The European Commission has developed two parallel approaches to support the implementation of smart urban technologies: large scale demonstration of technology in cities and communities (‘lighthouse projects') and 'horizontal activities' to address specific challenges (e.g. regulatory barriers, in standardisation, public procurement and performance monitoring).

The CITYkeys project addressed the horizontal challenges: the current transition to low carbon, resource-efficient cities is moving slowly. Innovative and smart solutions are available but uptake in other cities is low, because the impacts of the smart city solutions are not objectively verified and because of lack of confidence that the solutions can also be applied in other contexts and cities. This project aimed to speed up the transition by facilitating and enabling stakeholders in projects or cities to learn from each other, create trust in solutions, and monitor progress, by means of a common performance measurement framework.

The tangible objectives of the CITYkeys project were to:

1. Develop and validate a performance evaluation system (go to page):

  • Harmonizing existing environmental, technological, economic and social indicators (KPIs) for Smart Cities and specifying missing indicators

  • Developing a prototype system for transparent data collection, KPIs calculation and visualization

  • Validating the performance measurement prototype system by the partner cities as test-cases

2. Build recommendations for the implementation of performance evaluation (go to page):

  • Developing recommendations for the implementation of the performance evaluation system in cities’

  • Policies and relevant decision-making processes.

  • Endorsing the results by the participating cities, through implementation of the prototype framework during the testing phase.

  • Identifying new business opportunities based on the project results.

  • Suggesting paths for the future development of a 'smart city index'.

3. Promote synergy between stakeholders and replicability of solutions (go to Smart City Index page):

  • Engaging citizens and stakeholders in contributing to the needs specification and feedback for validation.

  • Informing key stakeholders at local, regional, national, European and international level on the project results and outcomes.

  • Cooperating with other initiatives, projects and networks focused on Smart Cities solutions.

  • Carrying out networking and communication activities with the other projects funded under the FPand H2020 Smart Cities scope.

  • Providing a common data collection system which supports Lighthouse projects cooperation of cities and other involved stakeholders.

In order to achieve its objectives, CITYkeys was built on existing smart city and sustainable city assessment frameworks. The bases of the framework are the traditional sustainability categories People, Profit and Planet, but the performance measurement framework includes specific smart city KPIs that go beyond the traditional division into categories and measure the integration level and openness of the technological solutions. This allows the stakeholders to access and compare different solutions and planning scenarios impacting on the deployment of the most suitable ones (download CITYkeys indicators for smart cities projects and smart cities)