European smart cities programme hits €250 million investment milestone

9th February 2021 Sarah Wray

London and five European partner cities have triggered investment of €250 million (US$302.8 million) in smart technologies through the Sharing Cities programme, newly released figures show.

Launched in 2016, the Sharing Cities project brings together 34 partners from across government, industry and academia to test and scale the use of smart technology and data to address urban challenges and support the shift to low carbon transport and buildings.

London, Lisbon and Milan are lighthouse cities which have implemented digital solutions such as retrofitted buildings, shared electric mobility services, energy management systems, smart lamp posts and data-sharing platforms. Bordeaux, Burgas and Warsaw are fellow cities which replicate solutions.

As well as proving technology for societal outcomes, the programme also seeks to ensure scale and longevity through exploring smart city business models and financing options.

Sharing Cities draws on €24.5 million in funding from the EU Horizon 2020 Smart Cities and Communities programme and has a target to reach €500 million in investment by the end of 2021. Ten low-carbon technology solutions have already hit 50 percent of their target investment from a mix of public and private funds.

The investment figures have recently been validated by the project stakeholders and partners and communicated to European Commission Directorates, a spokesperson for Sharing Cities told Cities Today.

Investment draws

The investment has come from a mix of public and private funds across all six cities, including city, regional or national government funds, as well as grants from other organisations including the European Union, and public-private partnerships.

The majority of investments cover the built environment including building retrofits (around €200 million captured, or about 80 percent of the total); mobility measures (around €45 million/18 percent); and urban data platforms (€5 million).

Burgas has captured the largest investment with around €175 million. This is mostly in building retrofits but the city continues to broaden its portfolio of plans to include most of the Sharing Cities measures.

Warsaw is prioritising investment in upgrading the city’s parking facilities, including over €800,000 towards its ‘Park & Ride’ car park scheme designed to boost the use of e-mobility and reduce congestion. This concept combines renewable power management with green infrastructure and will be deployed in 16 locations across the city.

Lisbon has already captured €40 million of investment towards its e-mobility fleet of e-bikes, e-cars and e-scooters.

Fellow lighthouse cities Milan and London say they also plan to continue to roll out Sharing Cities solutions.

London’s Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell, commented: “London is working closely with European cities to build workable business models for smart technologies. We’ve shown that these technologies are a growing part of the green transition, a top priority for cities and governments across the world as they plan the recovery of our economies. London is proud to be a global testbed for the kinds of partnerships and innovations which are attractive to investors, scalable and designed to meet people’s needs.”

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