more sustainable future.