The Six City Strategy shares the best urban development practices between Finland’s six largest cities and other actors. The €80m+ financing venture encourages the cities and other actors operating within their areas to develop smart service infrastructure and to enhance competitiveness through agile experiments.
The Six City Strategy – Open and Smart Services is a strategy for sustainable urban development carried out by the six largest cities in Finland: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu. The strategy is nationally very significant: the participating cities are home to some 30% of Finland's population. The aim of the strategy is to use the country's largest urban regions as development environments for new innovations, strengthening Finland's competitiveness. Together, these regions are large enough to serve as a world-class reference site. In addition to this, the strategy improves the cities' service processes and their functionality across municipal borders. The new operating models developed as part of the strategy are made available to all cities and municipalities, thus increasing the productivity of the public sector in the participating cities and across the entire country.
The Six City Strategy is based on society's development towards a greater sense of community, openness and accessibility, and the creation of a functional city community consisting of citizens, companies, research and development operators and the authorities. One of the most effective ways of fostering innovations and increasing productivity is to develop open operating models that enable the participation of all operators.
The Six City Strategy's efforts to build an open ecosystem for urban services revolve around three focus areas, which implement the specific objectives of the priority axes of Finland's structural funds programme as well as the objective of the Ministry of the Employment and the Economy's Urban Policy Action Plan for strengthening the competitiveness and vitality of regions. These are:
1: Open Innovation Platforms
Innovation platforms are functional structures in which the city community works together to create new solutions and new businesses, combining places, processes and people. With the Six City Strategy, cities facilitate the creation and testing of new products and services in real-world urban environments and innovation platforms, making use of new kinds of procurement processes, for example.
2: Open Data and Interfaces
Cities produce vast amounts of valuable data, be it geographical, environmental, traffic, statistical or financial, which companies can utilise in their business. As part of the Six City Strategy, cities open their data stores, making them compatible and publishing them through shared publication channels as open data. Together, the six cities offer an excellent test environment and market for companies. The opening and harmonisation of traffic and environmental data also supports the development of renewable energy and energy-efficient solutions.
3: Open Participation and Customership
The Six City Strategy facilitates the creation of new business through the development of open and easy-to-use multi-channel and multi-operator service models and systems, in collaboration with customers. New open solutions enable companies to develop new service innovations while at the same time improving the public service structure (structural fund priority axis 2), supporting the employment of the young and other groups that are in a weak position in the labour market (structural fund priority axis 3), improving services and methods for supporting transitional periods and equality in education (structural fund priority axis 4), and enabling the development of resident-oriented methods and services for improving the working and functional capacity of people outside working life (priority axis 5).
Case study date: July 2018