SMURBS/ERA-PLANET Newsletter
  ISSUE #2, September 2018

Editorial

SMURBS, launched on September 2017, under the ERA-NET-Cofund Grant agreement No: 689443, traverses now its 13th month of life. During this time, the work carried out focuses on the collection of user needs from the real world, and the setup of a concrete methodology to address these needs through the project, taking into account existing initiatives and capacities, the legal frame at the local, national and European level, and existing gaps. We managed to get onboard 87 stakeholders from more than 30 cities and 17 countries! 
Via Newsletter #2 you meet the opportunity to get informed about our abundant actions taken so far, with emphasis on communication-dissemination activities and research highlights. In the meantime, we are intensively preparing for SMURBS’ Annual Meeting (to be held in Athens on 9-10 October 2018), which is considered milestone as Portfolio precursor solutions/applications and City Dossiers will be presented and decided upon, to drive the next implementation phases of the project.Stay tuned and check our website for more news and results.

 

Best regards,
Evangelos Gerasopoulos
Research Director at the National Observatory of Athens, Greece
SMURBS/ ERA-PLANET Project Coordinator

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 Nanjing meets Athens (17 July 2018), the SMURBS smart city

network is under construction!
Leading scientists from the University of Nanjing and a group of 20 students, during their tour in European sites and research/academic entities, visited the central premises of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA), at the heart of the city.
Nanjing is a follower city of the SMURBS network, interested in Air Quality research and applied solutions, due to the already established collaboration between the Universities of Nanjing and Helsinki (UHEL), the latter being one of the 19 European SMURBS partners.
During the visit, the Nanjing University scientists and students had the opportunity to get introduced to the SMURBS/ERA-PLANET project, the atmospheric composition monitoring activities of NOA, while they were also offered a guided tour to the Museum of Geoastrophysics, atmospheric aerosol supersite and Dorides telescope, all situated in the central premises of NOA.
There were lively discussions with the students, who expressed a great interest in the forthcoming “smart city” activities of SMURBS. The exchange of interesting scientific views between the experts is the kickoff of a strong collaboration between the two Organizations, through SMURBS.
SMURBS has now its own partner profile in SciTech Europa

Quarterly Magazine! 
After the successful collaboration between SMURBS and SciΤech Europa Quarterly Magazine (see article), as of July 10th, SMURBS has now its own partner profile in the magazine!

@ Pan European Networks 2018
SMURBS was hosted on SciTech Europa Quarterly Magazine,

Junes' edition
SMURBS project was hosted on the SciΤech Europa Quarterly Magazine, June’s edition! 
Τhe purpose of the article published was to broaden the smart city concept that SMURBS serves. You may navigate through its interesting articles by clicking here, or you may download SMURBS’s tribute here.


