Last November 7, at the Web Summit in Lisbon, the iCapital prize awarded Paris the most innovative European city. In competition were 10 cities, each progressive in their own ways in the environment, entrepreneurism, or tech development. Here are our favorites.
And the winner is…
Paris, the city of light. The jury voted for Paris’ Arc de l’Innovation project, which aims to aims to boost the economy and workplace of the greater east part of the city, as embodying Europe’s most innovative city. This initiative, supported by a community of nearly 600 organizations (businesses, cooperatives, NGOs), works for the establishment of new businesses and services to its residents, improving the area’s attractiveness, and urban revival, while notably abolishing the city’s border that is until now naturally blazed by the ring road.
Copenhagen takes on climate change
In 2014, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, then-Minister of Climate and Energy, declared unblinkingly that Copenhagen would be the first zero-emissions capital in Europe. Since then, the city has created numerous initiatives toward this end. As France’s Le Monde reports, the city is aiding in the construction of hundreds of wind turbines and promoting cycling, which in November 2016 overtook automobiles as the dominant mode of transportation in the Danish capital. This has already allowed them to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 100,000 tons.
Helsinki and its innovation neighborhood
The Finnish capital for years has sat at the top of lists of innovative cities – in 2015, CITIE ranked it third, behind London and New York. At the European scale, then, Helsinki is an obvious candidate for first place. That’s thanks to “Smart Kalasatama,” a neighborhood in development that uses big data to make the city, its citizens, and its businesses collaborate. It’s supposed to host 25,000 people and create 8,000 jobs by 2035. It could even allow its residents to “gain an hour per day,” thanks to intelligent mobility structures that would save a lot of time.
Through its capital, Estonia is in the process of becoming a veritable e-nation. The proof is in the signing of the Declaration of Tallinn on October 6, 2017, by all members of the European Union and of the European Free Trade Association – Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland. It encourages all the signatories to go in the direction of e-residence, already developed in Estonia for several years. With a simple residence permit, it’s possible for anyone to start their business in the country without living there, in exchange for its biometric data.
Toulouse, the open metropolis
With its Open Metropolis project, Toulouse could realize its ambition of becoming a proper smartcity. It would be built under three principles: joint private-public construction, putting the citizen at the heart of the plan, and the sharing of public data. So far, the city is experimenting with projects on opening up public data, streamlining energy networks, and low-energy smart lighting. Once constructed, the ambition is to create a flexible city with fluid transportation and all-around cleanliness.