Estonian SmartEnCity Network activity update15 Sep 2020
The Estonian SmartEnCity Network is heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but it is trying to pick up pace again.
The last meeting of the Estonian Smart Cities Club took place on 12 March 2020 with participants from the cities of Tartu, Elva, Rakvere and Valga. Due to the escalating pandemic situation, many city representatives decided not to participate. The meeting was also attended by members of the local SmartEnCity project team – the Institute of Baltic Studies, Tartu Regional Energy Agency, the University of Tartu and Smart City Lab.
The meeting focused on available smart city tools and opportunities with a special focus on the tools developed in the SmartEnCity project: Cities4ZERO methodology and SmartEnCity Academy. The hosting city, Elva, also introduced their latest project Act Now and the developments in urban planning that have been made. After the meeting, the participants went on a tour of the newly renovated Elva central square and Kesk street.
As the following months were spent working remotely, IBS proposed to have video call with the Smart Cities Club in June to catch up on latest progress and how work is progressing despite the crisis. Unfortunately, the interest in such a meeting was low especially due to beginning vacation times and the fact that cities had been dealing with pandemic crisis management and the event was cancelled, however, interest remained to meet up in the autumn.
It is likely, however, that the autumn meeting will be held virtually as well to minimize the health risk to the participants and to adhere to governmental recommendations. To make the virtual meeting as valuable as possible, the topic will be chosen together with the participants and if necessary, external speakers will be included. The meeting will be organized in an engaging and interactive manner that fosters joint discussion as has been customary for previous in-person meetings. The autumn event will be planned for October or November. If the health crisis permits, joint study trips and visits will be planned for future dates as well.