Brno and Valencia To Collaborate On Spatial Digitization Project To Develop Energy-Positive Districts

The City of Valencia intends to create a digital copy of the physical environment of a selected city district. Photo credit: KB / Brno Daily.

Brno, Apr 21 (BD) – Brno will join a new project, called “Managing Innovative and Productive Digital Twin Solutions”, led by the Spanish city of Valencia and also including Linz in Austria. Brno and Linz will serve as “replication” cities in the project, whose aim is to create “positive energy” districts.

As part of the project, the City of Valencia intends to create a digital copy of the physical environment of a selected city district, which will include a complex layer of modelling of local energy systems as well as mobility and transport solutions. The main goal of the project is to facilitate the transition to climate neutrality by means of more efficient planning of energy-positive city districts.

The three participating cities are not the first cities to develop positive energy districts. In the past few years, Europe has witnessed an increase in the development of smart cities and advancement towards creating more sustainable cities. Positive energy districts, which are conceived to help districts and cities to become carbon neutral, are an innovative concept in smart city development. 

Cities are important areas for de-carbonization strategies relating to energy, transport, buildings, industry, and agriculture. While they occupy only 2% of the total land, they account for 40% of the total energy consumption, contribute to 70% of the greenhouse gas emissions and about two-thirds of global energy demand.

“The plan complements and develops the city’s activities within the Špitálka Smart District strategic project,” said Martin Příborský, Brno’s representative for strategic development, metropolitan cooperation and integrated territorial investments. “We will be able to verify the procedures and methods leading to the preparation of the digitization of the physical environment, which will then enable innovative ways of planning and facilitate the preparatory, implementation and operational phases of investment actions.”

Another way the City of Brno will participate in the project is the selection and preparation of a suitable information system or platform into which all spatial data will be entered. This concerns data from 3D mapping of the city, building information modelling for new buildings, data from existing Geographic Information System applications of the city, and more, which could be used and interconnected in the future. These would be projected in layers into one digital copy of the strategic development locations in question.

According to an academic analysis of the experience of five other cities, implementing positive energy districts demands a deep understanding of the cities’ local conditions, policies, priorities, strategies, resources and systems. According to the authors, challenges within cities often revolve around governance, technology, funding and community/stakeholders interest. The process also requires a wide technical knowledge, deep citizen involvement, and extensive collaboration with other cities in the region.

Although Brno’s participation was approved this week by councillors, the proposal is still in the preparatory phase. The City of Brno’s participation will have a budget of CZK 2,831,750, to be covered entirely by a subsidy from the international program Horizon Europe. If the project succeeds and receives support, it should be launched in autumn 2023, and is expected to last three years.

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