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Innovation via sustainable technological solutions is the one way to respond to the major challenge cities are faced with today: an optimum service provision for citizens with an emphasis on mobility, security, the environment and energy management. To facilitate this, cities and towns must be able to rely on research conducted by academic institutions. That is how the idea of a Smart City Institute came about: a collaboration between professors and researchers, private and public partners, such as Proximus, and experts.
Under the leadership of Professor Nathalie Crutzen, the Smart City Institute got its very own City Venture Lab. This lab is currently running twelve promising business projects billed to provide an answer to the challenges of tomorrow. Take ‘Sibii’, for instance, a project that will offer tourists an innovative way to discover cities via gamification or ‘Tracko’, which will turn tracking city bikes into child’s play.
Aside from this, at the beginning of this year, 300 students in their final year at HEC-Ulg were given the challenge of developing a project on smart cities. Two themes were on offer: good governance and better ways of living together. Five of the about fifty projects submitted caught the attention of the Smart City Institute.
With this initiative, the Smart City Institute wants to actively support cities in their quest for smart solutions. Quite a number of Belgian cities have embraced the smart-cities movement already and can proudly call themselves ‘smart city’ thanks to technology and their efficient service provision. Take Aarschot with its smart parking app, for one, where drivers can now find a free parking spot via their smartphone. Do check out these and other initiatives on the Proximus YouTube channel and on kanaal Z (channel Z).
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