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European companies and regional leaders agree on Action Plan to make Europe's cities smarter

More than 75% of EU citizens live in cities – it is where they mostly live, work, and play. Cities are the major source of European economic activity and of innovation. But the global economy is developing and rapidly changing and European cities need to rise to new challenges. Cities are also a major source of greenhouse gases and local pollution and concerted action is needed to put this right. Cities can and should be made better places to live in and to work. Cities can become cleaner and healthier and use less energy. They can be Smart Cities.

Make real improvements in the everyday lives of people
Smart Cities are cities which best use modern technology services and infrastructure, and modern ways of working and raising finance to make real improvements in the everyday lives of people.  But also to make improvements for the businesses that generate wealth and employment. Finally, Smart Cities represent another important contribution to building a digital single market.

Smart Cities Partnership Strategic Implementation Plan
The Smart Cities and Communities Partnership brings together city leaders, industry and the research community working to identify and then to deliver, new ways of improving European cities in a more connected way. The Smart Cities Partnership Strategic Implementation Plan sets out a broad range of new actions and approaches to encourage cities to become smarter. The plan concentrates on how to drive forward improvement in buildings and planning, new Information Technologies, transport and energy, and new ways of integrating these areas. These approaches include a presumption that data should be "open by default" – meaning that the data can be re-used by others to create additional benefits for citizens, businesses and governments.

Better ways of involving citizens
The plan also suggests improvements to the way that cities are run, with better ways of involving citizens and more collaborative ways of doing things. It suggests innovation zones, new business models, a re-evaluation of rules and legislation and a more standardised approach to data collection and usage, to enable better comparisons between approaches and between cities. The "Lighthouse Projects" is an important part of that work - cities which will demonstrate and deliver Smart City solutions on a large scale. These Projects will be partly financed by the European Commission's Horizon 2002 Research Funds. Further business and public funding will help to spread these new solutions to other cities and economies of scale will help to make these "innovative" and "high tech" solutions the norm – more readily available to all cities and neighbourhoods.

More details about these next steps and about European Commission funding and Business Commitments will be announced at the official launch of the delivery plan on 26 November. The European Commission is expected to invest around €200m to create Smart Cities in the next two years.