A smart city uses technology to improve services to its citizens and to deliver a better environment for people to live in by tackling challenges such as mobility, climate change, migration and security. But smart cities aren’t just about the technology.

At the European Investment Bank, we believe that smart city investments need to be grounded in an integrated planning framework. Through consultation with citizens, smart cities meet their real needs.

The EU bank provides financing and advisory support to cities and other urban investors directly and through intermediary banks and funds. The EIB is keen to help you create tailor-made solutions and finance smart investments that stimulate the development potential of your city.

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How smart city finance can work for you

EIB-financed projects in the field of smart cities should be innovative, inclusive and integrated.

  • The investments apply innovative technology or management approaches
  • Decisions are made through stakeholder participation and sound governance in project design and implementation
  • Smart city interventions integrate solutions through a planning-led approach in areas such as mobility, energy, water management, housing or other public services. For example, it can be intelligent street lighting, smart energy metering, alternative fuel vehicles, intelligent transport systems, efficient buildings and smart districts, storm water management, ICT in health and social care services—but also innovative approaches towards city administration and interaction with citizens

Download a detailed, printable document to learn more about EIB smart city investments.

Smart city finance at work: EIB case studies

The EIB’s loans and advisory services have helped cities and towns across Europe develop smart city programmes. Read through these case studies to see how towns and cities are getting smart.

To support project implementation, the European Commission and the EIB established the European Investment Advisory Hub as a single access point to advisory and technical assistance services.  For example, JASPERS provides invaluable advisory services to set up big smart city projects for success, like its recent technical assistance programme in Valletta, Malta. Jaspers provided advisory services to Poland’s third-largest city. The result: a big urban renewal project in a revitalized power plant whose effects radiated positive energy in Łódź and beyond.

The EIB delivers smart city finance with a range of different instruments:

Sustainable urban mobility is one area which can benefit a lot from smart city thinking. In Paris the EIB has been part of the transformation of the city’s public transport system. The EIB also helped the capital of the Canary Island’s finance a climate-friendly bus rapid-transit system that will transform the way citizens move—and breathe.

To make cities sustainable, they have to reuse polluted industrial sites. The EIB financed the Ginkgo Fund’s work to turn former factories in France and Belgium into urban office and residential real estate.

The EIB’s ELENA programme helps citizens renovate homes to make them more energy efficient in partnership with local and regional governments like Picardy, France. ELENA also started partnerships with local governments to make transport sustainable like the new trams in Aarhus, Denmark. Energy efficiency loans can be much bigger too, like this one for EUR 100 million to Énergies POSIT’IF, a company owned mostly by the Regional Council of the Île-de-France, to renovate apartment buildings in Paris.

Environmental investment is also an important part of smart city finance. The EIB helped transform Essen’s water system so that the German city went from a historically polluted industrial area to the winner of the European Green City prize in 2017. An EIB loan to Vilnius renewed ageing street lights and cut their energy consumption in half, as well as making cycle routes safer for citizens of the Lithuanian capital.

Even in the homes of every citizen, smart investment has a place. The EIB is a major part of the financing in the UK’s move to smart meters for electricity and gas, saving on citizens’ bills and contributing to climate action.