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European Strategies for Smarter Cities

Alessandra Barresi, Gabriella Pultrone


On a worldwide scale, cities and regions must tackle the challenges set by the radical change in our society and in our economy, aiming to develop effective public policies and boost their managerial, evaluation and planning skills. Anyway, it is essential to put a new idea of city at the centre of the smart strategies in order to bring policies back to their former central position, since technologies alone cannot generate welfare and prosperity. Local leadership, integrated planning and a rich social fabric go hand in hand, the social capital being able to produce an added value for the cities. We are exactly in a new phase of urban growth centred on the economy of services characterized by widespread digital technologies and new innovative organization patterns, which encourage the participation in the civic policy processes through the realization of structures to share information and data so as to define intervention policies. The most recent studies and trials about innovation and competitiveness, such as the examples illustrated in the present work (Amsterdam, Paredes, Aarhus and Gent) show a growing interest in measuring the relationship between innovation and economic growth at various territorial levels, key factors in conceiving inclusive smart strategies, linked to principles of sustainability and territorial cohesion, and building smarter cities. In the light of these remarks, the article is divided into three parts: the first part is focussed on the above-mentioned central issues of the international debate; the second part examines four significant European initiatives; the third part draws preliminary conclusions and directions for further research.


European cities; ICT; Innovation; Participation; Smart strategies for sustainability

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Amsterdam Municipality,

Amsterdam Smart City,

Barresi, A. & Pultrone, G. (2012) Smart Strategies for Participatory Urban Development: Trends and Prospects for European Cities and Regions, paper presented at “Beijing Forum 2012. The Harmony of Civilizations and Prosperity for All”, Pechino-Beijing, Novembre 2nd-4th 2012.

CITTALIA-Fondazione ANCI Ricerche (2012) Smart Cities nel mondo,

CITTALIA-Fondazione ANCI Ricerche. Il percorso verso la città intelligente,

Europe 2020 monitoring platform,

European Commission. Europe 2020,

European Commission. Smart Specialisation Platform,

European Commission - Directorate General for Regional Policy (2011) Cities of Tomorrow. Challenges, Visions, Ways Forward,

European Commission (2012) Smart Cities and Communities – European Innovation Partnership, Communication from the Commission, Brussels, C (2012) 4701 final, 10/07/2012.

European Union - General Secretariat of the Council (2010) Project Europe 2030. Challenges and Opportunities, a Report to the European Council by the Reflection Group on the Future of the UE 2030,

European Union - Committee of the Regions (2012) When Cities Breathe, People Progress. The future we Europe's Cities and sub-national level want, Rio+20, United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, 20-22 June 2012,

Jenkins, H. (2006) Convergence culture, N.Y. University, New York.

Living Planit,

MERCER (2012) 2012 Quality of Living Worldwide City Rankings-Mercer Survey, 04.12.2012,

OECD and China Development Research Foundation (2010) Trends in urbanisation and urban policies in OECD countries: What lessons for China?, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Sassen, S. (2012) Cities in a World Economy, Pine Forge Press, Thousand Oaks, California.

UNEP (2011) Green Economy: Cities Investing in Energy and Resource Efficiency,

United Nation - Department of Economic and Social Affairs,

World Economic Forum (2012) The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011,



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Direttore responsabile: Rocco Papa | print ISSN 1970-9889 | on line ISSN 1970-9870 | © 2008 | Registrazione: Cancelleria del Tribunale di Napoli, n° 6, 29/01/2008 | Rivista realizzata con Open Journal System e pubblicata dal Centro di Ateneo per le Biblioteche dell'Università di Napoli Federico II.