The Brussels Smart City strategy
Brussels Smart City is the smart city strategy of the Brussels-Capital Region. It aims to meet the challenges of urban development with the help of technologies by stimulating innovation and the involvement of public services, citizens, businesses and the academic world.
The projects included in the Brussels-Capital Region’s smart city strategy fall within the 5 dimensions set out in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) of the European Union and include cross-over, pooling, digital inclusion and European integration.
The Brussels-Capital Region’s definition of the smart city
Brussels Smart City is inspired by the definition of the smart city formulated by the researcher Anthony Townsend (New York University): “A Smart City is a place where ICTs are combined with infrastructure, architecture, daily objects and even our body, in order to tackle social, economic and ecological problems.”
The objective of Brussels Smart City is to meet the urban development challenges of the Brussels-Capital Region, according to three fundamental dimensions:
- sustainable development in response to ecological issues.
- human development in response to social issues.
- economic development in response to the issues of prosperity.
Technologies are not an end in itself, but a tool, in the Brussels-Capital Region’s conception of the smart city. The digital transition underpins these objectives to create added value for the people of Brussels, both citizens and entrepreneurs. Data play a central role in this.
Finally, Brussels Smart City adopts the model of an integrated city:
- the smart city relies on the involvement and interactions of four categories of players: the public services, citizens, businesses and the academic world (teaching, research), according to the “Quad Helix” principle.
- the smart city is built according to a cross-functional logic: it integrates all dimensions of public action, regardless of which authority (local, regional, community, federal) is responsible for it.
In concrete terms, the Brussels-Capital Region considers the smart city as an innovation and local participation platform where the public sector, the academic world, private interests and citizens can meet and exchange to generate new value and cooperate and create together. The Brussels Region Informatics Centre contributes to this model through its platforms pooling ICTs for public services.
Strategic directions and governance of Brussels Smart City
To accomplish its Brussels Smart City strategy, the Brussels-Capital Region:
The 9 strategic directions of Brussels Smart City projects
The actions and initiatives of Brussels Smart City either fall under one of the indicators of the DESI index of the European Union, or embody one of the necessary conditions related to the smart city.
The DESI indicators, 5 dimensions of a digital society and economy:
The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) of the European Union has 5 criteria that the Brussels-Capital Region has included in its smart city strategy. These are:
- connectivity (sensors, regional wifi network, broadband network via the IRISnet optical fibre).
- human capital (digital and computer literacy skills).
- use of the Internet by children and population groups negatively affected by the digital divide.
- integration of digital technology to make the flow of data more effective in the public services, opening up the data (Open Data) and analysis of the data (Big Data).
- digital public services.
The 4 conditions needed to achieve the Smart City:
In addition to the 5 dimensions of the DESI index, the Brussels-Capital Region has identified 4 conditions for achieving a smart city:
- cross-functionality through a governance model that ensures the participation and collaboration of the different members of the Brussels Government and authorities.
- pooling and reuse, both at the level of infrastructure like the regional video-protection platform and of data.
- digital inclusion.
- the European dimension through the integration of Brussels initiatives in the existing networks at the European Union level and the reuse of their standards.
Smart City office: the Brussels Smart City governance body
The SCO oversees all initiatives related to the Brussels Smart City strategy across the region, playing a project manager role and implementing its technical skills.
This body in particular is responsible for:
- identifying the smart city stakeholders (on the authorities’ side and civil society side: citizens, businesses, academic players) for the purpose of ensuring their participation.
- defining critical success factors, in parallel to monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to measure the progress of the Region towards creating a smart city.
- the development of a general roadmap.
- development of the technical architecture and infrastructure, in particular, in relation to the needs of Big Data and Urban Platforms.
The Brussels Smart City strategy is, more concretely, implemented by:
The official framework of Brussels Smart City
The Brussels Smart City strategy:
- was adopted by the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region on 12 February 2017.
a framework with the Majority agreement of the 2014-2019 Brussels Government which established the aim of integrating the new technologies into everyday life while focusing, in parallel, on research and innovation, with, as its lines of action:
in relation to the Smart City:
- the integration of the new technologies into all fields of collective life: governance, school, health, digital services for businesses, intelligent mobility, security, etc.
- continuation of the development of digital communications infrastructure (optical fibre network, wifi network).
- going as far as possible in offering online public services.
as a Region of research and innovation:
- developing partnerships between education, public institutions and the business world.
- creating centres of advanced technologies to provide training for occupations of high technological value.
- use the foundations established by the Informatics Centre for the Brussels region in its Smartcity.brussels White Paper 2014-2019.
In addition, the Brussels Smart City initiatives fall more widely under the bedigital.brussels umbrella brand, which coordinates the action of the Government with the development of the Region as a digital capital.