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10 reasons why #SS4C17 in Budapest was awesome

Yana Pargova, Project Manager, GOPA Com.
11 October 2017

Smart cities are engaged cities. So said Usman Haque from Umbrellium in his keynote at the Empowering smart solutions for better cities conference on 2 & 3 October in Budapest.

The same thing goes for events.

2 days. 40 speakers. 150 participants. 150 stories told. 30 successes shared. 11 challenges solved. Outstanding engagement.  

Here are 10 reasons why it was awesome.


A shared passion for better cities and a ‘making it happen’ ethos is what brought us to Budapest. We kicked off our two day conference or, more appropriately, our unconference with participants networking like they never had before. #SS4C17 was no ordinary event.




The audience was indeed extraordinary! True experts from the smart city world – technology developers implementing smart solutions across the whole city spectrum, urban planners, architects, scientists, city officers, financial experts, strategists, citizen engagers, communication specialists. We had the expertise in the audience, which made for truly meaningful conversations and invaluable contacts.




We spent two days in interactive sessions with incredible story-telling on successes and challanges. The participants were in the driver’s seat and contributed their ideas, co-created solutions and generated impressive outcomes. 150 people agreed on 13 focus areas and key factors for successful replication of innovation in each of them.




We featured 30 success stories of cities, projects and solutions across Europe in two rounds of parallel sessions. There was nothing traditional about that – spread across the room, the sessions happened in front of small groups of participants allowing for in-depth learning, conversations and collaboration.




The charismatic Usman Haque from Umbrellium – a collective of architects, designers, tactical urbanists and creative technologists based in London – pushed us to embrace complexity, unpredicability, diversity in our cities. ‘Taking risks leads to unexpectedness and this is where innovation happens! At its best, urban technology is not about efficiency, it's about connecting together. By connecting together people, places, things, neighbours, neighbourhooods, you build in agency, accomplishment, responsibility, ownership, engagement.’

Off stage he rushed back to London to launch a sensor-packed pedestrian crossing responsive to the movement of vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. Is this engaged enough? 




The Smart walking tour of Budapest took 70 walking enthusiasts to visit and learn more about the Smart City Budapest initiative, the Heart of Budapest programme, the Zoo geothermal project, and the smart building of Central European University.  




On the panel: deputy mayors and city representatives working on smart city and urban planning strategies from Gothenburg, Bilbao, Brno, Warsaw and the host city Budapest discussed what makes a city smart and how to get there. 



Mina and Toni from Simply Draw it Big joined us to visually represent all ideas, exchanges and visions shared and born at the conference. Have a look at the outcomes of the two days in the hands of Toni. 




Networking at the event was powered by Poken – an interactive USB device - exchange contacts by a simple tap with another device and all the people you met are securely kept in one place way after the event has finished.




Everyone received a best practice book with examples of great smart city projects from 80 cities across Europe including technological approach, impact, lessons learned, challenges solved.



And that is why #SS4C17 was awesome. A massive thank you to all who participated and see you at the next engaged event!


Here are the outcomes of the two days or, as we call them, visual minutes. 

Have a look at all photos from the conference here

See the event story on social media here: #SS4C17 | DAY 1 & #SS4C17 | DAY 2 

Insterested in the sucess stories presentations? You can find them here. 

Yana Pargova works as a Project Manager at GOPA Com., where she has been involved in smart cities projects such as the Smart Cities Information System (SCIS) and the Horizon 2002 lighthouse project SMARTER TOGETHER. Currently, she is managing a wide range of communication activities for SCIS such as strategy, content creation, digital communication and community management, events, media and partner relations. Prior to that Yana has worked as a Project & Communication Officer in the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized enterprises (EASME) and in DG Interpretation at the European Commission.

Yana holds a Master’s degree in Virtual Culture with a focus on digital communication and design and a Bachelor’s in Cultural Studies from Sofia University, including a year specialising in Film and Media in the University of Copenhagen. Before moving to Brussels, she spent several years working as a Communication Manager of contemporary art, design, dance, and music projects and festivals in Bulgaria, while also covering the urban and cultural life of Sofia as a journalist.

Yana is interested in the creative industries and their power to boost the economy, increase citizen engagement and transform our urban space. You can get in touch with her on