Not one, but two Finnish finalists

Finland always finds itself in one the jumbo positions in the Eurovision Song Contest (with just one exception fortifying the rule, Lordi).

Comforting, then, that at least the country seems to punch above its weight in urban innovation. Latest recognition comes from the European Commission, which has not one, but two Finnish cities among the finalists for the next iCapital, European Innovation Capital. Both Helsinki and Tampere are on the shortlist of ten cities – established national capital vs. frantically growing regional capital. The other eight cities are Aarhus, Berlin, Copenhagen, Nice, Paris, Tallinn, Tel Aviv and Toulouse (tellingly, no UK cities), so it is going to be a tough battle.

The current iCapital, class of 2016, is Amsterdam. I was in the Charles Landry -led selection jury back then. The Finnish applicant was Espoo, whose hermetically inward-looking application did its best to hide the fact that Espoo is one of the three cities forming the Helsinki metropolitan region (sorry, Espoo). In general, cities were yawningly citizen-driven, best of this and that (with varying amount of proof), oh so international, and all over the place.

The shortlisted ones were able to prioritise, concretise and resource their ideas, balancing the big picture with realistic plans – after all, the iCapital award is just a million, and a year is a short time. In the last round the finalists presented their cases to the jury. Best cities managed to tell a believable and genuine story, adding colour to their written proposals and convincing the jury that they do master the content behind the buzzwords. They had also rehearsed their presentations well – an obvious thing, except it wasn’t.

Tampere and Helsinki are driving forces in the pioneering Six City Strategy, one of the last large projects I won while still in Forum Virium Helsinki. I know well the folks from both cities – rather happy to not to be in the jury this time.  Will just put my money on the Finns, either of the two. May the best city win.

iCapital

 

OASC in Barcelona

OASC

Meet the new OASC cities from England, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and take part in the many interactive sessions to learn about the city-driven initiative to create a global smart city market based on simple, open standards at the Smart City Expo. Besides new countries, OASC also welcomes new cities to previous national networks. All cities have signed the OASC Letter of Intent to drive global smart city development based on city needs by implementing three simple standard mechanisms. Third wave brings the total of OASC cities above 70 cities, representing 15 country networks worldwide.

UK hosts launch event

The launch event takes place on November 18, 09.00–09.50 am, at the UK pavilion at the Smart City Expo, Gran Via, hosted by the Future Cities Catapult.

The launch panel speakers will include representatives of the Future Cities Catapult, OASC leadership, the European Commission and cities joining in the 3rd wave. After some introductory remarks, the floor will be open for an interactive Q&A session with the audience.

Apart from the launch, there are many opportunities to meet and engage with the OASC community and leadership. Below is a list of key sessions during the Smart City Expo. You can also meet representatives from OASC cities in many of the other panels.

Looking ahead: Conference, Strategy Forum

The focus of the OASC Task Force is to support the needs of the cities who are already working with the OASC mechanisms, and to inform those who are looking to assess the added value of joining the initiative.

In concrete terms, the Task Force prioritises network support through events and online resources, and technical development through working groups. The network support is targeting topics like technical issues and financing strategies.

The next big OASC event is the Connected Smart Cities Conference on January 21, 2016, in Brussels. Here, the OASC community convenes for a full day of inspiration, learning and networking at an event which is produced in partnership with key stakeholders in the global and European smart cities landscape.

The conference is scheduled back-to-back with the EUROCITIES Knowledge Society Forum and other events, essentially creating a “European smart city week”, so save the week of January 18–22, 2016.

Open & Agile Smart Cities – Smart City Expo World Congress

Tuesday, November 17

11.45–13.00: Juanjo Hierro, OASC Task Force – TE 41 Innovative platforms for multi- stakeholder processes to foster sustainable cities (Room 4).

Wednesday, November 18

09.00–09.50: OASC 3rd Wave Launch – UK Pavilion (Expo Area).
11.30–12.45: Martin Brynskov, OASC Chair – SO 63 Raising resources and creating platforms to develop more equitable cities (Room 6).

Thursday, November 19

11.30–12.45: Jarmo Eskelinen & Catherine Mulligan, OASC Task Force – GO 36 City standards and indicators spreading smart cities (Room 3).