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Invited Session 2

Wednesday, 23 September 2020 | 15:00 - 17:00 |


Digital transformation and technological trends in cities

Nowadays, people live an increasingly digital life, both in the private and the public sphere, and the role of digitalisation is growing rapidly. The current state of digitalisation of cities and local municipalities in Europe is very diverse, revealing a "digital divide" that exists between local municipalities across the EU member states but also within them. Large cities tend to be at the forefront of digitalisation due to higher demand for more complex services and interactions, and their capacities to develop and provide those services. Towns and smaller cities tend to cover a narrower range of services digitally.

The session is based on the results of the work of the Digital Transition Partnership of the Urban Agenda for the EU (DTP) that aims at supporting European cities in exploiting the possibilities of digitalisation and decreasing the existing "digital divide" between cities in Europe. DTP is a voluntary multilevel working group of organisations involved in or influencing local level digital governance, including representatives from urban authorities, EU member states, European Commission, EU authorities and umbrella organisations and knowledge organisations. DTP has worked since 2017 to find solutions to most pressing challenges urban authorities in Europe face in digitalisation, e.g. helping cities undertake practical steps in their digital transformation, to support cities with agile experimentation of new emerging technologies, etc.

The session's purpose is to share and discuss some of the more current topics the partnership works on that are relevant both for the municipalities which are only starting their digital transformation and also to those working with more advanced themes, such as data-driven services and utilising new emerging technologies.


  • Assist local municipalities in the digitalisation of public services and decision-making processes and underlying administrative procedures.
  • Share experiences and practices in the digital transformation between both the developed cities with access to human and financial resources and smaller municipalities with a scarce budget and human resources.
  • Support local municipalities in the use of new emerging technologies (such as AI and IoT) in the provisioning of public services and the decision-making process.
  • Contribute to the capacity-building in cities to plan and implement their digitalisation initiatives.
  • Present a practical strategy for citizen-centred digital services in Europe.
  • Present the digitalisation business model approach for cities and discuss its benefits and possible uptake with the audience.
  • Present the digital neighbourhood instrument and discuss with the audience how to include everyone in society into the digital transformation processes.
  • Discuss attempts and constraints in Europe to elaborate a local digital performance index for measuring digitalisation of economy and society at the municipal level.
  • Discuss scaling up well-working or most innovative local digital solutions globally.


The session lasts 2 hours, with a maximum of one hour of presentations on different aspects related to the digital transformation of local municipalities, following with the minimum of one hour of moderated discussion together with the panellists and, more importantly, with the audience. The presentations will cover different aspects related to the use of digital technologies in local municipalities, including:

  • Towards an ecosystem for digital transition. A practical strategy for citizen-centred digital services for Europe.
  • Digitalisation business model for cities to exploit benefits from digitalisation, accompanied by an electronic tool.
  • Digital neighbourhood instrument and tools to ensure that no-one is left behind by digital transformation.
  • Upscaling digital urban innovations. Context, principles, practices.


Kadri Jushkin
Ministry of Finance
Eva Hveem
Helsingborg Library
Hillen Oost
Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG)
Nele Leosk
IGL World Group
Sari Perätalo
University of Oulu
Wim De Kinderen
City of Eindhoven