Smart City Expo World Congress 2023

Smart City Expo World Congress 2023 is the largest international exhibition for smart city and urban mobility innovations, taking place in Barcelona, Spain, from 7 to 9 November. One of the main themes of this year’s conference is the path towards climate neutrality for European Union cities. Latvia is represented by the municipalities of Rīga and Liepāja, as two of the 100 European Union Climate Missions cities, and the innovation movement VEFRESH. The opportunity to participate in the exhibition is provided by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.

The Smart City Expo World Congress 2023 will be the largest ever and aims to bring together city innovations from around the world and provide an opportunity to learn from the experience of other cities, highlighting the latest solutions in different areas to address the challenges the world faces today.

At the Rīga stand this year, the main  focus will be on these three areas:

– green mobility;

– sustainable energy;

– nature-based solutions;

– data-driven solutions.

Participation in the congress not only provides an opportunity to present Latvia as a country actively developing smart technologies and applying them in  city, but it is also a great platform to build new contacts, find potential partners for transnational project applications, communicate a common approach to the climate mission, as well as learn about the latest innovations and trends in the sector.

Latvia’s stand is part of the largest pavilion at the fair, The Nordics & Baltics pavilion. Rīga City Municipality is represented at the Latvian stand this year by the Rīga City Municipality City Development Department.

Save the Date: November 29 – December 1, 2023. Contribute to a cleaner, smarter, and safer urban mobility landscape by participating in the third Urban Mobility Hackathon!

Hosted by Innovation movement VEFRESH, in collaboration with RTU Science and Innovation CentreRiga City Council, and EIT Urban Mobility, the hackathon promises to be a place for growing innovations. In just 48 hours, local and international teams will come together to create solutions that make cities cleaner, safer, and smarter.

The Urban Mobility Hackathon 2023 focuses on four core challenge areas:

Urban Logistics: Streamlining the movement of goods within cities, reducing congestion, and minimizing environmental impact.

Energy and EV Charging: Finding sustainable energy solutions and enhancing electric vehicle charging infrastructure to promote cleaner transportation.

Smart Grid: Developing intelligent grid systems to efficiently manage energy consumption in urban areas, reducing waste and promoting sustainability.

5G Mobility: Exploring the potential of 5G technology in improving connectivity and communication in urban mobility solutions.

Whether you have a startup, a well-established team, or simply an innovative idea, you are encouraged to participate. Even if you don’t have a team, the organizers will help you find the perfect match to bring your idea to life.

The Urban Mobility Hackathon offers unparalleled opportunities for networking, growth, and a chance to win a share of the EUR 10,000 prize pool. Plus, the potential to pilot your innovative solutions in the real life.

Mark your calendars for November 29 – December 1, 2023. You can join this event from anywhere in the world, as the event will occur online.

Find out more and register now at Let’s work together to create a sustainable and efficient future for urban transportation.

The Baltic Sustainability Awards 2023 has announced the opening of applications and is calling for enterprises, policymakers, and thought leaders championing sustainability across the Baltic region to apply for the Award in six categories. The Awards aim to identify, amplify, and accelerate impactful, sustainable initiatives that could serve as blueprints for meaningful change. The event is regional, but its implications and models are distinctly global.

The six award categories encompass every facet of sustainability – from grassroots efforts to technological advancements and innovations. Now in its third year, the Awards Ceremony and Forum will take place on December 7th in the vibrant city of Riga, graciously supported by its founding partner, Rimi Baltic, along with esteemed partners Luminor, EY, and Riga City Council.

Organisations and individuals are invited to apply in the following categories:

  • Climate Innovation – Initiatives that aim to address the climate crisis by developing innovative solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate the effects of climate change, and promote climate resilience.
  • Circular Economy – Projects that focus on resource efficiency, future food innovations and waste reduction by designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating
  • Energy Technologies – Solutions that accelerate the transition to clean energy by deploying technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, and promote renewable energy sources.
  • Social Initiatives – Endeavours that aim to elevate society’s welfare by addressing social and environmental challenges, promoting social equity and inclusion, and empowering communities.
  • Urban Development – Programmes that envision greener cities, spaces, and mobility by designing sustainable urban systems, promoting green infrastructure, and enhancing urban biodiversity.
  • Sustainability Ambassador – Individuals that inspire others to be more sustainable through actions by promoting sustainable behaviours, advocating for sustainable policies, and leading by example.

The assessment of applications for an award will be conducted by multiple juries consisting of public experts and professionals in the relevant field. The juries will be led by EY Baltic, a leading business advisory firm and the strategic methodology partner for the awards.

“Innovation and collaboration are key to laying the foundation for a society that’s truly future-ready,” emphasizes Annija Emersone, head organizer of the Baltic Sustainability Awards. “The potential of innovation in improving sustainability practices, especially for organizations, cannot be overstated. The Baltic Sustainability Awards aim to identify, amplify, and accelerate impactful, sustainable initiatives that could serve as blueprints for meaningful change, and we expect this year’s applicants to range from community initiatives, to established leaders of industry to agile startups that embody sustainability. Through initiatives like the Baltic Sustainability Awards, organizations can showcase their commitment to sustainability and inspire others to follow suit.”

“For the third year in a row we are looking forward to bringing Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian innovations and initiatives in sustainability to the big stage in Riga, discussing common challenges and ways to overcome them in the Baltic journey towards a better tomorrow,” says Zanda Šadre, Rimi Baltic Corporate Responsibility and Communications director.

The Awards strive to be a pan-Baltic celebration of the best sustainability innovation case studies. In 2022, more than 240 applications were received, and Baltic representation reached its full potential, with 32% of applications coming from Latvia, 29% from Estonia and 33% from Lithuania, and 6% from Baltic-level initiatives. Amongst last year’s finalists, we have sustainability frontrunners like Aerones Engineering, Tet, UP Catalyst, Oxylabs and other meaningful initiatives.

