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FinEst Centre for Smart Cities news



Empowering mayors to build sustainable and smart cities through Urban Learning Center 

Mayors play a critical role in shaping the economic, social, and environmental landscape of their cities. With rapid urbanization and the increasing demand for sustainable and smart cities, Mayors need to be equipped with the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions that will benefit their communities in the long run. To this end, the Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) network has launched the Urban Learning Center (ULC), an initiative that aims to provide capacity-building and knowledge-sharing opportunities for municipalities.



President Alar Karis visited FinEst Centre to discuss smart city developments

"It's smart to listen to what scientists are telling us before we start making major renovations and changes," said President Karis. "It is a pleasure to see that Estonian and Finnish researchers have modeled solutions that can be tested and which will be useful later, not only for the cities of Estonia and Finland, but can also be applied in other parts of the world." 



GreenTwins - what has been done?

Urban Digital Twins (UDTs) as digital environments for modelling and simulating change in cities, are promising instruments to overcome the challenges of rapid urbanization, social inequity, anthropogenic climate change, and biodiversity loss. However, in this regard, the representation of the green infrastructure in UDTs, and the interaction between the UDTs and the stakeholders, are limited and recognized as a significant development gap. GreenTwins project addresses these deficiencies by contributing to the UDTs of Tallinn and Helsinki and by creating interfaces between the UDTs and the stakeholders.

All developments began in autumn 2020 with the Smart City Challenge, and it is expect to get functional prototypes and demos by June 2023.

READ MORE what the GreenTwins pilot team has been done so far



Chiara Salati - visiting PhD student in FinEst Centre

Have you considered to join FinEst Centre to improve your Phd studies? Find out what is the extra value what Phd students can gain from working together with FinEst Centre.

Chiara Salati (visiting PhD student, University of Macerata) is looking at EU cities from the perspective of citizens, using European constitutional law in order to support a democratic governance of EU cities. Her research aims at elaborating a theoretical framework stemming from common European principles that EU cities could use in order to support citizen participation through the urban commons. Feel free to contact her at



Dr. Noman Shabbir has been elevated to the grade of senior member of IEEE

FinEst Centre's Research Fellow Dr. Noman Shabbir has been elevated to the grade of Senior Member of IEEE this year. Senior Member is the highest professional grade of IEEE for which a member may apply. It requires extensive experience, and reflects professional accomplishment and maturity. Only 10% of IEEE more than 400,000 members have achieved this level.



How can we implement a seamless Renovation Wave in Estonia?

The purpose of the RESTO tool is to collect data from various databases about the buildings in the observed area and compare their energy efficiency with the best renovated buildings. Based on nearly 500 parameters, the model analyses around 6,000 renovation possibilities for each building and suggests how the buildings in the given area should be renovated in such a way that it is possible to ensure the objectives of energy savings and emission reduction and optimal costs for the building owners, while not contradicting various building restrictions.



City-to-city collaboration leads to smarter and healthier cities

Smart City Exchange Forum brought the flagship examples of smart city projects to Tallinn. Throughout the day, presentations were given about projects taking place in Estonian cities, projects from Estonian-Finnish collaboration and examples of international projects we are taking part of. Focus of the forum, that took place already 3rd time, was city-to-city collaboration and how these partnerships drive innovation and smart city developments.



GreenTwins pilot project's team is looking for curios students who would like to do Systematic Literature Review

Are you interested in research, do you want to gain new experiences and like reading?
Then you are certainly interested in working with GreenTwins pilot project team!

As part of the GreenTwins project, we are currently doing a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) and are looking for curious students who would like to work with us.



UNDP launched an Urban Learning Centre with Arup, Climate KIC and FinEst Centre for Smart Cities

On 07.12.22 Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) Facility launched Urban Learning Center (UCL) for municipalities in Eastern Partnership countries, an initiative leaded by UNDP with Arup, FinEst Centre for Smart Cities and Climate-KIC.

The role of the FinEst Centre for Smart Cities is to co-develop part of the modules of the learning journey ranging from smartening cities to social innovation and design thinking.



FinEst Centre's smart city pilots business opportunities panel

On November 9. FinEst Centre arranged an expert panel for our pilot projects to get feedback to their commercialization plans and also new ideas for alternatives. From six pilots there is potential and plan to create three new companies, licence one solution to an existing company and two services would be offered to cities by the FinEst Centre for Smart Cities.



3D green models to evaluate and visualize urban biodiversity enhancement

UrbanLIFEcircles project aims to improve the conditions of biodiversity in participating cities: Tartu, Riga and Aarhus. One of the goals is to prove a systematic approach leading the way to more biodiverse urban areas by creating “urban LIFE circles”. FinEst Centre’s researchers from GreenTwins project are creating a specific 3D modelling nuance to provide with necessary perspective for urban planners in their decisions.



Smart City Research and Innovation Trends for 2023

Smart cities use technology to improve the quality of life for citizens, increase efficiency and sustainability, and enhance the overall performance of a city - using this principle, we shifted from asking the ChatGPT AI somewhat mainstream and naive keywords “smart city and research trends for 2023” to pinpointing our focus and emphasizing the most important aspects: How are these trends relevant for people and in which form they would be implemented in reality?



Is smart city a happy city?

Understanding of the term “smartcity” can vary according to a person's understanding due to their professional background. Researchers and experts from different fields can understand it very differently and therefor criteria what makes a city a smart city and a happy city is quite versatile.

We asked FinEst Centre for Smart Cities researchers Kaija Veskioja, Sara Thabit, Pauline Baudens and Environmental psychologist Silver Sternfeldt to ponder from there point of view what makes a city a smart city and furthermore is smart city a happy city?



Dr. Ralf-Martin Soe won the research fellowship at Stanford University

Within the framework of cooperation between Tallinn University of Technology, Stanford University and Vabamu, Estonian researchers affiliated with Tallinn University of Technology had the opportunity to apply for a 2- to 6-month research mission to Stanford University. 

Dr. Ralf-Martin Soe, Founding Director of the FinEst Centre, is one out of two selected researchers from TalTech visiting Stanford as the Global Digital Governance Fellow 2023, jointly with Ingrid Pappel. Ralf-Martin plans to visit Stanford first half of 2023 with a goal to collaborate with smart city and cyber polity related reseachers in the interest of FinEst Centre’s upgraded Research and Innovation Agenda.



"Smart cities and regions - Facilitating pilot projects" session's recording is available now!

On 12.10.22 FinEst Centre participated in EU Regions Week event with the session "Smart cities and regions - Facilitating pilot projects". This session focused on how to facilitate cross-border research and innovation pilot projects in European municipalities. In this session, we aimed to provide hands-on tools and methods through which local governments can transform themselves into living labs open to experimentation with novel #technologies. The pilot projects themselves can be small and agile with very limited resources or can be scaled up to large scale, research-intensive ones.

Watch interesting presentations and listen discussions HERE!

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