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Amsterdam named 2016 European capital of innovation

  • Amsterdam, the Netherlands, won the title of European capital of innovation on 8 April at an awards ceremony in Brussels, Belgium, where it was presented with a cash prize of EUR 950 000. A group of residents in the Dutch city is turning an industrial plot at De Ceuvel on the river Ij into a self-sufficient village of houseboats that host music concerts, locally produced vegetable markets and swing dance lessons. The site, which is built in an area that was once heavily polluted, includes soil-cleaning plan
  • Turin, Italy, won the second place cash prize of EUR 100 000. A company creating wind turbines for developing countries is one of the start-ups supported by the city of Turin. The city set up a programme to help people under 40 launch companies with part-grant, part-loan financing to put their ideas into action, and a community of mentors that helps with the business, technological and social side of starting a business. Along with wind turbine company VentoIONE, Turin has helped out other companies such as
  • The third place and prize of EUR 50 000 went to Paris, France. Paris wants to show that everyone can get involved in creating and designing city life. One way is through the Parisian MakerPlan event where small-scale workshops offering digital fabrication, known as fab labs, came to the city hall to show their latest innovations. At the event, the Parisian Deputy of Economic Development, Jean-Louis Missika, announced he wants to double the amount of digital fabrication spaces from 20 to 40 and set out a pla
  • The Adlershof neighbourhood of Berlin, Germany, is quickly becoming one of the world’s leading sites for research and development of light technologies. It has worked to set up the Photonics Centre to bring together 60 companies that do everything from creating technology that can measure ultraviolet rays to finding new applications for lasers. Other initiatives around the city are also contributing to their ‘urban living lab’, such as setting up over 650 charging stations and 3 000 e-vehicles. Image credit
  • The Dutch city of Eindhoven only sees 7.5 hours of daylight on the shortest day of the year, meaning artificial light is particularly important. The city has been recognised by the iCapital panel for its creative approach to urban smart lighting, as seen on a hovering bike lane, lights on a pavement that change shape when pedestrians walk over it, and a solar bike path that charges during the day and lights up at night when a cyclist wizzes by. Image courtesy of the city of Eindhoven
  • The city of Glasgow, UK, wanted to increase tourism on its canals. The way it did this was by creating a partnership between Glasgow Caledonian University and the Scottish Government, which resulted in the Kelpies, 30-metre-high horse head sculptures placed alongside the canal. The partnership is part of the Glasgow City of Science programme, which is working to promote science in education, creative industries, healthcare and more. Image credit: ‘The Kelpies, at The Helix, Scotland’ is licensed by Beninjam
  • The city of Milan, Italy, and local organisations renovated an abandoned steel plant to create a space that combines offices and workshops with facilities such as restaurants, conference rooms, a fitness centre, a minimarket and a kindergarten. The city also let its citizens decide how EUR 9 million of the city’s budget is spent, and is home to FabriQ, a business incubator dedicated exclusively to start-ups that have the objective of helping disadvantaged communities. Image courtesy of the city of Milan
  • One way Oxford, UK, is achieving its goal of maintaining ultra-low-carbon technology is by funding and installing solar panels. The city is also testing out driverless cars around town, hosting school events to inspire the next generation about science, and creating innovative spaces which people can use to help them come up with new ideas. Image courtesy of the city of Oxford
  • Vienna, Austria, is taking a hands-on approach to IT as seen at the Smart City Wien event where pupils dug around inside a computer to learn about how the hardware works. By interesting students early on, they hope to develop a long-term, citizen-centred approach to come up with the newest innovations and keep them at the forefront of IT innovation. Image credit: DigitalCity.Wien