Sharing Cities

This case study was shared by Ms. Vittoria Beria, Director, International Relations dept., Mayor’s Office, City of Milan. 

Sharing Cities is a EU-funded project aiming to create smart districts in 3 “lighthouse cities” (London, Lisbon, Milan) through innovative and smart solutions characterized by a high level of replicability and effectiveness in the fields of electric mobility, building energy efficiency, public lighting, ICT, and the involvement of citizens.

Applying an integrated approach, the project builds around three main components:


PEOPLE, through the co-design of smart services with residents and awareness raising activities for behavioral change

PLATFORM, through the creation of an interoperability platform for data sharing

PLACE, through the implementation of infrastructural solutions for: low-energy consumption districts, electric mobility, buildings modernization, installation of sustainable energy management systems and smart streetlights

Milan’s demonstration area is located in the Porta Romana/Vettabbia neighborhood, mainly characterized by brownfields, buildings with poor energy efficiency (70% of real estate assets are classified G or F), and scarce and fragmented mobility. At the local level, the pilot has five specific objectives:


– to reduce energy consumption

– to increase accessibility

– to promote intermodality

– to facilitate access to data

– to attract public-private investments

Project activities concern four action fields:


SMART BUILDING: redevelopment of 5 private residential buildings and 1 public building

SMART MOBILITY: creation of 14 bike-sharing stations including 150 bikes with child seat, 10 mobility areas with 60 charging points, purchase of 9 electric vans and 2 and cargobikes for logistics, installation of 175 smart parking sensors, creation of 1 community car sharing service

SMART SENSORS & PLATFORM: creation of 1 interoperability platform, 1 energy management system, installation of 28 street lamps with environmental and transport sensors

SMART PEOPLE: development of 1 co-design methodology, 1 digital ecosystem for residents behavioral change.

The project has had positive impacts in the Porta Romana/Vettabbia neighborhood, thus constituting a good example for the creation of other smart districts in the city. Some especially successful actions have been scaled-up and included in urban planning documents, such as the Urban Plan for Sustainable Mobility, now encompassing the development of additional bike stations, mobility areas and smart parking sensors based on the Sharing Cities experience.

Positive impacts in the demonstration area include: 


SMART BUILDING: deep renovation of social housing in consultation with residents, including insulation of building envelopes, resulting in a 50-60% reduction in energy needs and greater comfort inside dwellings. This was achieved through tailored technology packages including low-carbon energy sources, physical modernisation, digital controls and comfort monitoring. New approaches to co-design and citizen engagement allowed for digital availability of consumption and environmental data collected through smart monitoring systems.

SMART MOBILITY: new 14 bike stations and 150 e-bikes with child seats to improve access by families.

SMART SENSORS & PLATFORM: Lamp posts connected to a LoraWAN network infrastructure, enabling communication and data sharing with other internet connected applications. They are also equipped with environmental devices to monitor noise, air quality and traffic levels.The new Urban Sharing Platform (USP) enables interoperability – both at technical and business level – between different smart interventions and entities through common guidelines, technologies and standards. The USP focuses on governance processes, adoptability and replicability across other initiatives or cities, with planned longevity beyond Sharing Cities.

SMART PEOPLE: Since the launch of Milan’s Digital Social Market (SharingMi), more than 2,000 users signed up to the platform, sharing over 6,000 stories. The platform encourages users to share experiences and ideas to raise awareness and stimulate action around urban challenges, by earning ‘claps’ which are converted into points that can then be redeemed both locally and globally through the app.

In addition to the SMART PEOPLE actions (see above), which are specifically targeted at citizens and users’ engagement with a view to inspiring behavioural change, a new co-design approach has been tested for the SMART BUILDING activities, both in public and private buildings. 


The private multi-owners building retrofit measure started with a public call to Milan Sharing Cities target area (55 applications received) and involved representatives of 20 buildings in 3 workshops focused on co-designing deep-retrofit interventions. At the end of the co-design process, 5 buildings decided to approve the interventions in their building-assembly. All the steps (call, workshops, assemblies) involved citizens of different income, background and age.

For more information on the Sharing Cities, read this article by Alex Godson on Eurocities.