SMURBS accepted the invitation to attend the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) General Assembly (GA) 2019 during 16-17 May, in Brussels.
EIP-SCC is a major market-changing undertaking supported by the European Commission bringing together cities, industries, SMEs, investors, researchers and other smart city actors. It was one of the key liaison target of SMURBS, from early on, as it constitutes one of the few pan-european smart city undertakings, a bridge of sorts, opening the way for smaller initiatives to reach a Europe-wide audience, commercially and otherwise. On the other hand, SMURBS brings together two, currently relatively independent domains, Earth Observation (EO) and Smart City, therefore aspires to partly act as the “EO ambassador” in its liaison with the EIP-SCC. The linkage between the two materialized through the Space4Cities Initiative lead by EURISY.
During the GA, SMURBS had the opportunity to experience the European state-of-play of Smart Cities. The importance of scaling up in order to substantially achieve an impact to the lives of citizens but also to create commercial opportunities. The shift of paradigm that is needed from industry lead solutions, to people centric ones, towards a social smart transformation. It also partook in novel and dynamic concepts such as the “City of Europe” and “Small Giant Cities” and the upcoming city oriented Mission in Horizon Europe.
The main interaction of SMURBS took place during the Space4Cities Shape table discussion. There, SMURBS presented a more wide definition of Earth Observation, beyond satellites that was the main topic of the table. It also showcased successful examples of EO-powered solutions, adopting Smart City aspects, that help cities today in diverse themes, ranging from urban heat island management, to floods and air quality. The table reached a clear consensus. The Earth Observation city potential and assets are there. The question is how to really reach the cities and how to convince them to tap this unambiguous potential. Showcasing benefits, curating the solutions available, using the right language (as in the “10 things you didn’t know you should look to Space to solve for your City” Editorial that SMURBS co-wrote).