Digital Cultural Heritage vital for shaping future Smart Cities

The rapidly evolving civic technology such as smart street lights and traffic-tracking sensors has already helped build cities resembling those that previously existed in science fiction novels only. By 2050, when it is estimated that 70% of the world’s population will be urban, these futuristic cities will become a predominant reality. While technology will continue to drive the development of city infrastructure, culture and heritage will remain vital for shaping future societies.  

This idea is at the heart of Europeana’s Smart Cities initiative, which aims to promote cultural heritage as a pillar of smart cities. Highlighting the values of digital cultural heritage to enhance the potential of smart cities in the field of culture and tourism the strategy establishes this aspect as central to futuristic cities bustling with technological innovation, smart devices and data transfer.

Only a year after its initial proposal in 2015, Smart Cities has already made progress in changing the mindset on this topic, as depicted visually in the Europeana report from August 2016.

Outlining the key ways cultural heritage defines European communities, this report summarises the work done under the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU and provides a firm base for future recommendations on the best uses of Cultural Heritage in Smart Cities. The ultimate goal is to broaden the potential of reusing digital cultural heritage data in the context of tourism and further promote its value for creating Smart Cities.

As noted in Europeana’s 2015 Transforming the World with Culture white paper, Smart Cities will remain in focus for the organisation until 2020. Given the rapid rise of IoT and all the changes in the urban landscape it has brought about, the initiative is timely for Europe. Like the Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)2 on the Internet of citizens, it recognises digital culture as one of the key issues for modern cultural policy making and promotes its creative use in building the cities of the future.

Bojana Dobran
Content Consultant