Zagreb (HR) - Breaking down silos in smart city administration
Since 2002, Urbact has been the European Territorial Cooperation Programme to promote integrated and sustainable urban development in cities in the Member States of the European Union, Norway and Switzerland. Urbact is an instrument of cohesion policy, financed by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and the Member States.
Urbact is a European programme of exchanges and learning between cities whose objective is to develop solutions to major urban challenges. By networking European cities, strengthening skills and capitalising on good practices, it supports public decision-makers and actors in the field to develop sustainable solutions that integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of urban development.
Following on from the Urbact I and II programmes, Urbact III continues to promote integrated and sustainable urban development and contributes to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.
To download : urbact-citystories-zagreb.pdf (530 KiB)
Through its participation in the URBACT SmartImpact network, Zagreb has initiated 11 projects within one Integrated Action Plan aiming to deliver a systemic approach to becoming an increasingly ‘smart city’. The actions will be monitored and improved on an ongoing basis as part of the overall development strategy of the city.
Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and enjoys a diverse economy melding strong cultural and architectural heritage with modern high-tech industries and service sector. The city has developed several strategies to become an increasingly ‘smart city’, including a ‘Sustainable Energy Action Plan’, ‘ICT System and e-Governance Development Strategy’ and ‘Open Data Portal’.However, the various smart city initiatives remained relatively unconnected. Mirjana Zubak, Head of Office for EU Programmes and Projects in Zagreb City Authority, explains that “The SmartImpact network came… at the right time [for us] when we started to think about how we could introduce a systemic approach to smart city development in the city of Zagreb… allow[ing] us to more effectively apply smart city development initiatives and activities.
Facilitating a multi-disciplinary approach An important step in the development of action ideas was to bring the most relevant partners together to scope out the vision and needs. These formed an URBACT Local Group that worked on project strands, each initiated by multi-disciplinary teams comprising representatives of the city authority, Zagreb Development Agency, Zagreb University, scientific and research centres, incubation centres/hubs, companies and consultants.As Anka Đurić, Head of Department ‘Analysis and Business Process Improvement’ in Zagreb city authority and URBACT Local Group coordinator, says, “With some starting challenges, the overall experience [of the URBACT Local Group] was positive. It was a process that led to mutual learning and growth of participants corresponding to their level of involvement.”
A living-lab-type action plan
The work of the URBACT Local Group developed 11 project initiatives that together form the Zagreb SmartImpact Integrated Action Plan (see below). “The Integrated Action Plan produced in this way has a strong sense of ownership among its creators, which is a good precondition for its implementation in future,” highlights Ms Đurić. The Plan does not focus on technological solutions so much as governance structures, processes, financing, and models of regulations and incentives to deliver a smarter city. It is closely aligned with the official ‘City of Zagreb Development Strategy for the period to 2020’.
Importantly, the actions will be implemented and continuously monitored and improved by the same multi-stakeholder team that developed the idea as part of a ‘living-lab’ style approach. The city has also committed to ensure that the system of regulations and incentives is adapted to make it supportive of the new models being developed.Implementation is further supported by integration of the action plan into Zagreb’s existing Digital Business Platform (ARIS), which maps and monitors projects and processes. According to Anka Đurić, this has “brought an additional quality to the Integrated Action Plan by identifying and mapping interconnections and integrative components of all IAP projects, from infrastructure, resources, stakeholder-outreach and usability perspectives.”
Real transnational learning
The URBACT Local Group members benefitted from exchange and learning with each other, but also with representatives of the partner cities. Ms. Đurić explains: “Group members with specific knowledge and experience participated in transnational meetings which covered specific themes within the project… Those [exchanges] gave them new ideas on how to establish better cooperation with local stakeholders [and]… how to deliver some desired activities.”Mirjana Zubak enthuses: “One of the biggest motivations to be involved in this project was a great network - ten cities at different levels of development in [different aspects]. I think we learned a lot from each other.” Anka Đurić highlights the value of collecting best practices on the use of new business models and technologies, such as the ‘Porto Innovation Hub’, Eindhoven’s ‘Smart Society Data Charter’ and ‘Smart Guadalajara - Using Technology to Support Service Delivery’.
Zagreb SmartImpact Integrated Action Plan 11 initiatives Organisational Development
1. Improve city authority organisational structures and processes for the provision of smart city services.
2. Engage citizens and local stakeholders in local innovation processes, including through a defined co-creation process and online platform. Data Governance & Integration
3. Create an ‘Intelligent platform’ for managing city authority interactions with businesses, citizens and other administrative bodies.
4. Establish an Intelligent Cyber Security System to protect the city’s digital services
5. Implement an effective data protection system
6. Develop an artificial intelligence ‘zAgI Virtual City Officer’ to respond to citizens 24/7
7. Improve the IT systems (including user platform) of the Zagreb Holding group, which provides utility, energy and other services to citizens, businesses and visitors.
8. Use an Energy Atlas - showing the spatial characteristics of energy consumption - to enable new smart city planning decisionsSupporting Local Innovation Ecosystems
9. Create an innovation-focused business incubator and accelerator ‘Digital Stream Zagreb’ linking city authorities with research institutions, companies, NGOs and citizens.
10. Develop new business models for reconstruction of a more ecological and energy-efficient public lighting systemSmart Finance and Procurement
11. Build a new strategic framework for financing and public procurement of innovative solutions