Reproduced by kind permission of Pan European Networks Ltd, www.scitecheuropa.eu
© Pan European Networks 2018
SMURBS online stakeholder survey completion
The purpose of this survey was to gather the needs and wants of the potential users of the SMURBS portfolio of Smart Urban Solutions for air quality, disasters and city growth and engage them early on. The valuable input contributes to the design and ultimately the creation of more efficient and tailored tools for our cities, integrating two domains: Earth Observation and Smart City.
The participation was great, with 87 stakeholders from more than 30 cities- 17 countries. 
We are confident for the future of the smart city approaches SMURBS promotes, since 89.6% of the respondents replied that  such approaches will certainly be of great support to tackle major environmental pressures at the urban scale.
SMURBS events
SMURBS SMEs engagement workshop
As part of SMUBS engagement with the EO industry, local meetings/workshops are organized to exchange views on the current capacities/activities of the private sector, in the domain of EO and smart cities and within the fields covered by the project.
The 1st event was organized in Athens, on 18 September 2018, as a back-to-back meeting during the kick-off of the national funded project EMISSION. The technological solutions promoted by EMISSION (consortium comprised mainly of SMEs) in the field of air quality and their relevance to SMURBS implementation were thoroughly discussed. Collaboration options and multi-level links and complementary activities were inquired and most importantly interoperability aspects were set on the table to enable and facilitate use of common standards (i.e. infrastructure, platforms, telecommunication, indicators) and future merging of capacities and outcomes.
ERA-PLANET Annual Meeting 
SMURBS participated in the ERA-PLANET Annual Meeting (1st year) on 11 September 2018, in Geneva. The meeting was hosted by the University of Geneva as back-to-back to the EuroGEOSS Workshop (12-14 September).
After a short introduction by the ERA-PLANET’s coordinator on the major achievements and horizontal issues, each project coordinator described the individual progress of their project.
Following, partners of SMURBS delivered the major achievements of the 1st year of implementation that included, inter alia, the collection of user needs (presentation by Volker Matthias – HZG), the inventory on what is out there in the domain of smart city EO projects, a thorough gap analysis on what is missing and should be prioritized (presentation by Petros Patias – AUTH). More information can be found in the relevant deliverables.
SMURBS also presented its two major current undertakings that will drive the first quarter of year 2, i.e. the Portfolio Precursor and the compilation of the City Dossiers for the pilot cities of SMURBS (presentation by David Kocman – JSI).
SMURBS 1st Citizen Workshop
SMURBS organized its 1st citizen workshop hosted by Navarino Environmental Observatory in the pilot city of Kalamata, during April’s scientific café, 16 April 2018. More than 40 citizens participated in the event, sharing their needs and smart ideas, over a hot cup of coffee!
The coordinator delineated the main goals of SMURBS and the concept of integrating state-of-the-art Earth Observation methods with smart-city methods. He highlighted some major findings concerning user needs at the time of the Workshop and urged participants to step up, and offer their own ideas and of course giving emphasis on the local issues and particularities.
The discussion reaffirmed many of the user needs findings, further reinforcing this early but necessary activity of SMURBS and the level of engagement was more than satisfactory, as the citizen observatories activities regarding AQ was decided upon with great zest, in alignment with SMURBS plans for the role of Kalamata as a pilot city.
1st Stakeholder workshop on User Needs
SMURBS successfully organized the 1st Stakeholder workshop on User Needs held in Hamburg Germany,  27-28 March 2018.
Twenty five stakeholders from ten European cities, with affiliations ranging from public administration to the academia, gathered in Hamburg, on late March 2018 for a two-day workshop on user needs, towards the strategic planning of the design, implementation and delivery of the portfolio of Smart Urban Solutions of SMURBS, in the months ahead and up till the end of the project.
Smartphones and laptops were switched off, as the workshop focused heavily on the face-to-face interaction between the stakeholders and adopted the method of “World Café” table discussions per SMURBS theme, and of a plenary “fishbowl” discussion, where all participants had the opportunity to stir and enrich the conversation.
A keynote talk given by Prof. Dr. Matthias Augustin (University Medical Center Hamburg‐Eppendorf) in the subject of “Urban health from a medical perspective: Data – Needs – Gaps” delivered a critical overview of a generalized concept of Urban Health and provided a common ground for the distinct -per theme- discussions.
The workshop’s outcome will critically complement the other user-needs gathering activities of SMURBS (online survey, interviews). Some results were expected, and some were enlightening. Overall, the hierarchy of the needs that took place, and the local dependence of some, surfaced through the discussions, will surely help SMURBS to create more efficient and targeted solutions. Last but not least, this workshop provided a first-class opportunity for engagement of public authorities and partners alike, for a very down-to-earth implementation of solutions for the rest of the project’s life.
SMURBS @
EuroGEOSS Workshop 2018
SMURBS was invited and presented its work at the EuroGEOSS Workshop 2018 (formerly the GEO European Projects’ Workshop) that was held in Geneva from 12-14 September 2018. SMURBS participated in the session “SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities” that explored the current scenery as set in the New Urban Agenda and the potential role that Earth Observation can play. The session was chaired and moderated by the co-ordinator of SMURBS, Dr. Evangelos Gerasopoulos (NOA).

