Bold urban ideas
Cities are harnessing innovative approaches to overcome critical social, economic environmental and political dynamics facing their environments and are tapping the power of new technologies, partnerships and the creativity of the public, according to a report, Innovation in Europe's Cities, from Bloomberg Philanthropies and LSE Cities. The research is based on the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge, a contest aimed at encouraging cities to generate bold ideas to solve major challenges and improve city life.
The report suggests a number of European cities have pioneered sustainable solutions to planning, transport and energy, often doing more than their nation-states to achieve a greener future. Groningen, in the Netherlands, has proposed changing consumer behaviour through smart grids, France’s Boulogne-Billancourt has been promoting smart metering and community voting on energy policies, while Brest is co-designing an interface with citizens to track individual carbon emissions and to incentivise behavioural change.
Almost two-thirds of cities intend to exploit new information technology to support their innovations. Democratising and evolving data was found in 15% of 155 city applications in the form of open data and big data. Gamification also featured regularly. A significant number of cities plan to use crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, highlighting their desire to benefit from the unconventional approaches to supporting innovation and democracy that the Internet potentially facilitates, the report says.