Integrative Smart City Planning
The InSMART project brought together cities and scientific and industrial organisations in order to implement a comprehensive model addressing a city’s current and future energy needs through an integrative and multidisciplinary planning approach. This approach identified the optimum mix of short, medium and long-term measures for a sustainable energy future, addressing the efficiency of energy flows across various city sectors with regards to economic, environmental and social criteria, and paving the way towards the actual implementation of priority actions.
This has been tested in the cities of Trikala (Greece), Cesena (Italy), Evora (Portugal) and Nottingham (United Kingdom) with the support of technical specialists from the four countries. The process involved gathering local data, then using it in state-of-the-art computer modelling tools (for buildings and transport) to develop plausible future energy scenarios. The scenarios are tested and refined through a series of carefully weighted criteria to ensure they are economically, environmentally and socially acceptable.
InSMART approached the urban challenges of energy and climate by considering the city energy system as an integrated network of energy flows connecting energy providers with buildings, public spaces, transport and utilities, while taking into account spatial differentiation. Using a detailed characterisation of a local energy system, with simulation tools and the active participation of decision-makers and stakeholders, is the cornerstone of the InSMART Integrated City Energy Planning Framework.
InSMART has paved the way towards the implementation of an optimum mix of measures, using multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) involving different stakeholders from city planning bodies to private services in four European cities. The four cities involved, with specific and complex systems, received detailed insights about their own specific goals, through the application of the InSMART framework analysis.
The InSMART project tools, experiences and achievements may facilitate and support the deployment of local sustainable solutions and decision-making in cities across Europe, contributing to the realisation of the EU’s energy and climate goals.
The InSMART project developed a new methodology for sustainable energy planning for municipalities in European cities. The methodology offers cities an integrated and participatory process to examine all the energy consumption sectors together with potential local energy generation options and come up with a smart development plan for energy that is supported by all stakeholders.
It consists of seven steps:
- Step 1: Include all the local stakeholders in the planning process.
- Step 2: Model building energy consumption.
- Step 3: Analyse urban mobility needs.
- Step 4: Deepen understanding of energy use in other sectors.
- Step 5: Use GIS technology to store and disseminate data.
- Step 6: Implement ‘energy systems modelling’ for integrated solutions.
- Step 7: Deliver and disseminate concrete medium-term action plans.
This common methodology was adopted by all while retaining each city’s own specific opportunities and challenges. Along the implementation process, the collaboration among the four cities allowed the comparison of problems and solutions in a continuous learning process that proved effective for the conclusion of a technically robust and socially acceptable energy plan for each city.
The methodology is freely available to use in any city by the municipality and its local stakeholders. It can be integrated into the process of developing a Sustainable Energy Action Plan or a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan by municipalities participating in the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, and offers the advantage of concrete scientific approaches in local energy planning.