by Charlotte Jost

Collaborating for smarter urban development

A Nordic résumé of the Smart City World Expo 2018

Digitalisation and collaboration– those were the two main buzzwords of the Smart City World Expo 2018 in Barcelona – at least at the Nordic Pavilion. While Spain and Catalonia and Belgium and Flanders had separate exhibition booths at the world’s biggest congress on urban development, the Nordic countries Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland combined their strengths and impressed with a continuously well attended Nordic exhibition booth and an interesting three day accompanying program. Since the beginning of the year, Cleantech Scandinavia organised the Nordic Pavilion in collaboration with CLEAN, Innovation Norway, Business Finland and KPMG, which would not have been possible without the support of Nordic Innovation and for the Swedish part of Vinnova.

Around 400 smart city professionals from the Nordics came to Barcelona to connect with global actors, present Nordic cities, showcase local smart city solutions and spread the mindset of collaborating for smarter urban development. The opening talk of our program already pointed out that Nordic countries share a cultural heritage and are used to working together. This attitude of collaboration was present throughout the whole Nordic program, which consisted of stage presentations, panel discussions, networking sessions, receptions, international delegation visits and a workshop on smart city challenges.


Our round-table workshop brought together 100 actors from cities, academia and the private sector who exchanged experiences and solutions on pre-defined challenges of selected Nordic cities. Next to the issues of waste treatment, integration of zero emission houses or open data treatment, the topics of citizen involvement and smart governance were high on the agenda. The challenge of establishing successful collaboration and active exchange between cities and its citizen was discussed as much as the simultaneous opportunity to achieve a truly smart urban development, focusing on social needs next to technical improvements, digitalisation and a greener urban landscape. We are happy that the Nordic Pavilion not only facilitated close interaction between Nordic smart city professionals, but also attracted interested guests from other parts of the world that followed the program and connected with our exhibitors.

The exhibitors of the Nordic Pavilion successfully represented Nordic cities and universities, urban development solutions and smarty city cooperation programs. We want to thank the whole Nordic delegation for three interesting, inspiring and successful days on the Smart City Expo in Barcelona.

About Charlotte