The Baltic Sustainability Awards is open for applications until October 8th at

About Baltic Sustainability Awards

The Baltic Sustainability Awards is an annual event dedicated to recognizing and celebrating outstanding sustainable initiatives in the Baltic region. Now in its third year, the awards seek to inspire and promote sustainability across various sectors, from businesses to policymakers and thought leaders. The theme for this year’s Baltic Sustainability Awards is “It’s Time”, emphasising the urgency to accelerate innovative solutions and act decisively towards creating a sustainable future in the Baltics.

Baltic Sustainability Awards are hosted by Helve together with founding partner Rimi Baltic. The initiative is supported by strategic methodology partner EY Baltic, partners Luminor and Riga City Council. The Baltic Sustainability Awards ceremony will occur at the closing event live at Splendid Palace, Riga on December 7.

For more information, please visit


On October 12, second annual Smart City conference took place, focusing on the role of data in the development of smart cities. The conference was organized by RTU Science and Innovation centre, Tet and innovation movement VEFRESH, with support from Rīga and EIT Urban mobility.

During the conference, the representatives of the Rīga City Council had an opportunity to present various projects and activities in a special presentation session “Harnessing the Potential of Data: How Can Data Help Rīga Become Climate Neutral”.

Rīga is one of the 100 EU mission cities that plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2030. It is both an opportunity and a challenge that facilitates various processes of change. Within the framework of this session, the audience had the possibility to learn about projects in Rīga related to emission monitoring and modeling, the use of geospatial data, the involvement of citizens and the creation of internal support tools.

Jānis Ikaunieks (Rīga Energy Agency) gave presentation on how data can be used for sustainable solutions, Diāna Korbe (City Development Department) presented GEO RIGA: geospatial data platform for everyone, and Edgars Indriksons (Rīga Digital Agency) explained more about the data analytics in Rīga.

Eurocities annual Digital Forum in Riga, a three-day event focused on how cities across Europe are leveraging digitalisation to drive sustainability and usher in a green future. The central question at the heart of the discussions was: How can cities harness digital technologies to build a greener, smarter and safer future?

City leaders emphasized the role of digital technologies, particularly artificial intelligence and augmented reality, in helping citizens visualize the consequences of climate change and the impact of policy decisions. These technologies enable short-term visualization, illustrating how pedestrianized streets, increased tree planting, or new bicycle lanes can transform a city. Empowering citizens with data and data visualization tools is also vital for long-term decision-making. It provides factual support for political decisions, ensuring that residents understand the rationale behind policies and actively participate in shaping the future of their cities.

Riga’s experience managing the city’s testbed also emphasized how crucial it is to involve city residents in developing smart city pilot projects. It highlighted the importance of citizen engagement in fostering urban innovation within the city area.

In November 2002 Riga became an official member of EUROCITIES, cooperation network of major European cities. Today this network brings together the local governments of over 200 cities, covering 130 million citizens across 39 countries. It was founded in 1986 with the goal to develop cooperation among cities in the areas of economics, social affairs, environment, transportation, culture, education, information as well as to foster protection of the cities’ interests in the EU and make up a sustainable vision for future development. Through six thematic forums, a wide range of working groups, activities and events EUROCITIES offers its members a platform for knowledge, ideas, experience exchange and innovative mutual problem solving on European scale.

From 16 to 22 September, the European Mobility Week took place across Europe under the slogan “Save Energy”, encouraging people to choose environmentally friendlier means of transportation.

This year, Rīga organized various thematic events and discussions to draw attention to public transport, electric vehicles, cycling infrastructure and technologies that can improve the urban environment.

On September 18, public discussion “Does Rīga need a low-emissions zone?” took place, inviting experts from the Ministry of Climate and Energy, Riga City Council’s City Development Department, Riga City Council’s Housing and Environment Department, DPD Latvia and NGO City for People to discuss whether, by introducing low-emission zones, Rīga will be able to achieve the set climate goals.

On September 19, together with Baltic Sustainable Mobility Alliance, Latvian Automobile Association, Latvian Electric Vehicle Association, and private automotive businesses the discussion on addressing key e-mobility challenges, notably the role of zero-emission vehicles was discussed.

On September 20, press conference was held in which the Chairman of the Riga City Council Vilnis Ķirsis, the Chairman of the Traffic and Transport Committee Olafs Pulks and the Chairman of the board of “Rīgas satiksme” Džineta Innusa informed about the things that have already been done and future plans to improve the network and user experience of public transport.

On September 21, attention was devoted to cycling infrastructure. Rīga in cooperation with the Dutch Embassy in Latvia invited cycling experts from the Netherlands (Dutch Cycling Embassy, ​​City of Amsterdam and Roelof) to discuss the development of cycling culture and safety in Rīga. Afterwards a public discussion took place together with experts from the Riga Technical University, the Directorate of Road Traffic Safety and the “Safe Streets” society.

At the end of the European Mobility Week in Rīga, on September 22, the innovation movement VEFRESH in cooperation with Rīga and representatives of the private sector Аccenture and “Latvijas Mobilais Telefons” organized a discussion “Real-time city data: when and how real?”, addressing the challenge of how to improve the quality of life in cities using urban monitoring technologies, as well as urban data management and privacy policy issues. Experts from Rīga Digital Agency, Bolt, Tet, and Higher Education and Science IT Shared Service Centre participated in the panel.

To promote the use of public transport while reducing traffic intensity and environmental and air pollution in the city, everyone had the opportunity to use Rīga public transport for free on September 22.