4 December 2019

Barcelona, Cologne and Stockholm prove growth does not have to come at the expense of CO2 reductions

After five years of implementing sustainable smart city solutions through the GrowSmarter project, ICLEI Members Barcelona (Spain) and Stockholm (Sweden), alongside Cologne (Germany), recently came together to share key insights and results, proving that growth does not have to come at the expense of CO2 emissions reductions.

GrowSmarter, co-funded by the European Commission, has, since its kick-off in 2015, sought to demonstrate 12 smart city solutions spanning: low energy districts, integrated infrastructure, and mobility. Barcelona, Stockholm and Cologne acted as ‘Lighthouse Cities’, providing counterparts across Europe with valuable insights into how these solutions work in practice, as well as opportunities for replication.

Results achieved through the project include: the refurbishment of more than 130,000 m2 of building stock through the use of energy efficient and smart technologies; the deployment of a wide range of sustainable mobility solutions; and the connection of city infrastructure to solutions through the exploitation of an 'Internet of Things'.

In addition, the Cities have achieved marked CO2 reductions of 30-70 percent in fully refurbished buildings, energy savings of more than 8GWh, and the deployment of urban data and smart management platforms to manage local energy systems.

“It is about cities growing in sustainable ways, but it is also about putting the citizen in focus. The citizen first. Our job as politicians is to do this and to create the conditions for co-creation together with organisations in society, and to do almost impossible things together,” said Mayor of Stockholm, Anna König Jerlmyr, about the project when opening the conference.

“GrowSmarter has the solutions, because it has shown we are able to overcome the environmental challenges with economic sustainable solutions, while also being socially responsible. That is what both GrowSmarter and the 2030 Agenda are about,” added, Miquel Rodriguez Planas, Barcelona’s Commissioner for UN’s 2030 Agenda.

The European Commission was represented at the event by Mr. Svetoslav Mihaylov, Policy Officer, Smart Mobility and Living, Directorate-General for Communications Networks. He congratulated GrowSmarter on the successful project and pointed out the important work it has accomplished to help pave the way for cities to become better connected through ICT. He also emphasised the importance of building strong communities across Europe.

The solutions developed by the leading cities and the project's industry partners have been shared with ICLEI Member Cork (Ireland), as well as the Cities of Suceava (Romania), Graz (Austria), Porto (Portugal), and Valletta (Malta), who are all working to replicate them in their local contexts.

For more information about the GrowSmarter project, to learn more about the solutions implemented, and results achieved, click here.