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Smart and Green — on the spot in Visegrad cities

Aiming for smart city innovations with green components in the Visegrad countries

Urban progress and development: the aim of any city globally. Within the Visegrad countries — namely, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia — it is no different. Nevertheless, while the urban areas in this region are rapidly changing, the Visegrad countries have been facing enormous challenges in keeping up with the growing challenges posed by pursuing to do so in sustainable patterns. In other words, to reach that aforementioned urban progress and development in the line of smart city innovations with green components — which are also a priority in the Urban Agenda for the EU.

The ‘Smart and Green — On the spot in Visegrad cities’ project, funded by the International Visegrad Fund (IVF), aims to tackle the existing problem — namely, that while city administrations and decision makers are aware of the existing new technologies, in many cases these solutions cannot be implemented due to legislative and other practical and regulatory barriers in the cities. In the practical aspect, the correlated knowledge pertaining the potential solutions is missing and it is thus necessary to address this gap and extend the existing knowledge — both theoretical and practical — to the corresponding stakeholders from the Visegrad region.

Background

Three quarters of EU citizens live in urban areas, a number projected to further grow in the near future. In the Visegrad region, that average and projection are not so far away from a match up. In Hungary and the Czech Republic, 70 percent of the population live in cities, while in Poland and Slovakia the figure reaches 60,2 and 54,4 percent, respectively. And with the foreseen population growth, less and less space will be available for nature. In this line, Smart Cities are a necessity to balance this scenario and aid both people and nature to achieving a sustainable living urban environment.

Smart Cities use technology to meet citizens’ needs and improve the efficiency of urban services. It is a concept that was developed in order to tackle modern challenges in urban settings. In search of more sustainable solutions to these challenges, an increasing number of cities are turning to solutions that are inspired by, supported by or copied from nature. Nevertheless, a smart city is not only a city that develops its information and communication technology, but combines these with green, nature-based solutions, thus turning environmental, economic and social challenges into innovation opportunities, not letting cities turn ‘grey.’

The Smart and Green project comes as a follow up action from the ‘Smart and Green — The future of Visegrad cities’ project, also funded by the IVF and carried upon on 2017 by CEEweb for Biodiversity (Hungary), the Czech Landscape Gardening Association (Czech Republic), the Polish Green Roof Association (Poland) and the Association for Garden Design and Landscaping (Slovakia). Within that project, the consortium of participating institutions analysed and collected a total 16 best practice cases from the four Visegrad countries, publishing a report on the concept of smart city innovations with green components and the 16 exemplary cases.

Aim

FullCapacity solar bench with a Wi-Fi hotspot and charging sockets in Litoměřice, Czech Republic. (Source: The City of Litoměřice)

The Smart and Green — on the spot in Visegrad cities project will carry on a series of visits to four cities — one out of each Visegrad country — to showcase some of their most exemplary cases discovered in the predecessor project. It will, thus, invite decision makers and city administration representatives from the Visegrad area to visit and learn about smart and green innovations on the spot in Budapest (Hungary), Nitra (Slovakia), Litoměřice (Czech Republic) and Wrocław (Poland), in order to give floor for them to directly discuss these cases, their own urban contexts and, furthermore, spread the word of the good examples from the neighbouring countries. The study visits, even more, will not only feature smart solutions which are based on information and communications technology (ICT), but combine those with green-blue infrastructure nature-based solutions.

What practices will be showcased?

Each city visit will showcase the following thematic cases:

  • On 5 March 2019, Budapest, Hungary, will serve to revise successful examples of water and wastewater management;
  • On 7 March 2019, Nitra, Slovakia, will allow for participants to get acquainted with smart city mobility systems and green infrastructure;
  • On 14 March 2019, Litoměřice, Czech Republic, will give place to experience the city’s approach on energy management; and
  • On 15 March 2019, Wrocław, Poland, will serve to analyse the city’s approach to alternative urban greenery with green roofs and living walls.