GrowSmarter: Transforming Cities for a Smart, Sustainable Europe

GrowSmarter: Transforming Cities for a Smart, Sustainable Europe

Source of funding

European Commission

Name of client/donor

European Commission

Overall project value

EUR 24,000,000


December 2014 – December 2019

Beneficiary countries


Number of staff


In a rapidly urbanising world, cities need to become smarter in order to meet citizens' needs while reducing their environmental footprint. The GrowSmarter project shows ways to set up smart solutions that can be developed into business concepts, without the need for additional funding. This Smart City Lighthouse project is financed under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. The main project activities are implemented by the so-called lighthouse cities, Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona. Successful actions can then be replicated by "follower" cities. The REC is contributing to the project through the transfer of experience.

The project aims to:

  • reduce energy demand and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent in the three lighthouse cities;
  • cut emissions from transport by 60 percent in selected urban districts by introducing sustainable transport solutions; and
  • contribute to European economic growth via the piloted smart solutions. (At the demonstration level, and taking into account all measures implemented with other available funding, the project is expected to create as many as 1,500 jobs.)

The project will focus on the energy-efficient refurbishment of 100,000 square metres of representative types of existing residential and commercial buildings. Improvements in the street environment, including smarter lighting and better communication facilities, will also contribute to better services for citizens. Improved mobility services (sustainable delivery, smart traffic management, alternative-fuel vehicles and smart mobility solutions) will also be introduced.

Twelve smart solutions will be developed and tested in the three lighthouse cities: Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona. Business models will be developed, finetuned and implemented, together with five "follower" cities. All measures will be evaluated, and experiences, successes and barriers will be mapped and shared.

Services provided by the REC:

  • Experience sharing