IMAGE: Eric Fecken

Rotterdam realises smart city solutions

through collaborative approach

June 29, 2021


By Schuyler Cowan

Officer, Communications and Member Relations, ICLEI Europe


While this investment in renewable energy is undoubtedly impressive, it is not unique in a district that is rapidly developing a name for itself as a nucleus of smart city experiments and solutions.



With a never-ending assortment of sustainable, intelligent initiatives designed to revitalise the Heart of South, many are wondering what drives this incredible commitment to resilient innovation?


Underscoring partnerships to implement progress


At the heart of the Heart of South’s pioneering approach to improving citizens’ quality of life and reducing environmental impact lies a critical ingredient: partnership.



These coalitions extend across sectors and across local and national borders. Internationally, Rotterdam acts as a ‘Smart City Lighthouse’, alongside Umeå and Glasgow, guiding three other European cities – Parma, Brno and Gdansk – in an effort to exchange best practices and implement smart solutions with the support of the EU Commission. These lessons are then amplified on an international scale in partnership with the city network ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.


More locally, the municipality cooperates closely with Ahoy, RET, KPN, Future Insight, Uniresearch, TNO, Ballast Nedam/Heijmans, Erasmus University, and more –  all uniting around a common vision of creating a smart, resilient city.


Becoming a smart city


In a district that has faced socio-economic challenges the desire to realise sustainable, smart solutions is vital.


With the RUGGEDISED consortium serving as a symbol of partner-powered smart city solutions, the Heart of South has witnessed a leap in efforts to develop and innovate sustainable technologies, such as Ahoy’s decision to install solar panels on its new convention centre. In total, the City and its partners are installing almost 20.000m2 of solar panels in the Heart of South, including on top of a local theatre and public transport hub, as well as on residential buildings.


In fact, this very example presented itself as yet another opportunity for collaboration: Ahoy is utilising the Simaxx software, a tool deployed through a RUGGEDISED smart city project, to optimise its energy consumption and production.


Solar energy continues to be generated at various locations in the Heart of South beyond both the scope of Ahoy and RUGGEDISED.


Promoting a spirit of cooperation instead of competition has transformed the Heart of South into a “living lab” for smart city experiments. It seems that the real difference between simply implementing smart solutions and actually being a smart city is how one chooses to get there.



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