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    Today some 75% of Europeans live in urban areas and around 85% of the EU’s GDP is generated in cities. So how do cities fit into Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth ? Smart and sustainable cities aim to better use information and communication technologies (ICT) to manage city services, infrastructure and the urban environment to achieve this.

    So what projects might help cities become smarter and more sustainable? What financial, social, economic, and environmental returns on investment might be possible? And how may strategic investment vehicles like JESSICA’s Urban Development Funds provide targeted support? These are just some of the questions discussed by the 200 participants at the EIB conference held in Malmö on 29, March, 2012.

    The conference follows a study on how strategic investment vehicles such as Urban Development Funds, which deploy European Structural Funds, can contribute to smarter and more sustainable cities. The conclusions of this conference will serve as an input to the study "JESSICA for Smart and Sustainable Cities" that is currently being carried out by the EIB with the financial assistance of the European Union.

    Speakers included: Tom Barrett, Director of the Technical and Financial Advice department at the EIB, Peder Berne, Project Manager Sustainable City, E.ON, Magnus Björkander, Project Manager, Skanska Nya Hem AB, Öresund, Professor Mark Deakin, Edinburgh Napier University, Chair of the European Smart Cities Regional Academic Network (SCRAN), Merja Haapakka, DG-REGIO, European Commission, Jan-Olof Friman, Chief Executive at Sala municipality, Trevor Graham, Head of Sustainable Communities at the City of Malmö Environment Department, Paula Hirst, Director - Urban Development and Regeneration, Mazars, Jesper Johansson, expert at WSP on Mobility Management, Tina Karlberg, City Account Manager, Siemens,Andreas Lundgren, IBM Corporate Affairs,Virgilio Martins, JESSICA Co-ordinator, DG-REGIO, European Commission, Josep Piqué, member of the Advisory Board at the International Association of Science Parks and Director of Strategic Sectors at the City of Barcelona, Markus Robèrt, PhD and researcher at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Hans Enocson, President and CEO, GE Nordic.

    Representatives of European city administrations also participated.