In Tampere, residents develop their own residential areas and open APIs facilitate the planning of street lighting

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In Tampere, the Six City Strategy is reflected in the participation of residents and the utilisation of open APIs. The lessons learned from the Six City Strategy have also been successfully utilised and scaled for other development activities.

One of the most successful Six City Strategy projects in Tampere has been the CityIoT project, which focuses on the development of an actor-independent data integration platform. The City of Tampere is currently tendering the renewal of the lighting system in the district of Viinikka, utilising the lessons learned in the CityIoT project. The City intends to not only invest in LED lights, but build an entirely new telecommunications network in Viinikka, based on technologies developed and tested in the CityIoT project. In addition to the City, there are a number of companies involved in the project.

Director at Smart Tampere and member of the Six City Strategy steering group Seppo Haataja notes that getting companies to participate in Six City Strategy operations has been challenging since the Six City Strategy programme cannot be used to directly finance a company’s participation and development operations.

“Companies are more eager to participate in pilots now with the launch of a new project focusing on low-carbon mobility. At the same time, Business Finland has launched the National Growth Programme for the Transport Sector, the funding of which companies can utilise. The last Six City Strategy open calls have focused on low-carbon solutions, which is good since the issue is becoming more urgent by the day. In hindsight, you could ask whether these objectives should have been integrated into the strategy from the get-go,” Haataja ponders.

Tampere has made use of the agile pilots conducted in Helsinki’s Kalasatama, for example, by directly applying the numerous lessons learned in the projects and using them as a foundation for building its own operations.

Resident participation facilitates development projects

Of all the Six City Strategy spearhead projects, the Open Participation project is the one that has been most visible in the everyday lives of the residents of Tampere. At the start of the project, Tesoma in Tampere was a declining suburb, the residents of which the City invited to participate in the development of a new service centre for the area. Following the success of the pilot project in Tesoma, the same operating model is now being applied to other areas as well, such as Hiedanranta.

“Participation gets people to commit and lets them see that they can make a real difference. In my opinion this is a natural everyday activity that the City should be engaging in anyway,” Haataja states.

The themes of all the Six City Strategy spearhead projects – Open Data and Interfaces, Open Innovation Platforms and Open Participation and Customership – have been in line with Tampere’s own industrial policy programme from the very beginning.

“The primary themes have been very good, as has the strategy as a whole. Content-wise, we had more ambitious goals in regard to innovation platforms and open data than the impact of the spearhead projects ended up being. City organisations are still not quite mature enough for this kind of change,” Haataja believes.

Lessons learned from the Six City Strategy being applied to other development work as well

Although not all of the objectives were achieved, the City of Tampere has been able to utilise the lessons learned in the projects in other development work as well. The Six City Strategy also garnered international interest, with Tampere receiving constant inquiries from abroad as well. The Six City Strategy cities were also among the founding members of the network of national city networks Open & Agile Smart Cities, which includes 26 countries and 130 cities.

“The idea is to harmonise cities’ development efforts and facilitate scalable applications for companies through digital solutions and open APIs,” Haataja explains.

This article was first published in summer 2019.

Read more on Six City Strategy in Tampere

Main photo of the article: Visit Tampere/Laura Vanzo