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Sharing knowledge between open cities: where do we start?

By Nils Walravens on Jan 25, 2017


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While the concept of Smart Cities is used in a variety of contexts, it is generally safe to say Smart Cities are cities that make use of the latest innovation in ICT to tackle complex challenges in domains such as mobility, sustainability, safety, economy and quality of life. By using and combining relevant and real time data, more advanced services, applications and insights become available to policy makers, companies and civil society. In order to achieve this, all actors in the so-called quadruple helix - government, academia, companies and citizens - need to come together and collaborate.

International examples, academic research and insights from divergent types of projects are pointing to the conclusion that these complex challenges should not be approached alone and that an open and joint approach can yield much more effective results. To this effect, cities are coming together and looking to organise themselves more as Smart Regions.

In order to support this cooperation in the region, the Smart Flanders programme will be launched in the coming weeks. In Smart Flanders, a team of open data researchers from imec are tasked with actively supporting cities in defining and implementing a common approach to opening up as much (real time) city data as possible.

The programme will focus on developing this common vision on open data, but will also be “driven by implementation”. This means that cities should learn by doing, which will be facilitated by several joint data pilots. In these pilots, several cities will work on opening up specific and related data sets, starting from a common urban challenge they wish to tackle together.

Smart Flanders supports the 13 centre cities and the VGC in first instance, but will offer opportunities towards other cities as well. While activities are starting up, the programme will be officially launched by Minister for Internal Policy Liesbeth Homans, during the “Slim in de Stad” award ceremony on 13 February 2017 in Brussels. More details on what this support programme will look like and a warm appeal to cooperate to the whole open data community will be presented during a keynote session at Open Belgium.

Nils Walravens, imec-SMIT- VUB, Operational Coordinator Smart Flanders
Mathias Van Compernolle, imec-MICT- UGent, Policy and Methodology Lead Smart Flanders

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written by Nils Walravens
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