What is the Living-in.EU initiative and how does it benefit cities and municipalities in their digital transformation?

Saara Valtasaari

Mar 22, 2024


Living-in.EU | News

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What is the Living-in.EU initiative and how does it benefit cities and municipalities in their digital transformation? These and many other questions about the initiative were recently answered by Eurocities’ project coordinator Gabriela Ruseva, who is part of the Living-in.EU management team. 

  1. What is the Living-in.EU initiative and what are its core objectives?

    Living-in.EU is an EU initiative for local and regional leaders who believe that digital technology can help them make their town, city, or region a better place to live in. And who believe in European cooperation and values. The aim is to enable collaboration among cities in the EU. This would make sure that cities and regions do not work in isolation, that smart city strategies can be shared, and solutions re-used.

    It is also a space for people who work at the municipality or regional administration, or in a ministry, and who deal with technology, smart city, IT, digitalization, to share knowledge and learn from each other. 


  2. How can cities and municipalities benefit from joining the Living- in.EU community?

    They can find tools and examples to develop data strategies, set up digital platforms and build local digital twins. They can learn more about interoperability of digital services, contribute to the mapping of technical standards, measure their level of digitalization through the self-assessment tool called LORDIMAS. The biggest advantage of Living-in.EU is the network – they get to meet people from other cities and communities with similar challenges.


  3. What steps should a city or municipality take to become a part of the Living-in.EU movement?

    First, we need the political leader of the city or region to commit to the European principles of digital transformation by signing the Declaration on Joining forces to Boost Sustainable digital transformation. What are these principles? That digital transformation should be citizen-centric, that technology can help your city work better, that it’s a tool, rather than an end, that data should be managed in an ethical and socially responsible way, and platforms should be interoperable and based on open standards. We talk a lot about interoperability.

    Once the declaration is signed by an elected politician (mayor, deputy-mayor, regional minister), you need to go to Living-in.EU and create a Signatory profile by selecting the “Sign the declaration” option. The process is very easy – you fill in the registration form, upload the signed declaration, and voila! There’s no participation fee, no reporting obligation. Our goal is to make public servants’ lives easier, not to burden them. We are networks of public authorities – cities, regions – we know that people working at local and regional administrations are busy running the city and solving citizens’ problems. We want to help them in their work.

    What we also know is that getting a mayor or minister to sign can be a long process and we want cities to already have access to at least some of the benefits of the project. Experts from the city or regional administration can register as a member of the platform, join our working groups, share their solutions, use our tools and network at our events, even before the official signature. To register as a member, they need to fill in the Member registration form, which is quite simple. They can also do that after the city or region has officially joined. All interested colleagues from a city or region can create a member account, there is no limitation.


  4. Can you share a success story or example of how participation in Living-in.EU has positively impacted other cities?

    I have recently spoken with the representatives of Riga Digital Agency, the agency of the City of Riga responsible for digitalization and innovation. They were established a bit more than a year ago but are now starting five new EU-funded projects and are trusted and recognized partners in local digital innovation. Of course, this is not only thanks to their participation in Living-in.EU, but being part of such a key initiative of the European union gives you visibility and recognition, and of course contacts and inspiration. And those are the two main ingredients for successful projects.

    Another example is the city of Sant Boi de Llobregat who is co-chairing the Living-in.EU digital assembly. Through Living-in.EU, the city has opened up to international cooperation, deepened their knowledge on EU initiatives and the policy landscape, and feel more confident in promoting their priorities and looking for allies among other cities in the EU.


  5. How does Living-in.EU facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing among its members?

    Our main tool is the five working groups, where city and regional experts work together on technical, legal, financial, monitoring and capacity-building aspects. But Living-in.EU is also the place where other projects and initiatives are gathered – on data spaces, on local digital twins. There is so much going on at the moment, that it is difficult to keep track of how your city or region can be involved. We try to provide this overview and connection, to present those other projects and opportunities to the Living-in.EU members, which otherwise they might not hear about.


  6. Looking ahead, what are the future goals or upcoming projects for Living-in.EU?

    We want to bring all cities and regions in the EU to our community. Even if this is way too ambitious, we will keep growing the community and talking about Living-in.EU.

    But our main goal is to make this initiative useful, to showcase solutions that work, to facilitate collaboration, to provide tools that actually help people develop new services using digital technology in the best possible way – with the citizens in mind, protecting their rights, and protecting the environment.


  7. How does Living-in.EU align with EU policies and funding opportunities for (smart) cities?

    Living-in.EU is one of the components of the Digital Decade policy programme, making sure that local digital transformation is aligned with regional and national objectives. That the EU policies and funding opportunities available are well-known to the cities and regions, making sure that they have the capacity to use them.


  8. What message would you like to send to cities and municipalities that are considering joining the Living-in.EU initiative?

    Living-in.EU is not another project where we will ask you to report, or another network where you need to pay a membership fee. It’s a platform that aims to accelerate your work. To provide useful tools. And to showcase successful solutions. And to be the missing link between the European, national, regional, and local level. Join us today and be connected and up to date with the latest developments on data spaces, interoperability, local digital twins and many other topics.


Join the initiative now: https://living-in.eu/