The cornerstone of SPARCS is its cities. The two lighthouse cities: Espoo and Leipzig showcase how to face the challenge of creating necessary ecosystems and prove the feasibility to transform a city into a carbon neutral urban community. Both cities have built and developed socially and economically viable smart solutions to reduce CO2 emissions.
Espoo puts together all departments in the local administration and several stakeholders such as citizens, companies and associations, to co-create more sustainable solutions for the city and, in doing so, implement actions towards the goal of carbon-neutrality by 2030, including sustainable energy solutions like geothermal heat in Lippulaiva and smart fossil-free district-heating in Leppävaara
Similarly, Leipzig has set strict goals to reduce the CO2 emissions. To fulfil this goal, they have endorsed an Energy and Climate protection concept and a CO2 Action Plan for immediate action. SPARCS focuses on three demo sites Baumwollspinnerei, Leipzig-West and Duncker neighbourhood and a Virtual Positive Energy Community within the city.
With SPARCS both cities build concrete wide scale demonstrations that will provide practical suggestions to solve physical-virtual interoperability and integration issues and use big data management to enable new services, to alter regulatory and legal frameworks, and to address sensitive issues of data security and protection, as well as gender and socio-economic impacts.
The cities will capitalize on these aspects and combine them with business models, innovative joint procurement procedures, and citizen engaging mechanisms in an overarching city planning instrument calibrated toward the City Vision for 2050.