 83rd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF)

SMURBS actively participated in the 83rd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), held in Thessaloniki, Greece, from 8-16 September 2018. From NOA kiosk, SMURBS’ partners promoted the smart city concept  by distributing informative communication material, and at the same time  challenging TIF’s visitors to try their knowledge on the subject and enter the draw to win a tablet, offered by the project.

3rd joint EARSeL LULC & NASA LCLUC Workshop

SMURBS participated to the "3rd joint EARSeL LULC & NASA LCLUC Workshop", held in Chania, Greece, from 11 to 12 July 2018, with 2 poster presentations, concerning "Access to solar energy applications using EO data through GEO activities: validation and demonstration of the SENSE system" and "Photosynthetically active climatology in Greece for optimal vineyard planning and exploitation".

 2nd Innovation Marathon City Challenge Crowdhackathon #smartcity 2

SMURBS project fully supported and participated in the 2nd Innovation Marathon City Challenge Crowdhackathon #smartcity 2. SMURBS team meet up at “Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center”, from the 26th of June to 1st July 2018, in order to support innovative proposals presented by contestants, who were encouraged to develop their ideas towards pilot services and applications solutions of Local Government, as well as to support local and national development through new technologies. For smart proposals within project’s themes framework (air quality, natural disasters, urban development), SMURBS explored as a "mentor" further development support, enhancing- where possible- Earth Observation exploitation and offering important networking and collaboration opportunities. 
SMURBS project actively participated in the 2nd Innovation Marathon City Challenge Crowdhackathon #smartcity 2, from 26 June to 1 July, 2018. The SMURBS team met up at “Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center”, to support innovative proposals by contestants, who were encouraged to develop their ideas towards pilot services and application solutions for local government, in the benefit of urban development through new technologies. For smart ideas relevant to SMURBS’ theme framework (air quality, natural disasters and urban growth), the project team, from the position of "mentor", offered guidance for the up-scaling of the ideas, enhancing -where possible- the Earth Observation exploitation, and gateways for further uptake via networking and collaboration opportunities.

Exploitation of EΟ and novel observational platforms for smart city applications, NKUA

As part of its educational activities, SMURBS accepted the invitation and delivered a seminar on “Exploitation of Earth Observation and Novel Observational Platforms for Smart City Applications” at the Physics Department of the University of Athens on May 24, 2018.
The audience was comprised of students of the Master on Environmental Physics Programme and members of the faculty. The specialization of the audience provided a prime opportunity for SMURBS to present its approach of integrating EO and smart city methods, to delineate the state-of-the-art across the EO platforms’ chain, to which the students can be eventually part of, and finally to highlight the particularities of the urban landscape concerning environmental pressures, EO specifications and links to policy and the citizenry.
In the last part of the seminar, a Q&A session was triggered, and feedback was provided by the audience, in a lively manner, concerning its view on environmental pressures for the city of Athens and qualitative criteria a smart urban solution should uphold. Finally, the students, as potential participants in a Citizens’ Observatory, offered their opinion on what such an initiative should ensure: ease of interaction, integrated in other daily routines or smartphone applications and strong perception of impact.
4th ACTRIS-2 General Meeting
SMURBS partners participated in the 4th ACTRIS-2 General Meeting, held in Nafplio city, Greece, 17-19 April 2018. This annual meeting brought together more than 120 scientists , attending targeted central and poster presentations, exploiting the opportunity to learn about the new developments in the field of Aerosols, Clouds, and Trace gases Research InfraStructure.
EGU 2018
SMURBS partners participated in the European Geosciences Union General Assembly (EGU2018) held in Vienna Austria, 8-13 April 2018.
The EGU General Assembly 2018 was of great success with 4,776 oral, 11,128 poster, and 1,419 PICO presentations. 666 unique scientific sessions together with 68 short courses and 294 side events created an interesting programme.
Dr. Eleni Athanasopoulou presented the atmospheric implications of severe African dust transport events, which frequently cause air pollution and health-related problems in Southern European cities.
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