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OpenGov speaks to Soren Kvist, Copenhagen Solutions Lab, City of Copenhagen

OpenGov had the pleasure to speak with Mr. Soren Kvist, Chief Adviser of Copenhagen Solutions Lab, City of Copenhagen, while his team was visiting Singapore this past week. We were interested in how they managed their journey towards a smarter future, what they have to share with Singapore, and what makes Copenhagen a truly unique Smart City development.

Denmark is leading the transition towards become a truly green economy. This means that it would be entirely independent of fossil fuels by the year 2050. 

Copenhagen, Denmark has been considered as one of the cities with the best quality of life. Now, it is considered as one of the most important Smart Cities in the world. The business of introducing sustainability into a city like Copenhagen changes the patterns of production and consumption, growth and employment. The city has various initiatives to address modernisation of the sewage system, reducing wasteful water consumption, urban planning and design, a highly integrated public transport network, reduction of total electrical consumption, and affordable heating for citizens

The team from Copenhagen Solutions Lab and the City of Copenhagen came to Singapore, at the end of October, to meet with leaders of government to work out how they can co-create smart cities. “I think that we can complement each other as cities, as countries. The idea is that we create collaboration between the two initiatives, during our trip here,” stated Mr. Kvist. 

When we asked about the focus for Copenhagen, Mr. Kvist said that their main goal is to provide an enhanced quality of life. This sounds a lot similar to the goal of the Smart Nation initiative in Singapore. 

Their challenges are similar to what citizens are experiencing when it comes with greater urbanisation. By 2025, there will be 20 percent more people will live in the city of Copenhagen. This urban migration typically leads to greater chances of overcrowding, pollution, and traffic. Copenhagen hopes to quell these fears and meet a zero carbon footprint. How do the Smart City initiatives come into play? “The elements of targeted use of data and open data sets will help us deal with these challenges,” Mr. Kvist notes. 

Copenhagen’s smart city drive includes working on urban planning and design which caters to cycling. This is key as there is a great cycling community in Copenhagen. “Using big data, digital infrastructure, and sensors help us formulate this concept of smart cycling in Copenhagen,” said Mr. Kvist, “If we use data in an offensive way, we can use existing roads and choose to prioritise what vehicles are given way.” 

Partnerships between the public and private sector are essential to bringing these solutions to the market. 

Copenhagen aims to build the infrastructure for the future in their own city. “If we build the next generation infrastructure, we can do a lot more things, in a better way,” said Mr. Kvist, “By building state of the art digital Infrastructure that is both capable and wireless, we can build better solutions.” 

Smart City solutions offered include mobility, transport, data generation for optimising processes. Copenhagen is looking to apply technologies that draw from mobile device movements, to optimise the way that the city operates. “We are looking to utilise the infrastructure created for these initiatives, in many different ways. This makes our programmes cost efficient.” Says Mr. Kvist.

These two countries have complementary strengths and share similarities in challenges, goals, and visions. This is a strong foundation for building close collaborative ties between Denmark and Singapore so that they can solve  their urban and climate related issues. Both nations are at the cutting edge of smart city development and are rolling out numerous innovative initiatives to reach that goal. Both having the potential to show the world how to be “SMART” now and in the future.

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