Empowering Smart Cities – Approaches to Action for European Networking (#vernetztinEuropa)

The European Green Deal and the Digital Europe Programme will play a central role in the implementation of European regulations and the design of funding instruments in the coming years. This requires a European exchange of institutional stakeholders and municipalities on how the digital transformation can help achieve the goals of sustainable, integrated and common good-oriented urban development at European and national level.

The project addresses the pronounced need for the structured bundling of “digital transformation and urban development” processes and for supporting the participation of (small and medium-sized) municipalities in European networks, including projects and initiatives on digital transformation. Networking not only provides municipalities with knowledge transfer on innovative and best practices beyond their borders, but also facilitates resilient partnerships, collegial advice and opportunities for expert-centred exchange on replicable projects. To this end, the project systematically explores and supports municipalities’ participation in European networks, projects and initiatives.

Core activities in the project are the qualification and empowerment of German and European municipalities for networking. With this aim in mind, the project team provides the municipalities with practical instruments, peer-based learning and specialist workshops to build and consolidate their own networking activities. At the same time, the project develops national and European networks on digitisation and urban development and promotes networking between the ministries responsible for urban development and digitisation, as well as institutional stakeholders at EU level and established networks and initiatives.

At the core of the project are the information, training and empowerment of German municipalities for European networking. To this end, cities will be provided with practical instruments and knowledge in the form of peer learning and specialist workshops in order to promote and consolidate their own activities in networks in the short and long term. At the same time, structures for exchange on digitalisation and urban development are being established at national level, as there is considerable potential for knowledge transfer here. This potential is to be tapped in regular workshops through a structured exchange by promoting networking between the ministries responsible for urban development and digitisation as well as institutional actors at EU level and established networks and initiatives.

The Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) provides support for the project. #vernetztinEuropa runs until December 2024 and is being contracted by adelphi, the German Institute of Urban Affairs (difu) and Steinbeis 2i GmbH.

Benno Keppner