Smart City EU Studie Webnews

New EU study “Social approach to the transition to smart cities” published

News from Feb. 24, 2023

What opportunities and challenges does the transition to a Smart City bring for the city and its inhabitants? FOKUS scientists, together with other authors, were involved in a study by the Research Service of the European Parliament, which addresses this question, analyzes existing application scenarios, and proposes future solutions for EU policy.

The transformation of urban structures to smart, digital solutions has been greatly accelerated in the near past by factors such as the energy revolution and advances in digitalization of public infrastructures, driven by the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study is to identify the key impacts of the transformation process to a Smart City on the city itself, its inhabitants and specific infrastructures. Based on research on 25 different use cases in the economic, environmental, ethical, political/legal, social, and technological domains, the team of authors identified the key challenges of a Smart City transformation. Additionally, specific effects were also observed in relation to different demographic groups and regions.

Smart Cities are dynamic and complex constructs, and have differences at the local level that must be considered in an generalized analysis. Therefore, to provide a comparable framework for the analysis, five "smart" components were identified: Everyday Life, Digital Government and e-Citizens, Mobility, Environment, and Economy. For each component, a number of specific applications or use cases were subsequently explored. In addition, existing best practices in European cities, and their success in dealing with the requirements of a Smart City, were examined.

In the conclusion, the team of authors presents six possible approaches for future policy design at the EU level, based on current EU law and existing Smart City initiatives, which should promote a more efficient and equally socially acceptable transition to a Smart City.

The participating experts from Fraunhofer FOKUS, Nikolay Tcholtchev and Phillip Lämmel contributed their long-standing expertise in the field of smart cities and quality assurance of urban information and communication technologies. The study was initiated by the Panel on the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and led by the Scientific Foresight Unit within the Directorate General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament.