The City of Brno engages with students on the future of its smart city district

18 September 2019

The City of Brno held the international student competition MUNISS 2019, which this year focused on the future smart development of Brno’s replication area Špitalka. One topic of the competition was the analysis of smart solutions and their impact on the quality of life in the area.

An interdisciplinary group of students were asked to propose and assess ten specific smart solutions, technologies and practices, which can affect the model of the future smart district Špitalka. The solutions had to address six aspects of what it means to be a “smart city” as defined in research made by SIX Research Centre at Brno University, a local partner of RUGGEDISED in BRNO.

The basis for the competition was to examine the winning proposal from the architect agency Aulík Fišer, which was made for the International Urban Idea Design Competition for the Špitálka area. Students had to assess the social impact, environmental analysis and analysed specific solutions from RUGGEDISED such as the Pavement heat/cold collector. Important parts of the competition were also the breakdown of financial structure and proposals for how to communicate about the solutions.

More information about MUNISS is available here.

Rotterdam’s smart city district chosen for Eurovision

3 September 2019

The city of Rotterdam will host the European song contest in May 2020 at the AHOY Arena in the middle of the city’s testing area for 13 smart solutions implemented as part of RUGGEDISED.

The testing area, called Hart van Zuid (‘Heart of South’) is home to the venue Rotterdam AHOY where Eurovision will take place.

Just last year, RUGGEDISED partners and Ahoy signed a cooperation agreement to implement a Smart Thermal Grid and install the largest solar roof in Rotterdam, cutting more than 1400 Tonnes of CO2 from the venue’s emissions.

Albert Engels, Project Coordinator for RUGGEDISED and Senior Process Manager in the City of Rotterdam, is very pleased with the decision to host the event at AHOY:

"I’m sure there were many reasons to select AHOY as the venue for Eurovision, and I like to think a part of it has to do with AHOY’s sustainable ambitions. Both AHOY and the rest of Heart of South, implement interesting Smart Energy solutions, and we look forward to sharing them with everyone coming to Rotterdam as a part of Eurovision."

Watch this video to learn more about how the Heart of South becomes smart and how RUGGEDISED and AHOY work together.

You can also read more about the Smart Thermal Grid in the RUGGEDISED factsheet.

Erasmus University Rotterdam launch new data analytics centre set to work on RUGGEDISED

30 July 2019

Update 4/11/2019: The new data analytics centre has shared a questionaire to assess the state of play of urban data platforms in Europe. To answer this questionaire, click here.

Erasmus University Rotterdam, a partner of RUGGEDISED, has just launched a new research centre, Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics, which includes an expertise area dedicated to “Smart cities and communities”.

The new centre will focus on realizing value from data and analytics, the importance of data governance as well as the necessity of making sure decisions based on algorithms are unbiased. RUGGEDISED’s leading partner, the Lighthouse city of Rotterdam, is one of the founding partners.

Several researchers affiliated with the new centre are already working actively on Ruggedised topics from a data-driven perspective.

This includes work on renewable energy and infrastructure for charging buses, energy prediction in buildings, design and governance of urban data platforms, innovation ecosystems and data-driven business models.

Dr. Marcel van Oosterhout, Erasmus University’s coordinator for RUGGEDISED is looking forward to exploiting the new possibilities created by the centre:

"ECDA [Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics] will be a big boost for our research on smart cities and data-driven solutions in general. It will make exchanging knowledge more efficient both in-house and with partners such as the City of Rotterdam and the whole RUGGEDISED team. I am confident the end result will be better solutions for smart cities and communities.”

If you want to read more about Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics and the work they do, please visit the centre’s website.

It's not about smart cities but about smart people

18 June 2019

As part of Brno’s Smart City Fair, URBIS, on 5-6 June, the changes happening in Glasgow, Umea and Rotterdam within Ruggedised were presented to the participants at the fair.

Wolf D. Prix, Internationally acclaimed architect and a member of Ruggedised’s Advisory Board gave a keynote speech highlighting the essentials when planning for sustainable development in complex city systems:

“It's not about smart cities but about smart people", Wold D. Prix told the participants before explaining how much planning should go into making buildings sustainable.

The Mayor of Brno, Markéta Vaňková, spoke at the Urbis fair on the importance of good urban planning. She pointed out, that the UN expects 80 percent of all Europeans to live in cities in 30 years, and then went on:

“Ensuring enough resources and quality conditions for so many people will not be easy. Our main goal is to transform cities into places where it is not just about survival, but about living - living a quality and meaningful life”.

Ruggedised contributes to the launch of the "The Smart City Guidance Package"

8 May 2019

Ruggedised coordinator, Albert Engels, was in Brussels on May 8 to contribute to the launch of the "The Smart City Guidance Package", developed by the Integrated Planning, Policy and Regulations Action Cluster of the EIP-SCC, let by NTNU.

In the initiative “From Planning to Implementation and Upscaling of Smart City Projects” cities, industry, NGO’s and knowledge partners collaborate on the exchange of experiences in the integrated planning and implementation of smart city projects, and their upscaling and replication afterwards to achieve the urban transition to smart and sustainable cities on an increasing scale across Europe.

The guidance package was also tested through workshops in two of our Fellow cities: Brno and Parma, who also took part in the launch event in ensuing panel discussion.

Brno selects winner of its international competition for the smart district of Špitálka

17 April 2019

Our fellow city of Brno has awarded a winner in its International Open Urban Design Idea Competition. Participation was record-breaking, with designs arriving even from Japan and Singapore.

The jury evaluated a total of twenty-six proposals from the Czech Republic, but also from Slovakia, Serbia, Poland, Belgium, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Japan and Singapore. The winner of the competition was a design submitted by the Prague-based studio Aulík Fišer architekti.

“The competition was very well prepared and fulfilled its goal of bringing a solution to the transformation of an unused part of the industrial compound of the heating plant, where a lively urban neighbourhood should arise. It is one of the first steps towards revitalisation of the broader area around Špitálka, Křenová and Cejl streets, and at the same time an example of how to use other brownfield sites in the city centre,” said Markéta Vaňková, Lady Mayor of the City of Brno.

Read the entire press release here.

10 key points to de-risk smart city investments

15 February 2019

Digitalisation was the theme of this year’s Connected Smart Cities Conference 2019, organised by the OASC (Open & Agile Smart Cities), together with SmartUp BSR (Baltic Sea Region) and with support from SynchroniCity. The main takeaway of the day: “We must work ever more closely together, share experiences, and involve citizens to de-risk investments in smart cities and communities”. Dr. Marcel van Oosterhout, Assistant Executive Director at Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics, and a partner in our RUGGEDISED project, has come up with 10 points to de-risk investment in smart cities.

Read the full article here.

EIP's Smart City Guidance Package tested in Parma

8 February 2019

After a workshop in RUGGEDISE's other fellow city of Brno, it was this this Parma that welcomed on 8 February 2019 the opportunity to collaborate with the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) to test the guidelines to be published in May 2019 and which will be used by all European cities committed to develop their own smart city strategy.

The representatives of the integrated planning group of EIP, Simona Costa and Judith Borsboom Van Beurden, met the Councilor for environmental sustainability policies of the Municipality of Parma Tiziana Benassi, together with the local coordinator of the Ruggedised project Enzo Bertolotti and the project managers Marco Mordacci and Cristina Pellegrini as well as the technicians of the various sectors of the Municipal Administration and the group of local stakeholders who are part of the Parma Futuro Smart co-designing group.

The 25 participants, divided into two groups moderated by EIP referents, tested the 7 steps of the process, analyzing all aspects related to the construction of the smart city vision, the timely design of the measures, the involvement of the most relevant actors, the obtaining of the necessary resources, up to the evaluation of the results. The results of the work of the two groups has therefore been consolidated by an evaluation process: the methodology developed within the Smart Cities driving package has proven to be an effective tool to innovate in the city and to get in touch with the citizens and has confirmed that the process of drawing up the strategy that Parma Futuro Smart is carrying out is going in the right direction.

Smart HVAC-systems reduces energy consumption

7 February 2019

The Smart HVAC system in Umeå's University building was studied by Nathan Zielinski (exchange student at the Department of Applied Physics and Electronics). The author evaluates the smart heating and ventilation system Lindinvent which is based on occupancy, either actual or time controlled, to operate the heating and ventilation of a building. In the study it is shown that the smart system reduces energy consumption, however there are many improvements to do.

This study is part of the Ruggedised project in Umeå and the sub-project "Demand Side Management". The main purpose is to examine how ventilation, heating, cooling and lighting can be adapted to actual needs in view of optimizing the university's energy consumption and reducing its climate impact. Sensors that measure occupancy, movement patterns and various indoor environment parameters generate data that can be used to develop better and more precise energy models.

In Nathan’s study, he compares the function of the smart heating and ventilation system with actual occupancy. His results show that there are periods of very low usage, for example in connection with vacancies, which means that there is a larger energy saving potential there. Otherwise, the investigated office areas are occupied at a maximum of 70 percent, which means that there is also a relatively large potential for reducing energy use in these premises at other times.

Read the study here.


Lisa Redin and Frida Fjellström, Umeå University

EIP's Smart City Guidance Package tested in Brno

30 January 2019

On 30 January, the City of Brno served as a testbed for the Smart City Guidance Package, which was developed by the Action Cluster Integrated Planning, Policy and Regulations in the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities.

The Smart City Guidance Package for Integrated Planning and Management of Smart City projects seeks to provide the necessary support for planning and managing smart city projects by providing examples of good solutions and best practices, pitfalls that can be expected and how to overcome these, e.g. where to find information about financial possibilities and how to engage stakeholders. Interviews with cities and smart city project managers have provided this material. In a couple of steps, cities can use this self-help guide to develop an integrated roadmap in a coherent way going from Vision to Decision, Plan, Do, Check, Act and Replication. Each stage contains checklists of to do’s and examples of activities for Brno for these stages.   

Together with the members of Brno City Ecosystem a lot of topics were discussed. For instance: What are the steps we can expect when we want to implement the prospective smart city solutions Brno desires in future? Who should be involved in which role? What do we need to do as a city and what with our stakeholders?  How can we overcome barriers such as silo’s? The first part of the workshop focused on concretization of Brno City’s vision and strategy #brno2050 with smart approaches and solutions. The second part focused on to do’s for the stages Plan-Do-Check-Act-Replicate, having the future smart district Špitálka in mind as a showcase for other developing districts in Brno.

The methodology of the Smart City Guidance Package worked well to connect the dots of Sustainable Energy Action Plan, Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, #Brno2050 and RUGGEDISED project, although ideally this process takes more time than a one day workshop!