Trust is a pilar of Nordic society. Collaboration between people, within industries, across sectors and borders creates efficiency - it drives innovation and development for the benefit of citizens.

Yet, this heritage is not a resource to take for granted. It demands resilience and the will to work towards a common good.How to incorporate this into current initiatives?

High on the agenda for developing livable cities is the European Green Deal:

Climate change and environmental degradation are an existential threat to Europe and the world. To overcome these challenges, Europe needs a new growth strategy that transforms the Union into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where

  • there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050
  • economic growth is decoupled from resource use
  • no person and no place is left behind

The European Green Deal is our roadmap for making the EU’s economy sustainable. This will happen by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities across all policy areas and making the transition just and inclusive for all.

Part of achieving this goal is the Mission on 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030, by and for the citizens. This is an integral part of the Horizon Europe framework programme beginning in 2021. To achieve this in ten years requires a systematic transformation of our cities. It will require a huge degree of collaboration and trust between cities and the industry, locally and on a European scale.

Many cities across Europe are considering how to partake in the mission. Work on this is in progress and will intensify leading up to the announcement of the mission (expected in the fall of 2020). The timing is ideal for Nordic Edge Expo 2020.

Connection private & public through Marketplace

Through our network of public collaborators and the European Commission, we should identify the cities planning to engage in the Mission on 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030. If the European Commission is planning to finance initiatives in 100 cities, we assume many more are considering to take part. The programming at Nordic Edge Expo 2020 should therefore centre around this. Done right it can attract cities from across Europe as well as solution providers and investors, who will need to be involved if cities are to achieve the mission.

Why?

The European Commission has stated that they will attend Nordic Edge Expo. It is their endeavor to have an annual presence in Northern Europe. We need to seize this opportunity to secure the position as the leading Smart City conference and exhibition in the North. It is valuable in our dialogue with Innovation Norway, Nordic Innovation and other public sources of finance.

It is the most relevant Smart City project in the world in 2020.

How

The mission of the EIP-SCC Marketplace is to connect private and public sector with investors. The Nordic Edge team’s experience of attending the event in Brussels in February 2020, was that the set-up was quite traditional. The programme started presentations by three investors followed by a rather good panel debate about what investors can offer cities. Next on the agenda were round-table talks on different topics related to smart and sustainable cities, however our impression was that there was a lack of representatives from the private sector.

Building on the experience from Brussels, and the timely Mission on 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities, the Nordic Edge team proposes to host keynote talks and panel discussions on the topic, and most importantly to engage the private sector in the process. Interaction between the EU mission board members, tasked with implementation of the mission, political leadership in the Nordic countries and industry representatives, all paramount in reaching the targets within the next ten years will be create dialogue and a worthwhile experience for representatives from both the private and public sector.

Citizen Involvement:

The Mission on 100 cities cannot be achieved without the support of its citizens. Returning to the topic of trust this mission is highly relevant to the widespread concern for the future of our world. A concern that gained international traction through the likes of Greta Tunberg, who activated the young generation across the world. The uprising stood united in criticizing world leaders for their failure take sufficient action to address the climate crisis.

The need for change is imminent. The European Green Deal and mission on 100 cities is ambitious. To achieve the goals, cities and the industry need to work together, and manage to convince citizens to change their habits. Transforming our cities will require a unison effort through all walks of life, from our energy consumption, to travel habits, our diet, and so on.