20+ projects get funding for City of Things


Technological solutions to everyday problems for both city leaders and residents have been selected for funding by the government of Flanders

Getting connected

From electronic parking metres in Kortrijk to noise monitoring systems in Dendermonde, Flemish municipalities have been awarded a total of €3.5 million to implement “smart” solutions as part of the City of Things. Innovation minister Philippe Muyters has announced his investment in 21 projects across the region.

The call was put out last autumn for ideas that would improve urban life through IT solutions. The initiative was inspired by Antwerp’s City of Things trial project, named after the Internet of Things – whereby technology connects everyday items and shares individual data with administrative systems.

The idea is to develop systems that use technology to improve administrative efficiency, environmental sustainability and daily life for residents all at the same time. The city of Antwerp has been experimenting with the connection of various systems for more than two years.

Experiments included measuring air quality using sensors attached to Bpost vehicles, monitoring energy consumption in real time and cars on the move communicating directly with traffic management systems. But the possibilities of smart technology are endless.

‘Ingenious solutions’

“These 21 project provide new and ingenious solutions to, for example, monitor the quality of road surfaces or to battle fly-tipping,” says Muyters. “I am also very satisfied with the large number of cities and municipalities – big and small – that we reached with this call and that we can help become a smart city.”

Many of the 21 projects have to do with mobility, such as the installation of third-party payment systems to integrate public transport, smart traffic speed cameras and lighting for bike lanes. Dendermonde, meanwhile, will implement Oases van Rust, a system that measures sound levels in public space. “Data on noise nuisance can help us to combat the problem,” city councillor Dirk Abbeloos told Het Laatste Nieuws. “But we can also find out where it is quieter and promote those places” as calm oases.

And in Leuven, a plan will be carried out to identify students across Flanders’ universities with similar innovative projects and get them working together.

Muyters: “The goal of City of Things is to work with an open digital platform so that cities and municipalities can work together, share costs and expertise and adapt systems that will work across all of Flanders.”

Photo courtesy Sonal