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. www.eurocities.eu