Last week I was lucky enough to attend a JESSCCA conference in the Swedish city of Malmo, which brought together stake-holders from across Europe to discuss the role of the JESSICA loan fund in delivering smart city projects.
It was clear that there was no single blue print for the creation of a smart and sustainable city each must develop its own city wide approach. However, that isn’t to say there aren’t some essential elements namely;
· Strong leadership
· The desire to innovate
· Support for private\public partnership
· Support for pilot projects
Projects must provide social, economic and environmental growth but must also demonstrate that they can reduce costs.
As JESSICA is a revolving fund it is considered to be a good model to support large ambitious projects which require a mixed financial partnership –
Do you agree, is this type of financial instrument the way forward for the new programme?
What type of city wide projects do you think need to be developed for Scotland’s cities to make them smart and sustainable?
Malmo incidentally was formally an industrial city heavily reliant on the ship-building industry which suffered serious economic decline – sound familiar?
They have now developed their Western Harbour project which is an ecological development on a former dockyard area which will be mixed use; and the aim is for the project to be an international example of best practise in environmental adaptation of a dense urban area.
Those working on the project however, believe that they are just at the start of their journey.
Talking of which, one of the highlights of mine was travelling over the Oresund Bridge which links Denmark with Sweden in less than 30 minutes and has been credited with helping to reverse Malmo’s fortunes. It was part funded with ERDF and provides Malmo residents with high quality employment opportunities in Copenhagen.
I asked a delegate who was in product design for Ikea, how they got on with their Danish neighbours – “We get on as well with them as you do with yours” was the reply.