Faced with rapid urbanisation, climate change and increasing pressure on city services, including transport and healthcare, European cities must adapt by developing smart-city technologies. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities organised a conference on this topic, entitled "Smart Cities: Democratic and Inclusive Cities", was held on 14 June 2019 in Várpalota, Hungary.
The conference focused on how cities can use technology to become more inclusive, improve the quality of life of citizens and become real hubs of innovation. The participants examined the governance issues related to these technologies, in particular for the management of city services and for participation in democratic processes, as well as how they can influence local democracy.
The conference, hosted by the Várpalota City Council, was opened by Mr. Robert Gruman (Romania, EPP/CCE), Chair of the Governance Committee, and Mr. Martin Fodor (United Kingdom, ILDG), Member of the Congress and Rapporteur for the Governance Committee’s report on Smart Cities.
The day before the conference, the Congress Governance Committee met in Várpalota and examined two reports for approval, that focus on the fair distribution of taxes in transfrontier areas and the use of languages by local and regional authorities.