I. Pandelieva-Dimova
Thursday 11 October 2018 by Libadmin2018


Urban sustainability is a major pillar in the European Union policy towards reaching Paris Agreement targets. In order to support cities and local communities around EU in their effort to implement innovative solutions and integrated approaches to increase their resource efficiency and climate resilience, European Commission funds the instrument "Smart Cities and Communities" (SCC) as part of its Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020 (H2020). The overall approach is to define and implement sets of innovative integrated sustainable actions in three main domains: energy, urban mobility and information and communication technologies at city/municipal level. The most innovative solutions are implemented by a number of lighthouse cities while follower cities closely observe the actions being performed in the lighthouse cities, and commit to select and put into practice the most promising and adaptable ones depending on their local conditions. Since 2015 four Bulgarian cities have been part of SCC projects, namely Sofia, Bourgas, Varna and Asenovgrad, participating as followers and working together with local communities from all across Europe leading the way towards urban sustainability and carbon emission reductions. Asenovgrad is supported by Sofia Energy Centre as partner in Horizon 2020 SmartEnCity Project where it cooperates with the lighthouse examples of Victoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country, Span), Tartu (Estonia) and Sonderborg (Denmark) on their path to achieve carbon neutrality in the long-term perspective.
The article presents the overall H2020 SCC approach based on the implementation of most advanced processes, materials and products applicable to different areas of urban sustainability. Taking the experience of SmartEnCity lighthouse cities as a starting point, it is focused on the ways to successfully adapt the most promising solutions matching the specific Bulgarian conditions. In addition, on-going cooperation among Bulgarian follower cities has been initiated which helps in broadening the scope of possible measures and utilization of available knowledge beyond the project boundaries.

Keywords: EU funding, smart cities and communities, holistic approach, sustainability, lighthouse

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