Smart City Update from Aarhus: Flipping the Smart City mindset

The Smart City must be driven by the city's challenges – not technology. That is the mantra of Smart Aarhus’ new strategy, where technology isn’t implemented for the sake of technology, but because it makes sense.

In August 2021 a new strategy for Smart Aarhus was launched. The strategy sets the framework for Smart Aarhus’ work with the digitization of Aarhus Municipality. Where Smart City initiatives have previously tended to be technology-driven, Smart Aarhus instead strives to make challenges the new starting point.

” We’ve flipped the traditional Smart City mindset. Instead of having technology as a starting point, we start by looking at the problems and challenges we face in the city. Then we consider whether tech can be a part of the solution,” says Smart City coordinator Line Gerstrand.

In the new strategy for Smart Aarhus six concrete challenges that are vital to solve for the city have been chosen as the foundation of Aarhus’ Smart City work going forward. The six challenges are listed below.

Business-critical challenges:

  • We must transform into a CO2-neutral City by 2030.
  • We must strengthen our focus on value for and with citizens and companies​.
  • We must help citizens to be more self-reliant in the social and health area​.
  • We must bring digital learning tools into action​.
  • We must create more coherent solutions for the employment area​.
  • We must strengthen our digital foundation​.

An action plan to keep focus

Alongside the new strategy there is an action plan with 15 concrete initiatives. This is to keep Smart Aarhus focused on certain projects and initiatives, that are part of the answer to some of the abovementioned challenges. This action plan is to be reviewed once a year – as some projects might change a lot in this timespan, while others that require attention might surface.

For example, part of the current focus in the action plan is on an energy management project, where data of energy and water supply for public buildings are monitored and used to pinpoint buildings, that can be optimized according to energy and water usage etc. This project is then a part of the solution to the challenge “We must transform into a CO2-neutral City by 2030”. However, it is also giving Smart Aarhus a wider understanding of how data can be sorted, analyzed, and turned into insights, which is part of strengthening the digital foundation – yet another of the six challenges.

The current action plan runs until summer 2022, where it will be reviewed and renewed. It has however already proven necessary to implement yet another project in the current action plan, which illustrates the everchanging nature of working with Smart Cities in general.

 

Read the strategy here (only available in Danish).