Urbanization and digitization are major drivers behind the economic and social developments of the 21st century. Mega-cities and metropolises catch the eye, but less densely populated areas with mid-sized cities as regional hubs serving surrounding villages and residential centers, have their own opportunities and challenges to shape their future.
European Universities want to take a proactive role in shaping that future by building on the rapid development of digital infrastructures across Europe and combining that with the strengths and values of people and communities in their respective regions. Bottom-up collaboration, challenge-based innovation and education seem to be the way forward in this approach.
Inspired by SDG 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable), University of Twente developed a smart regions agenda in which 4 thematic areas of work are proposed to get started: