RUGGEDISED was a smart city project funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. It brought together three lighthouse cities: Rotterdam, Glasgow and Umeå and three fellow cities: Brno, Gdansk and Parma to test, implement and accelerate the smart city model across Europe.

Working with private partners and knowledge institutions, the cities have been on a journey beginning with the implementation of renewable energy solutions, and ending with new smart ways of working in city ecosystems towards a common goal. The smart city work undertaken in the cities and by project partners can serve as a model for public-private partnership pushing urban areas closer to climate neutrality.


Through RUGGEDISED the Cities of Rotterdam, Umeå and Glasgow have worked on creating exemplary smart districts through close work with key local stakeholders and change makers. The 'Lighthouse Cities' have worked on more than 30 different smart city solutions.


Today, Rotterdam is on the path to become climate neutral and it has been chosen as one of the cities for the European Commission’s Mission  and its innovation district ‘Hart van Zuid’ is ahead of the curve. The City has long had a vision of being a leader in applying innovative energy solutions, which have been furthered through RUGGEDISED in the ‘Hart’ where thermal and solar energy solutions have been rolled out.

429M litres
of water pumped through the aquifers yearly

1.2M kWh
of local, renewable energy production


Umeå is a young and fast growing city, and has its sights set on being climate neutral by 2030 - an ambition predating it becoming one of the 100 cities chosen by the EU Mission for climate-neutral and smart cities. The University District has, with RUGGEDISED support, become a leader in new approaches to demand-side management which have led to a decrease in energy consumption and an increase in renewable energy usage.

40 lecture halls
transformed following demand side analysis

1.200 sensors
have been installed on Campus


Glasgow’s strong and long-term ambition in climate and energy has seen it successfully decrease its carbon emissions by 50% compared to 2006 levels. RUGGEDISED partners have supported this work especially through strengthening stakeholder engagement on sustainability, implementing innovative solutions, such as e-charging and intelligent street lights, and working to address energy poverty.

10.500 households
will benefit from upscaling of smart meters

30% reduction
of energy use due to smart meters


The Cities of Gdańsk, Brno and Parma have grown from Followers to Fellows to being inspirations in their own right. From creating a vision, the cities have evolved through a participatory foresight approach and by establishing sound smart city ecosystems on their own.


The City of Parma has gone from a Fellow City in RUGGEDISED to one of the cities chosen for the EU’s Mission of 100 climate neutral and smart cities by 2030. This success is stemming not only from implementation of technical solutions, but from strategic work exemplified by the strong local and regional cooperation established between stakeholders.


The City of Brno has worked in RUGGEDISED to move closer to the realisation of its Špitálka District, which will become the first Smart District in the Czech Republic with
the municipality as the driving force. The successful transformation of Špitálka, an old industrial area, will showcase Brno as a sustainable city of the future.


The City of Gdańsk has worked on various technical solutions and on increasing the cooperation between different departments in the municipality. A special emphasis has been placed on strengthening the organisational structure of the city and refurbishing the old Lastadia building from 1837.

Curious about the future of smart developments in Parma, Brno and Gdańsk?

Read the full report on the Replication and Investment Plans of the RUGGEDISED Fellow Cities.


Smart projects are essentially about innovation in urban areas which would be impossible without the different actors finding common ground while working towards the same goal.

In large-scale projects involving city innovation and urban development, municipalities (and their partners) have to deal with more than just deploying the infrastructure needed. To successfully implement smart solutions, urban innovation projects have to approach this challenge from different levels through private-public partnerships.

The RUGGEDISED partners have produced various guides on different perspectives of smart city developments:

The RUGGEDISED partners have also published publications on the key lessons learnt across the Lighthouse Cities:

Harnessing innovation

Innovation can happen anywhere, but for cities to benefit from it, they must first control it. In RUGGEDISED, experts working in partnership with the Cities have identified two specific platforms to aid cities in building this control and understanding.

Urban Innovation Platforms: RUGGEDISED has developed guidance for cities to set-up innovative ecosystems through Innovation Platforms. These are municipality-led partnerships to create and sustain the sustainable transition.

Urban Data Platforms: RUGGEDISED has produced a study of Urban Data Platforms across Europe, serving cities in highlighting the path forward when planning and implementing an Urban Data Platform of their own.


Throughout RUGGEDISED, the Lighthouse Cities and their partners have worked on various cross-cutting themes centred on the energy transition. This has included work on +30 solutions, and the lessons learned and recommendations for others vary from solution to solution. One thing, however, being true across all the solutions is the need for strong partnerships, and the importance of working together both across different groups (public, private, academic and with citizens) and through different levels in each organisation. To offer practical advice on making this work, RUGGEDISED has produced thematic factsheets on four different themes.


RUGGEDISED has been a part of the European Smart Cities and Communities, and with RUGGEDISED having ended, Scalable Cities continue to offer cities a chance to connect and exchange knowledge on all things ‘Smart City’.

Learn more about Scalable Cities here

Learn more about RUGGEDISED's contribution to Scalable Cities and the community through this report.



RUGGEDISED was run by a project team of city, academic, and industrial partners that brought together a considerable wealth
of expertise and experience with developing and implementing higher energy and environmental standards in cities.