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The first United Smart Cities SMART CITY LAB opened in Vienna, supporting co-creation of solutions for smart sustainable cities worldwide

Published: 30 May 2018

According to United Nations estimates, around two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. Smart sustainable cities technologies and approaches, including those based on ICT solutions and Internet of Things (IoT) are already helping people to overcome multiple challenges of urban development and to progress towards achieving global objectives for cities, particularly Sustainable Development Goal 11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. 

The focus on smart sustainable cities has given rise within a growing number of cities to the establishment of an ecosystem of local stakeholders and of platforms for collaboration and the implementation of initiatives.

United Smart Cities, a global Smart Cities program implemented by UNECE and the Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER), opened last week its first Smart City LAB together with Smart Data experts BRAINTRIBE in the Firestarters Space in Vienna, to offer the necessary platform to urban stakeholders. The aim of the LAB is to develop and implement urban sustainability projects in cities in the areas of education, health, infrastructure, mobility, energy, IoT, etc. and to support the acceleration of new projects. During the launch of the Smart City LAB, more than 25 smart urban solutions were presented by companies including Twingz (Austria), DigitalGlobe (USA), Pluvi.on (Brazil) and many others.

The LAB was opened by Ms. Olga Algayerova, UNECE Executive Secretary, Ms. Kari Aina Eik, Secretary General, Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER) and Mr. Stefan Ebner, CEO and Founder, BRAINTRIBE.

Olga Algayerova expressed her support to the initiative, and highlighted UNECE’s work to foster stronger engagement with the private sector in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Smart cities should be part of broader local economic development efforts that bring governments, business, and the community together. They are about boosting innovative economic development, driven by the public sector, with a flexible approach that leaves sufficient room and incentive for the private sector to try out different, innovative solutions”, she said.

“Cities are the hubs of the future and need individual integrated solutions to solve their challenges. The Smart City LAB enables the development and showcasing of these solutions” said at the event Kari Eik, Secretary General of OiER.

CEOs of Austrian and international companies, startups, city representatives of London, Bristol, Helsinki, as well as Smart City experts, attended the launch and directly contributed to the event. "In terms of the wordings, the activities of the LAB should be" co-creation "and not co-working, as the LAB works together on specific topics and creates a community that pushes each other", explained Stefan Ebner of BRAINTRIBE.

The first USC LAB in Vienna gives the very first impression of how such city platform can facilitate sustainable urban development. Serving as a model for platforms elsewhere, the concept of this innovative United Smart City LAB will be brought to other cities worldwide, establishing a global network enhancing the development of the cities of the future. The solutions jointly developed in the LAB will be made available to the global community of Smart Cities through a digital platform - Co-Create Locally, Share Globally!

More information on the United Smart Cities Project is available at:

https://www.unece.org/housing/smartcities.html or from Ms. Gulnara Roll, Head, Housing and Land Management Unit, UNECE. Email: roll@un.org


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