The Challenge got underway in February with the first cohort of cities meeting in Brussels for the inaugural City Academy Seminar to launch the initiative.
By the time of the second City Academy Seminar in May, the initiative had grown to a network of 41 cities. This included
- 15 Challenge cities selected from 92 applications out of 23 EU countries
- 20 Fellow cities invited to follow the initiative using their own resources
- 6 Mentor cities volunteering to share success practices with the group
Making use of Digital Cities Challenge branding, the cities made digital transformation a focal point of their communications. They engaged local stakeholders in workshops to set their digital vision and develop their strategy.
There were activities across Europe, driving traction for the hashtag #DigitalCitiesChallenge. It captured the progress in a centralised way and showed the thriving network behind the Challenge.
Thessaloniki became the first participating city to host a City Academy Seminar in October, welcoming city representatives from all 41 cities, as well as 14 external speakers on transportation and construction. Together, they debated about how urban planning can speed up the digital transformation of cities, and shared alternative approaches to digital skills development.
The year ended with the mayors signing a Declaration of Cooperation on Digital Transformation and Smart Growth. Meeting at the Mayors Summit in December, mayors from all participating cities committed to work together to foster dynamic innovation ecosystems, utilise cutting-edge technologies, upskill the city, scale up infrastructure and drive change through networking.
As the Digital Cities Challenge goes into the final stages in 2019, there are 2 more City Academy Seminars set to complete the digital transformation trajectories of the cites. In the following months, the cities will need to conclude the design of the roadmaps for their digital strategies, and plan the implementation and monitoring.
The end of the Digital Cities Challenge and the beginning of its successor the 'Intelligent Cities Challenge' will be celebrated at a high level conference in June.
Then, a full report on the initiative and each participating city will be presented to have a lasting account of the transformation journeys and lessons learned.
- 16 januari 2019
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