Smart and sustainable Tampere awarded in China

City of Tampere’s strategic goal to build a smart and sustainable future was acknowledged in Ningbo, China.

Tampere was selected by Chinese committee of experts to be awarded a prize for the STARDUST project and the objective of being carbon-neutral by 2030. Euro-China Green and Smart City Summit and the award event was organized in Ningbo China September 6th to 8th 2018 and Tampere was one of the 16 European cities to get the recognition.

On September 5th Sanna-Mari Huikuri from City of Tampere’s sustainable urban development unit and Maarit Vehviläinen from STARDUST project, Smart Tampere, started they journey to Ningbo that is located about 220 kilometers south from Shanghai and has ~8 million inhabitants. Official program in China started with Business matchmaking event organized by Global Intelligent Economy Summit. Summit was part of the Smart City Expo China 2018 event.

European guests got an invitation to the festive expo opening ceremony and got a guided tour through the huge halls with exhibitors from different technology areas. With a theme of "digital-driven intelligent development" the expo offered a platform for dialogues, business matchmaking and co-operation in the smart economy sector and promoted the digital development in China. Lot of local companies and universities present but also global big players showed there Smart City solutions.

Chinese traditional industry is now looking for solutions to make their production and processes smarter and leaner. The Expo was filled with robots and digital platforms and artificial intelligence that will be shaping the traditional industry in China. Smart economy was raised in many presentations in the expo opening ceremony and the same theme continued in the award ceremony where Chinese described their smart solutions, electric mobility systems and use of AI. Mobile applications are in a big role in digital guiding technology and helping people’s everyday life.

Even though the smart technical and digital solutions were in the leading role, there was a clear tendency towards green and sustainable solutions, energy efficiency and interest towards European projects and their challenges. Horizon2020 projects were well present and in addition to STARDUST, Triangulum (Stavanger), IRIS (Alexandroupolis) and GrowSmarter (Stockholm, Cork) told about the targets and visions of the projects. Sustainable Tampere roadmap, STARDUST project and Smart Tampere were more detailed presented by Maarit Vehviläinen who participated also the panel discussion talk about Smart City characteristic models. Even though there are characteristics differences like climate conditions the ultimate goals such as environmental, economic and social sustainability remains the same in the projects. Also the challenges in the cities tend to be similar. There is a need for habit changes and political will but yet limited amount of time.

Overall the event sparked a thought that if we were to combine experiences from European energy efficient, sustainable and most of all scalable business models and projects, and Chinese smart technology and 1.5 billion inhabitants, we could really make solutions that make a difference for the future generations and the Earth.

Euro-China Green and Smart City Summit was organized by Fondation Prospective & Innovation, a public interest foundation headed by the former French Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin in partnership with the European Commission and the China Center for Urban Development.