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Urban Innovation 11 articles

Green Tech Startups and Innovators, Here Are 5 Events to Visit at ViennaUP 2024

By Vienna Business Agency

ViennaUP 24, the highly anticipated startup festival, will take place from June 3 to 9, […]

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What is Urban Innovation?

First of all, what is the meaning of Urban innovation? Basically, it’s a term referring to the solutions and the possible ways of adaptation to the every-day challenges surrounding bigger cities around the world.

As the suburbs are becoming more and more important for the development of one city, urban innovation is being applied to quicken the process across areas like infrastructure and transportation.

Urban innovation includes the application of new technologies and methods in the areas of sustainability, economy and mobility, all designed to improve the quality of life for local people in the most innovative way.

As a whole, urban innovation and evolution are strongly connected. Their correlation can result in a more environmentally-friendly world along with a stable economy allowing innovations to happen.

Global trends important for the urban future

Urban innovation is a process concerning the future of humanity. That is why people have a vital role in the development of their hometowns and their favorite destinations. The more efforts put in by citizens, the faster innovation will be driven across cities.

According to our report, there are several trends which should be potentially applied during the period of urban innovation.

Green urban planning

Encouragement of sustainable thinking in order to provide healthy urban environments. It includes waste management solutions which prevent air pollution, building more parks near green areas, establishing smart farms which can help for the increase of cities’ biodiversity and making more cycling lanes that would allow people to ride bikes more often (instead of using cars).

Digital Innovation ecosystem

With the evolution of technologies and the rising population of cities, there is a huge competition on the innovative stage. The right selection of young talents and the perfect working conditions provided for them will help for the positive change of the economy of cities. All of these factors are crucial for the transformation of cities into innovation hubs.

AI implementation

As AI is a technology available 24/7, it can be used for different parts of the plan for urban innovation. For example, running cities’ operations can be done quicker and more efficiently with the help of a platform using AI (predictive analysis and incident regulation).

Such a platform will keep track of data and analyze future trends, making one city a safer place to live in (by investing in security services and building a strong community).

The Athens Digital Lab is currently helping the commercialization of big data and IoT projects that aim to deliver better quality of life for the citizens of the Greek capital.


When developing the idea of smart cities, the first thing that comes to mind is data privacy, as there are many risks in such an interconnected environment.

Cybersecurity has been implemented for years but its use in smart cities could be more vital as there is not enough knowledge on how to prevent them from future attacks. That is why, smart cities should be looked at as a defensive ecosystem and synchronize them with a special cyber strategy managed by a tool or platform.

Other trends are Smart buildings, Circular economy, Smart energy and E-governance.

Implementation of global trends (examples)

In 2019, Freetown, Sierra Leone was running a campaign called #FreetownTheTreeTown aiming to reduce erosion and increase the local vegetation cover. Following the Mayor’s Freetown plan, over 240 000 seedlings were planted in the city. Their growth was analyzed with the help of an online app called Treetracker.

Espoo, Finland has become an innovation ecosystem and an innovation driver among the Nordic countries, being home of one of the biggest Finnish startups and companies. The city is a great example of implementation of a Digital Innovation ecosystem.

After facing a great amount of cyberattacks, the Israeli government decided to create a cybersecurity ecosystem that will help in responding to threats of hackers. As paying a huge attention to cybersecurity, in 2021, Israel’s cybersecurity industry was presenting around 30 percent of the global investment in the sector.

Tel Aviv, as a center of the economic growth process, demonstrates smart city development and digital innovation in order to implement stable smart systems along with the government.


Who are the authors in the urban innovation channel?

The Recursive’s journalists writing about urban innovation are Elena Ivanova, Antoanela Ionita, and Elena Vrabie,

What materials are written most often?

We focus mainly on urban innovation and smart city news. Occasionally, we would dive deeper into analyzing verticals like urban mobility and wildfire prevention.

Can I subscribe to updates on urban innovation in Southeast Europe?

Yes. Subscribe to The Recursive newsletter to get the latest urban innovation developments in your mailbox.