First Workshop on B2G Data Sharing in Cities, 5 May 2021

Modern city image with IoT and data ©metamorworks - iStock
07 May 2021

This first in a series of 5 workshops on B2G data sharing in cities was held on 5 May, setting the scene for an open, peer-to-peer discussion among EU cities on their experiences of business-to-government (B2G) data sharing and how to scale up these practices in cities and regions across Europe. The workshop welcomed over 30 EU city representatives and representatives from various services of the European Commission and was moderated by Federica Bordelot from Eurocities.

Federica Bordelot highlighted the ever-increasing need of cities and communities to access privately held data to design new policies and provide high quality services to citizens. She also pointed to the need to scale up good practices. The community, which brings together over 90 cities, regions and communities as well as supporters to scale up urban digital solutions, is working to support cities to do this. that next to governance and support a clear regulatory framework is needed.

Johan Bodenkamp, DG CNECT, European Commission, presented the policy context. A variety of initiatives is underway by the Commission to facilitate the free flow of data based on EU values and fair and clear rules, as set out European Data Strategy. A number of legislative instruments are either under negotiation or in the pipeline. These include the Data Governance Act, the Digital Markets Act the High Value Datasets Implementing Act and the upcoming Data Act on which a public consultation will soon open. The Commission will also support the establishment of sectoral data-spaces in high priority areas. For cities, the data space for climate neutral and smart communities (part of the EU Green Deal Data Space) will be highly relevant. The data spaces will allow access to and use of data under agreed rules.

Marina Micheli, JRC, European Commission, presented a study conducted as part of the DigiTranscope project to identify and analyse existing models of data sharing in cities. B2G data sharing models identified included Data Donorship, Public Procurement, Data sharing Pools and Contractual Clauses. She presented the advantages and challenges associated with each of these, and obstacles to their scaling up at European level.

Ron van der Lans, City of Amsterdam, outlined the fact that organisational, legal and cultural challenges, rather than technical issues are the biggest obstacles to greater B2G data-sharing. Appropriate governance (agile, with the ability to scale), change management, political and financial support, and a clear regulatory framework are required. While local government have vast quantities of datasets at their disposal, these are typically static, and therefore not up-to-date, and are of varying quality.  He spoke about the usefulness to cities of certain types of data held by platform economy companies, and how sharing data with them can be mutually beneficial.

When it comes to collaborating with companies, certain challenges present themselves. Companies used to working in a B2B context may not be aware of the specific needs of a public administration. They may not be familiar with the local, national or European legal context. Working methods can be different, with certain expectations in terms of agility and responsiveness. Ron presented an in-depth case study on B2G data sharing on tunnel closures for better traffic management. This experience has also led to a scaling-up with a national network of Dutch cities acting as an intermediary or data hub, exchanging data in both directions with private sector entities.

Alessandra Barbieri and Chiara Lorenzini, City of Florence, presented Florence’s experience in bringing together various players in a smart city context to enable data sharing through the creation of a ‘Smart City Control Room’ (SCCR).  The SCCR brings together service operators (the city, police department, parking and road management, public transport and utilities) and service providers (mobility operators, taxi companies, tourist bus companies, logistic operators, etc.). Data is shared amongst the parties based on a combination of contractual obligations for service operators (with the Tuscany region or the City of Florence) and mutual data sharing agreements with platform companies. Concrete use cases relating to the mobility sector were presented and challenges and limitations identified.

A discussion was held in which the importance of partnership was emphasised: bilateral partnerships between cities and companies, multilateral - where data is shared among all those in the partnership, and partnerships between cities working together to scale up B2G data sharing.

Presentations and workshop report.

See here for information on how to register and the dates of future workshop.

The next workshop will take place on 19 May 10.00-11.30 CET and will focus on data sharing in the mobility sector. 

Agenda for the 19th May Workshop Towards green, smart and affordable mobility services in cities and communities:


  • Welcome and introduction by moderator – Federica Bordelot, policy advisor, Eurocities (10 mins.)


  • Towards green, smart and affordable mobility services in cities and communities: lessons learned from B2G mobility data sharing


    • Use case from city of Barcelona (15 mins)
    • Use case from city of Venice, managing authority, (15 mins)
    • Use case from city of Dublin (tbc) (15 mins)


  • Q&A (30 mins)


  • Conclusion and next steps (5 mins.)


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