Building smart cities require the public sector to be integrated to a large extent, which can be seen in examples in districts such as Hammarby Sjöstad and Stockholm Royal Seaport, where there has been a high focus on climate, environment and energy issues.
A wide range of platforms and corporate networks promote innovation and development in the region. One successful example is the Urban ICT Arena in Kista in the north of Stockholm, one of the world’s leading business clusters for innovation in digitalisation.
Stockholm has one of the world’s largest and most complicated district heating systems with a large number of actors who together produce and distribute district heating & cooling and electricity from hundreds of production units to millions of people. The production has the world’s largest heat pump plant, innovative energy storage, and waste incineration to recover energy from residual products from society and forestry, which contributes to a well-functioning waste management system. Uppsala and Gotland also have well-developed district heating networks with a very small proportion of fossil fuels.
Water and wastewater treatment are key functions in a well-functioning city, a service that often goes unnoticed as long as it performs as planned. Uppland, Södermanland and Gotland all have different challenges with water quality and water supply that have been solved in different ways. In Uppsala, the regional capital of Uppland, water from the passing river Fyrisån is purified through a ridge due to groundwater scarcity. At Hammarby Sjöstadsverk in Stockholm, unique research is conducted on membrane technology for more efficient wastewater treatment, which will make Henriksdal’s wastewater treatment plant one of the largest in the world to use membrane technology. On Gotland, the testbed Storsudret is testing new solutions in drinking water purification.
Social sustainability is key in urban development projects and by initiating dialogue and involvement during construction and renovation processes, the likelihood of a successful project increases significantly. Smart City Sweden East offers examples of social sustainability, such as Fryshuset, an organization that works to support and include young people in the community.