Since 2008, more than two million euros have been invested in school robotics in Estonia, which is the largest investment in robotics per capita in the world. This, in turn, has ensured that almost half of Estonian schools are equipped with robots and are able to organize robotics-related activities.
SmartEnCity main objective is to develop a highly adaptable and replicable systemic approach towards urban transformation into sustainable, smart and resource-efficient urban environments in Europe through the integrated planning and implementation of measures aimed at improving energy efficiency in main consuming sectors in cities, while increasing their supply of renewable energy, and demonstrate its benefits.
The project presents a great substantive challenge – reconstruction of an existing city into a smart and energy-efficient community. Smart city solutions have been globally above all practiced on new houses and new city districts before, for example, one comprehensive solution is the town of Songdo http://songdoibd.com in South Korea. Reconstruction of an existing city is, however, technologically and organizationally much more complex, as understandings and interests clash with materials, heritage conservation, acceptance of new technologies, ownership, social problems, logistics and many other issues.
Reconstruction of the old buildings has been undertaken by a group operating on the initiative of the technological innovation centre Technalia (http://www.tecnalia.com/en/) from the Basque Country, Spain, which was selected for funding as one of the three to be funded out of the applications by 52 consortiums. The partner cities of the SmartEnCity project are Tartu, Victoria-Gasteiz (Spain) and Sønderborg (Denmark); other Estonian partners include the Tartu City Government, AS Eesti Telekom, the Tartu Regional Energy Agency, the Institute of Baltic Studies, the Smart City Lab cluster, AS Fortum Tartu, Cityntel OÜ and Elektritakso.
It is planned to renovate 900 Khrushchev-era apartments (23 houses) for 8.2 million euros in Tartu, develop energy systems and the electric car network. The workgroup of the Department of Geography of the University of Tartu will be tasked with developing the smart city business models needed for implementation of the new technologies, improving the application of sensor technologies and implementing an integrated planning model.
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