European platform Living-in.EU recognized with funding to reach and support more cities and regions in their digital development

Two people working behind a computer

Paula Graafland
sr. communication advisor VNG (NL)

The Hague, Netherlands – The European Commission will invest two million euro over the next four years in the development of the Living-in.EU platform. This platform serves the cause “improving the quality of life for 300 million European citizens by the year 2025 using digital solutions”. European cities and regions register and sign the declaration that other European cities and regions can stand upon their shoulders and learn from digital solutions they are using.

The platform is led by Eurocities and will work with the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL), Open and Agile Smart Cities (OASC) and the European Commission to increase the growth of cities and regions joining the declaration. The platform collects and brings together experiences from all over Europe. A collaboration of multiple layers (local, regional, national and European) enables cities to shape necessary changes on a local level. All of this will be done with the latest insights from the European Commission and examples from other European cities and regions.

Need for a platform like this

We don’t have to tell anyone anymore these days that digital solutions are going at rocket speed and that they’re here to stay. And it’s not going to surprise anyone either that it’s a hard job keeping up with that speedy development, let alone to make sure organizations are able to implement the right tools. Each city and region have their own priorities. An urban city looking to house all their citizens have other priorities then a rural region facing drought issues. It’s common sense to choose some digital solutions fitting the most urgent matters. By doing this, there’s a natural way of becoming an expert in specific fields. Yet, this doesn’t take away the urgency to also look for digital solutions facing other big societal issues. “The financial support that we now receive from the European Commission for Living-in.EU is a great encouragement that we are taking the right turn by looking for ways to improve collaboration” says Rian van Dam (member of the commission information society at VNG and mayor of Hollands Kroon).

This is where the platform steps in. By growing the community of cities and regions to an environment where they will get information from ánd bring information to the other participants. A Dutch city can be very experienced using a certain digital solution so it’s well able to perform the expert role and serve other cities with their story. At the same time, the experience of a Spanish region with years and years of implementing digital solutions in drought problems can be very interesting for a Dutch region facing this new kind of issue. The more cities and regions that are connected, the more each participant can take advantage of the experiences of the others. And we can make hay while the sun shines: it’s also nice to have a big crowd to share your story so others can learn from it. The investment enables new tools to be developed so cities and regions can act quick and effective -on local level- on the big social issues.

The start of Living in EU

Living-in.EU started in 2019 by the declaration ‘Join, Boost, Sustain’, launched during the Finnish presidency of the EU in Oulo. Two years laters over 100 cities, regions and countries partnered in the declaration of the platform. Living-in.EU focusses on a few theme’s that are key for growth and help shape the practical tools. Examples of this are, amongst others, insight in laws, financial options and the latest technical standards. To centralize the social issues, we work with mission projects like the local digital twins.

 

VNG has been involved from the day the platform started. It wants to work on further shaping the platform and grow the work that’s already been done to enable more cities to profit from the digital solutions we are all using already. Even though VNG is now handing over to Eurocities, it will be involved over the next few years to help connect as many Dutch cities to Living-in.EU as possible.

Van Dam continues: “This investment will help to further build the community In Europe. A recently rewarded fund for the start of the Dutch Societal Innovation Hub (DSIH) will help to build the community within the Netherlands. These two platforms are closely related and VNG is happy to see that the European Commission will support them both.”

Becoming a member

It’s not an easy job to stay in the loop on all that is happening in the digital world. We encourage you to make a choice and reach out to other cities and regions. This way nobody needs to stand alone in this digitale decade we’re embarking in. Read and sign the Living-in.EU declaration and join us at the GovTech Summit on November first. During the event you’ll be inspired and informed on the latest you need to know ánd the declaration will be signed live by several cities and regions in the presence of euro commissioner Thierry Breton. Make sure you won’t miss out on anything and join the Living-in.EU community today.

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