On October 2017 the Smart City project MAtchUP was launched, and its members met for the first time in Valencia, at the kick-off meeting. Two years later, the Spanish city hosted a new meeting and welcomed MAtchUP partners from all Europe. Fortunately, things have progressed and two years’ worth of hard work seems to be paying off.
Let’s start by saying that Valencia has been declared as the first Spanish City 100% Smart, thanks to its digital Platform Vlci. Integrating altogether the main local services, this ICT tool will boost the quality of life of its citizens, cut the city expenses and improve its efficiency. And this is just one of its success stories.
To make the most out of this meeting, MAtchUP organised its first study tour featuring the good practices and innovative solutions implemented in Valencia. Doing so will foster their replicability potential among the follower cities and the partners. Other Spanish stakeholders as well were invited to join the tour and to meet the MAtchUP team.
The group, guided by the project coordinator Ernesto Faubel from Ajuntamiento de Valencia, had the chance to visit the most successful experiences of the city of Valencia in the mobility, energy and ICT sector. They first went to the Traffic Management room where the group witnessed more than 3,000 detectors running. These are monitored constantly thereby providing real time traffic information and efficient and safe traffic control for all road users.
They were then presented with tools and mechanisms focused on citizen participation being implemented by the Participatory Budget Project “Decidim València”. These included, dialogue and digitalization, decentralisation, and co-designed working groups.
The group’s visit was followed by the “Federico Garcia Lorca” Public Primary School, a participant of the MAtchUP 50/50 Programme: remember that children are our future and the planet’s! This programme is a resource-saving action focused on the promotion of an innovative business model such as Energy and economic savings in schools. This will teach the children in Valencia to love and to respect the world around them using energy, water and gas. Everyone ranging from personnel to teachers and students are involved in all the energy management procedures and participate actively in all the decisions. “Not only students but teachers as well are learning a lot. Some children also set up an energy team, insisting on closing doors and water tap, switching off lights & pushing their friends doing the same” said Mrs. Pilar Ponce, School Director.
The “energy team” has been set up with the support of the MAtchUP partners. The team was in charge of evaluating the school’s initial energy status and informing this to the rest of the users. All the building users proposed energy efficiency solutions that aim on reducing the school’s energy consumption and its GHG emissions. The energy savings and the investments for every solution will be estimated. Guided by the energy team, the school community users will prioritize some of these solutions, while accounting for the available budget allocated to energy efficiency solutions.
The winning solutions will be implemented, and will have their energy and economic savings monitored. One half of the economic savings will be reinvested in additional energy saving solutions while the other half of these savings will be spent on other necessary material for the education community or recreational activities. Through this activity, the young students are expected to have an improved environmental awareness.
The last part of the morning was dedicated to the energy poverty issue, a severe problem unknown to many, is one of the main issues being addressed in Valencia. The Valencia City Council and Las Naves are taking part in a campaign to mitigate energy poverty in the Poblats Matítims district by doing energy audits in 50 households.
Beyond the study tour, the meeting was the occasion for partners to fine-tune their activities and set the basis for the next steps. Partners, especially Lighthouse cities, are now dealing with business models and exploitation plans, capacity building, replication and indicators which will be part of the upcoming milestones in the coming months.
As reward for the consortium’s hard work, the Ajuntamiento de Valencia organised a lovely boat tour to explore the Albufera Natural Park, where most of the famous Spanish rice comes from.
All in all, this meet-up provided MAtchUP’s partners a foundation they can all work from as the project is reaching the end of its second year. Most importantly, it was an opportunity for both Lighthouse cities and Follower cities to learn from each other now that more concrete actions and plans are taking place.