Växjö seeks to meet societal challenges and the SDGs with digital innovation

Växjö has been selected as one of the 20 projects in the 4th round of the Urban Innovation Programme (UIA) which is an EU funded initiative geared towards finding world unique solutions for sustainable urban development. The DIACCESS (Digital Acceleration for Medium Sized Sustainable Cities​) project aims on bringing together municipal services with digital innovators to jointly and in close cooperation with citizens and end-users develop highly effective and relevant digital solutions to meet societal challenges.

Växjö is a Swedish Municipality with some 93,000 inhabitants situated in south of Sweden. The city, as many other medium size cities Europe, has many needs and challenges linked to the social development goals (SDGs) to meet a changing world. For Växjö, many of these challenges has been confirmed in the process of developing a sustainable development programme which recently has been approved. Challenges could be linked to the environment, climate change, transport, food waste, congestion, an elderly population, educational needs, safety/security, lack of competent staff in certain sectors coupled with a shrinking tax base et cetera.

By doing a comprehensive pre-study Växjö has concluded that many challenges could be tackled or eased by using smart digital tools and/or services. However, they also realised that the services needed are often very complex and involves many different stakeholders, why it is believed that the only way to come up with highly functional solutions is to work closely between the municipal services and digital innovators, involving citizens and the end-users into the innovation processes.

The DIACCESS project has been designed to become the engine for the development of solutions by providing a framework for cooperation and facilitation. The project contains of three major components which all have an important part of the equation. The heart of the project is Växjö Digital Acceleration Hub (VDAH) which is a unit of project facilitators which will drive innovation processes from identification through procurement to finalised pilot. VDAH will be assisted by a digital lab which will be working on pilot development, testing and data processing. Finally, there will be a data-platform developed to bring together data sources from within and outside the project, including from external data providers to bring opportunities for smart innovation of integrated data sources.   

The three-year project started on 1 September 2019 and brings together a consortium which includes eight highly committed local actors from public, private and non-governmental sectors.

DIACCESS aims to develop a total of 10 fully developed and marketable service based on needs and 6 services based on data. So far two specific challenges have been identified and initiated. One is to build a smart system for snow surveillance and de-icing and the other to create a smart system for managing temperature in buildings. Both these systems will be built on a total of 2000 sensors and 200 cameras which will be installed in the city, including relevant pilot buildings. An important aspect of the project is to have a holistic perspective in everything being done, for instance to allow sensors and cameras to be used for different purposes.

The DIACCESS project has a budget of approximately 3.4 million Euro with 80% EU-financing.

For more information, please contact: Andréa Swedenborg (project manager); e-mail: andrea.swedenborg [at] vaxjo.se; ph: +46 470 410 19

Picture from Växjö's DIACCESS project