Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Internet Week Denmark on Smart Cities

Digital networks are both a strength and a challenge for the development of future cities. AU Smart Cities hosted the discussion when the annual festival Internet Week Denmark was held in Aarhus, 28 April to 2 May 2014

2014.05.02 | Marie Louise Søndergaard

Jimmy Wales (right), founder of Wikipedia, in a lunch discussing about the future of digital cities and the role of Wikipedia, with Mayor of Aarhus Jacob Bundsgaard (middle) and Martin Brynskov (left), Aarhus University.

From left to right: Britta Thomsen, Member of European Parliament, Patrick Driscoll, Aalborg University – Copenhagen, Niels Højberg, CEO Mayor´s Dept. & Chairman at Danish Association of City CEO’s. Photo: Internet Week Denmark

The inaugural Internet Week Denmark, with more than 125 separate, crowd-sourced events, set out to bring awareness to and discussion about the internet, its success, and impact on our society, everyday lives, and businesses.

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, opened the event together with Mayor of Aarhus Jacob Bundsgaard.

During five days, professionals, students, and citizens were invited to discussions, events, and activities focused on the Internet. A few of these were coordinated centrally, but by far most were bottom-up initiatives.

In the beautiful setting of Aarhus City Hall, AU Smart Cities kicked the festival off with a number of events centered on the internet’s relation to urban development, and the question of how digital networks will change urban living?

Aarhus as international framework

Martin Brynskov, coordinator of AU Smart Cities and co-founder of Smart Aarhus, which is organizing the festival together with Aarhus University, opened the smart city event: “It’s no coincidence that Internet Week Denmark is taking place in Aarhus. We have been part of the digital development since its inception, and are now a mature society in terms of using digital technology, which also involves urban development”.

In particular, Aarhus has with its massive urban development activities and initiatives put up for discussion whether there is a special Scandinavian model for digital urban development, based on partnerships, transparency and a high level of trust and collaboration.

The digital city panel focusing on the best practices from civil society, public governance and private companies, the event included talks by Britta Thomsen, Member of European Parliament (S/PES), Niels Højberg, Aarhus City Manager & Chairman of the Danish Association of City Managers, Patrick Driscoll, Aalborg University–Copenhagen, and Martin Brynskov, Aarhus University. In addition, Lars Schrøder, CEO, Aarhus Water, presented the case “Prepared”.

The Internet Week Denmark is on track to becoming an annual event, leading up to the SPOT Festival and SPOT Interactive every spring in Aarhus, Denmark.