Digital solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation of cities and communities


Digital technologies can play a significant role to improve the carbon footprint of cities by moving to a more intelligent use of energy, enabling a better use of energy in buildings, transport, street lighting, and others. With cities around Europe striving to respond to a growing digital agenda, this CONNECT University focused on ways of unlocking the potential for local climate action to shape a greener Europe. The participants got an in-depth understanding of the way digital technologies can be used in order to enable ongoing growth of climate action.

Background information

This event is part of the CONNECT University Summer School 2021 on Digital for our Planet that aims to present cutting-edge innovations addressing how can digital technologies be harnessed to tackle climate change, both in terms of a greener digital system, as well as their role in helping reducing carbon emissions across industries. Check this blogpost for the full programme and more information.

Digital solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation of cities and communities


Moderator and introductory speech: Gerard De Graaf, Director Digital Transformation, DG CONNECT, European Commission

Gerard de Graaf is Director for the Digital Transformation in Directorate-General "Communications Networks, Content & Technology" (DG CONNECT). In this capacity, he is responsible for a number of policies and instruments which are key to the development of the digital economy in Europe. In addition to overall Digital strategy and green ICT coordination, his directorate is inter alia responsible for e-commerce, digital platforms, standardisation, innovation policies, start-up policy, access to finance, ICT reforms as part of the European Semester, competition aspects and economic analysis of the digital economy (through the Digital Economy and Society Index - DESI).

  • Asuncion Lera St. Clair, Senior Advisor, Barcelona SuperComputing Center, Earth Sciences Services

Title of the presentation: Leveraging Digital Technologies for A Climate Resilient Europe

Dr. Asun Lera St.Clair, philosopher and sociologist, is Director of the Digital Assurance Research Center in DNV Group Research and Development and Senior Advisor for the Earth Services Unit of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC). She has over 25 years of experience with designing and directing interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary user-driven and solutions-oriented research for global challenges in the interface between sustainable development and climate change, and more recently on providing trust in digital technologies and leveraging these for sustainable development.  She is member of the Advisory Committee of the Sustainability in the Digital Age Initiative of Future Earth; member of the Advisory Committee for Sustainable Development of the Catalan Government (CADS), and member of Horizon Europe Mission Board for Climate Change Adaptation and Societal Transformations. Asun was IPCC Lead Author for the 5th Assessment Report on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation.

  • Martin Brynskov, Chair, Open and Agile Smart Cities 

Title of the presentation: Making the Green Deal work for everyone through Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms (MIMs)

Martin Brynskov is chair of the global Open & Agile Smart Cities initiative (OASC), which encompasses more than 150 cities from 31 countries. OASC is a non-profit association based in Brussels, Belgium, and it aims to develop so-called Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms (MIMs) for cities and communities. Dr Brynskov is associate professor, PhD, in Interaction Technologies at Aarhus University in Denmark, director of the Centre for Digital Transformation of Cities and Communities (DITCOM) and AU Smart Cities (AUSC), founder and co-director of the Digital Living Research Commons (DLRC), director of the Digital Design Lab, and fellow at the Centre for Advanced Visualization and Interaction (CAVI). Dr Brynskov is the coordinator of the Coordination and Support Action, Next Generation Internet of Things (NGIoT). He is a global expert, speaker, and advisor on IoT and smart cities with a human-centric focus. Dr Brynskov is vice-chair of the UN ITU-T Focus Group on Data Processing and Management to support IoT and Smart Cities & Communities (FG-DPM) and chair of the Working Group on Use Cases, Requirements and Applications/Services, and Chair of the Danish Standards Committee on Smart Cities and Communities (ISO TC 268 mirror committee).

  • Jarmo Suomisto, Project manager, Helsinki city

Title of the presentation: Helsinki Energy and Climate Atlas

Jarmo Suomisto is the manager of Helsinki 3D+ and responsible of creating, maintaining and delivering virtual models over the whole city. 3D+ also integrates new technology and workflows to processes and city services. 3D+ is 2020  and 2016 Year in Infrastructure Award Winner and 2019 London Tech Fest Main Award Winner.  Working over 25 years with 3D and GIS in building design and city planning Jarmo has practical understanding of the great potential in 3D. Jarmo is Architect and M.Sc (Civ.Eng) from Helsinki University of Technology.