CommuniCity Project links Porto to Helsinki and Amsterdam

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Porto has joined the capitals of Finland and Holand, Helsinki, and Amsterdam respectively, to make use of technology and innovative solutions in favour of underprivileged communities and populations. Together they will invest more than a million euros, backed by the European Commission, and integrated in the CommuniCity project, in a programme coordinated by Porto Digital, alongside Domus Social and the Municipal Department of Social Inclusion.

In Porto, the work is being developed in the area of Campanhã and will be aligned with the investments the Executive has been carrying out in the last years.

On a visit to Invicta, an international committee of the consortium that integrates the CommuniCity has come to know some of the already existing investments, namely the Matadouro de Campanhã and the Terminal Intermodal de Campanhã. They also visited Quinta da Bonjóia and Parque Oriental do Porto. With the support of Domus Social, the investments in the neighbourhoods of Lagarteiro, Cerco, Ilhéu, Maceda, São Roque da Lameira, Eng.º Machado Vaz, Falcão, Monte da Bela, S. Vicente Paulo e a Praça da Corujeira were discussed and explored.

Over the course of the visit, there were several working sessions in the Porto Innovation Hub. The first of these was attended by the vice-mayor and councillor of Innovation and Digital Transition, Filipe Araújo, and by the councillor of Urbanism, Public Spaces and Housing, Pedro Baganha. Both highlighted the importance of Campanhã in the urban context and the considerable investment by the municipality to harness the huge potential of the area. In this regard, the CommunitiCity project will boost the already existing social service through technological evolution, thus allowing for the local community to be involved in the planned evolution of this area of the city.

Campanhã as a lab for experimentation

In the meantime, the four pilot participants of the European CommuniCity project in Porto have been revealed, after the first open call. The proposals of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP), the Frauhofer Poprtugal AICOS, the WeSolve ApS and the Hoivita were selected to receive the 12.500 euros in assistance. Through technology and joint creation based on innovative, digitally inclusive, and sustainable ideas, the winning teams have already started creating solutions for the urban challenge in regard to the isolation of the aging population in the area of Campanhã.

The pilot phase of the first “open call” of CommuniCity, which registration took place until March, is already underway and will end in September. Throughout this period, the teams will work closely with the municipal employees and with the citizens, with the purpose of obtaining some validation for their solutions, while upholding the principles of joint creation that serve as the foundation of the CommuniCity project.

The first step of this phase consisted of a presentation of several social action institutions, both public and private, to the group of winning entities, in an attempt to identify the challenges and opportunities for synergies and thus boost the extent of each experiment. The event took place in Bairro do Cerco and was promoted by Porto Digital, alongside Domus Social, both in representation of the city hall. Afterward, a workshop was held, with a focus on joint creation and with the support of local organisations. A visit to the impact area was also carried out.

The CommuniCity project will take place during the next three years, funded by the Horizon Europe Framework of the European Commission. Three “open calls” are expected, which hope to answer the current needs of European cities and communities with innovative, digitally inclusive, and sustainable solutions, taking advantage of Artificial Intelligence and Enhanced Reality (Virtual Reality, Enhanced Reality and Mixed Reality).

The cities of Porto, Helsinki and Amsterdam are partners in this project and aim to bring the community closer to innovation, to develop and test innovative solutions that answer the needs of society, all the while aligning with the European values of justice, equity, inclusion and sustainability.