SmartEnCity Networks: Estonian Smart Cities Club visited Elva24 Mar 2020
On March 12, the Estonian Smart Cities Club met for the fifth time in Elva, Estonia. Elva, a small city of only 5600 people, located in Tartu county, was one the first to join the Club and kindly offered to host the March meeting. Present were representatives from Rakvere, Valga, Tartu and Elva cities, and also project partners from Tartu Regional Energy Agency (TREA), Institute of Baltic Studies (IBS), the University of Tartu and Smart City Lab.
The first half of the meeting was dedicated to discussing the smart city opportunities and tools of Europe – a topic which was presented by Merit Tatar (IBS) and Martin Kikas (TREA). The discussion started with describing the common needs and challenges of smart cities across Europe and the barriers to implementation they face. To tackle these issues, several tools have been developed in Europe, amongst others SmartEnCity project tools and methodologies: the SmartEnCity Network and its materials (newsletters, meetings, events), the SmartEnCity Academy and the Cities4ZERO methodology for integrated planning. Other international tools such as the Smart Cities Information System and much more were also introduced.
Jointly, the participating city representatives also started filling in the City Check-Up Assessment that helps the cities to measure their progress and receive feedback from local experts. Those who did not finish were offered to complete the questionnaire later.
During the second half of the meeting, the floor was given to Elva city who introduced their latest Interreg project (Act Now) and the recent developments in Elva public space. The latter includes the planning and construction of their new central square and renovating the main street and lake-side recreational area. The challenges with citizen engagement and the technical process were also discussed openly, which sparked a lively discussion and enabled the cities to exchange their experiences.
The meeting ended with a joint visit to the central square and with a walk on the newly constructed main street.