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Dubai EXPO2020 discussed smart city challenges under leadership of Estonia

Estonian Chamber of Commerce in Dubai co-organised under the auspices of EXPO2020 an Urban and Rural Development Business Forum, where Estonia was represented in different discussions by the Chief Data Officer of Positium Margus Tiru, Head of Strategy of FinEst Centre for Smart Cities Einari Kisel and Chief Architect of Tartu city Tõnis Arjus.

During the day debates concentrated on sustainable and secure future cities, development of smartness in urban and rural areas, implications of urbanisation in rural areas, impacts of technology innovation to the city environments and future of transport, and introduced the future plans for Dubai City.


The discussion panel engaging Einari Kisel focused on cooperation under Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in infrastructure projects. Development of digital infrastructure has naturally been a success story in Estonia and has supported the advancements both in rural and urban areas. But also the examples of free public transport for citizens of Tallinn or the use of Electric Vehicles by the social workers as a part of social network are rather surprising solutions for the rest of the world. As an example of future digital infrastructure solution the DigiAudit pilot project was presented that is intended to gather information from the 3D Building Registry and consumption data from energy companies, to generate automatically energy certificates for buildings and to support their renovation preparations. Also many cities and countries in the Middle East are interested in such digital solutions.

Debate in the panel also highlighted that the Basic principles of PPPs are changing, for example in terms of energy efficiency and climate change mitigation. Demands from general public and public sector has changed also the approach of investors and banks towards PPP projects. Also the focus of Estonian Start-up scene has shifted clearly towards clean energy solutions. In this context a fourth P should be added to the abbreviation - People. This would also secure more stable investment conditions for the companies in PPP projects.

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