On 28 February 2023, the CommuniCity project launches its first open call for 100 pilots. In the first call round, three European cities are jointly looking for 18 innovative solutions for urban and social challenges. Helsinki is searching for 4–6 pilots, which will be implemented in close cooperation with the City of Helsinki and its residents. The aim is to find technologies that enable better everyday living and services for residents, especially those in vulnerable situations.
Over a period of three-years, the CommuniCity project will launch a total of 100 pilots across the European Union. The first call round will take place between 28 February and 31 March 2023 and will call for up to 18 pilots to be carried out in cooperation with the cities of Amsterdam, Helsinki and Porto. The objective is to find solutions that meet the needs of residents in vulnerable situations, both by making their daily lives easier and by improving their overall quality of life.
Forum Virium Helsinki plays a key role in the CommuniCity project, as it is responsible for organising the entire pilot programme and creating a common operating model for the pilots. Forum Virium Helsinki is also closely involved in coordinating and organising the pilots that will be carried out in Helsinki.
Three call rounds, 100 pilots
CommuniCity organises a total of three open calls for pilots in 2023 and 2024. The objective is to find 100 viable solutions to improve the everyday lives of citizens and especially those in vulnerable situations. In February 2023, the project will launch the first open call for applications, in which up to 18 pilots will be selected, six for each city.
The second call round is expected to open in September 2023 and the third one in September 2024. In addition to Amsterdam, Helsinki and Porto, these open calls will also involve other cities, which will also assign their own city-specific challenges. The number of pilots in these call rounds ranges from 30 to 50, depending on the needs of the cities and the resources available.
In practice, the open calls are structured in such a way that the cities first identify their most critical challenges internally through means of co-creation. After this, an open call for applications will be launched to identify innovative solutions to address these challenges. This means that each city will specify its own challenges and be responsible for the practical arrangements for the 1–5-month pilot period.
Although the challenges of the open call are specific to each city, the pilot process itself and the most relevant documents, such as the pilot contracts and application forms, are almost identical. The objective of the CommuniCity project is to create a new, European wide model of urban development that is based on co-creation.
A total of €1.25 million in grants will be awarded to the teams participating in the pilots. In the first call round, applicants can receive a grant of €12,500, while the teams are also encouraged to bring in complementary funding and resources to their pilots. Applicants may submit more than one application in the same call round, but only one application for each challenge.
Creating better cities through collaboration
The selected solutions must use new technologies or utilise existing technologies in an innovative way. The pilots are carried out in a genuine environment, in close collaboration with citizens, experts and city representatives. Indeed, one of the objectives of the CommuniCity project is to build functional cooperation between the city, communities and individuals in vulnerable situations and technology companies.
Once the best functioning cooperation models have been established, the project will summarise the lessons learned in the form of a handbook and share it with other European cities.
The CommuniCity project is carried out between 1 September 2022 and 31 August 2025, with a total funding of nearly €5 million from the European Union. There are 12 partners from six countries involved in the project. The Finnish partners consist of Forum Virium Helsinki and Demos Research Institute. Other project partners include Open & Agile Smart Cities, University of Amsterdam, City of Amsterdam, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Associação Porto Digital, Domus Social, European Network of Living Labs, Centre de Visio per Computador, Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação, Engineering and Domus Social.
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