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Citizens co-create sustainable cities

OrganiCity is an EU project that brings together leading European smart cities. The objective is to create sustainable cities through civic participation.

OrganiCity is an EU project with 7.2m Euro in funding that puts people at the centre of the development of future cities. The project brings together three leading smart cities and a total of 15 consortium members with great diversity in skills and experience.

The Alexandra Institute contributes expertise on smart cities, IoT, big data, community engagement (such as hackatons) and thorough knowledge of data mining, among other things.

Facts about OrganiCity

  • Total budget: 7.2m Euro
  • A total of 15 partners in the project, which runs for three years
  • Central cities: Aarhus, London and Santander
  • Two open calls will be made for citizen-driven experiments based on the Organicity platform in 2016 and 2017
  • 1.8m Euro is allocated directly for an estimated 25-35 experiments.

Read more about the project at

Start date: 01-01-2015 / End date: 31-12-2017

According to United Nations projections, seven out of ten people worldwide will be living in cities by 2050. Together with a comprehensive move towards digital technologies, this development puts cities under tremendous pressure.

OrganiCity is a close collaboration among Aarhus, London and Santander – three cities that all have extensive experience of using smart city technologies. However, technology is not enough. An important element of the OrganiCity project is to provide a technology platform for all those interested in working together to create sustainable and smart urban environments.

One way of enabling civic participation and co-creation is to give businesses, people from academia, and everyone else interested access to big data on the urban environment. The city of Aarhus is already experienced in making open data available on the city’s platform, which is one of the initiatives that the city of Aarhus contributes to the project.

Smart Cities has become the catchall term for cities that pursue intelligent urban development by combining the physical space with the digital. This project will borrow from this powerful approach, and build on progress being made across Europe, while keeping a razor-sharp focus on citizen engagement and co-creation.

Traditionally, smart city initiatives have promised solutions within individual sectors, such as transport, health and climate. However, we cannot solve the challenges through initiatives confined to each sector. In the emerging digital ecosystem, it is essential that we break with the ’silo’ mindset. The project considers civic participation and co-creation to be as important as technology solutions. Therefore, 1.8m Euro (one quarter of the entire budget) is reserved directly for citizen-driven experiments.

There are many benefits of involving citizens in urban development: Citizens have unique knowledge about their own community, which is a valuable resource for solving specific problems in their everyday lives. Furthermore, engaged citizens are more likely to take ownership of activities and projects in the city, which ultimately supports sustainable development.

The stage is set for cooperation and participation, for collaborative city experiments developed with – and at the initiative of – citizen groups, organisations, authorities and businesses.

The Alexandra Institute has started two PhD projects on OrganiCity. They are to publish a number of scientific papers, and we expect that the knowledge acquired can be used in future projects at the Alexandra Institute.

Citizens, companies and researchers work together to create smart urban environments.

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Specialist Smart Urban Designer
Data Science and Engineering Lab
+45 22 41 02 92
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