Smart city projects are crucial to the transition towards a low carbon economy in Europe. In that sense, it is of importance to identify the factors of their success as well as their weaknesses to improve the conditions of their implementation and guarantee more efficient results.
In view of providing guidance and support for future Smart City projects, experts from EURAC, from the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences of Iceland and from ENEA, analysed the experiences of over one hundred Smart City projects in Europe in the framework of a feasibility study entitled “Smart City Projects Implementation in Europe: Assessment of Barriers and Drivers”. This study was conducted within the SINFONIA project and integrated in the Deliverable D2.1. Additionally, a summary of the study has been published in the “International Journal of contemporary energy”.
Public participation: a key factor of success
As part of this study, researchers distributed questionnaires and organised multiple interviews with Smart City experts from completed and ongoing projects in view of better understanding the factors influencing the implementation of Smart City initiatives in Europe. The results of the study showed that public participation was identified both as the most important strength and the most impactful weakness. Additionally, communication between the project participants and the public also appears to be decisive for the success of Smart City projects, meaning that “any measure that improves public participation or involvement in the project will likely facilitate project implementation”.
On the contrary, the weakness that is the most affecting Smart City projects is related to the lack of expertise in designing new technologies. In addition to this weakness, experts noted that the biggest threats to the implementation of smart city projects were linked to the ownership structures of the buildings to be refurbished as well as to the lack of subsidies. However, several conditions such as environmental awareness, the presence of affordable and mature technologies and long-term political commitment can influence positively the implementation of Smart City projects in Europe.
The gathering of information and experience on completed Smart City projects will greatly influence the success of future project’s implementation. In that sense, the SINFONIA study will provide useful decision support tools to policy makers and experts willing to carry out an innovative project in their city.
For more information on the study, you can download the deliverable D2.2 or click here to read the article summarising the results.