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Digital transition

Overall definition and context of the topics

The Digital Single Market strategy aims to open up digital opportunities for people and businesses and enhance Europe's position as world leader in the Digital Economy. The Digital Single Market is expected to contribute €415 billion per year to our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. The European data economic development implies work on access to and transfer of non-personal machine-generated data, on data liability, interoperability and standards. In an inclusive Digital Society citizens will have the right skills to seize the opportunities of the digital world and boost their chances for good jobs. In addition, the digital transformation of governments, including the provision of public services such as health, offers an opportunity to better serve and interact with citizens, be more accountable and deliver better and more user-friendly services.

Relevance for and role of urban authorities:

Digitalisation allows all EU cities to become more competitive and attractive towards citizens and businesses. Digital transition is a recurring element in the work carried out by the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities since 2014 and recently also thoroughly discussed in the framework of the dedicated partnership of the Urban Agenda for the EU. Overall it can be concluded that cities increasingly play a central role in the digital transition, as urbanization is a major long term trend and cities provide many of the public services to citizens and create the appropriate conditions for businesses to flourish. Digital public services are crucial for reducing administrative burden on citizens, making interactions with public authorities faster, more convenient and less costly as well as increasing the quality of the services provided. Cities can also serve as an excellent place for innovation and thereby contribute to generating economic growth; by ensuring a business-friendly environment, enabling the flourishing of data-driven businesses; and by pulling innovation to the markets with large purchasing power. Cities will provide the places and platforms where citizens and companies link their activities. Thanks to digitalisation, it is possible to create new tools for citizen-centric City development, including at the policy-making stage through eDemocracy (information, consultation, participation). The Tallinn Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment recognises the needs and expectations of citizens and businesses in their interaction with public administrations and sets out a set of user-centricity principles that should guide cities in their public service delivery.

Prompts for urban authorities:

Urban Innovative Actions project proposals should contribute to the on-going work of the six Action Clusters of the European Innovation Partnership and/or the Digital Transition Partnership by testing new solutions. Without being prescriptive in terms of the types of projects expected, cities are invited to consider in particular the following topics and issues:

  • Enable and implement smart cities solutions including business models, finance and procurement, integrated infrastructures and processes, integrated planning and regulations, sustainable districts and built environment and sustainable urban mobility
  • Enable and implement citizen-centric eGovernment solutions across sectors
  • Create value through free and fair access to data of any kind: open/public/private sector/personal data (e.g. collected by sensors, use of private sector data for public interest purposes, use of portability rights under GDPR for citizens to give data to City for better City management, setting up open data integration systems for access by multi-purpose applications) 
  • Accelerate adoption of digital emerging technologies, which will modernize the City’s infrastructure and services, such as smart lamppost solutions and innovative 5G communication networks integrating open urban data platforms as well as solutions for local administrations
  • Create a business friendly environment and act as places and platforms to allow agile experimentation of data-driven businesses and pull innovation into markets with large purchasing power, generating local economic growth