Clean air and intelligent waste bins: Denmark is booming with smart city solutions

State of Green
By State of Green, January 15, 2020

Data-optimised traffic lights, sensors on public waste bins, district heating and electric ferries. These are among the many solutions to enhance cities’ liveability and sustainability. These and many more solutions are highlighted in State of Green’s updated smart city white paper.

With a growing share of the global population living in urban areas, solutions that ensure liveable cities are in high demand – from citizens as well as authorities. By 2030, 60 per cent of the world’s population are expected to live in urban areas. This rapid expansion furthermore puts cities under massive pressure with increased CO2 emissions and extreme weather events being some of the most urgent challenges. Today, cities account for 70 per cent of global C02 emissions.

“Across the globe, cities are looking for solutions to combat the negative impacts of increased urbanisation and climate change and as a result to become more green and liveable. Some of the challenges that cities are facing can be solved by applying technology and data. As a nation known for its multitude of green, livable cities, Denmark wishes to play an active part in helping to solve global challenges in cities by sharing our experience and solutions with others, thus contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities,“ said Simon Kollerup, Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs of Denmark.

The Danish solutions to ensure liveable and green cities are manifold and some emblematic examples are presented hereof in State of Green’s updated White Paper on Smart Cities. The solutions encapsulate core Danish competences of creating holistic solutions, optimising city mobility and life using data streams and electrification of the transportation in the city.

-Related solutions: District Heating and Cooling in Greater Copenhagen

Europe’s largest smart city living lab

Among the solutions presented in the updated white paper, is Europe’s largest test field, showroom and innovation hub working with intelligent lighting and smart city living. The Danish Outdoor Lighting Lab (DOLL) with its over 50 public and private partners showcases smart city solutions across mobility and parking, IoT communication systems, environmental monitoring, waste management and much more.

“Denmark has a long tradition for being at the forefront of implementing green solutions and green technologies. New smart city solutions make it possible to create a more sustainable society for the future. Working in public-private partnerships as well as working across sectors and borders is essential to scale the potential of smart city solutions and accelerate the global green transition together,” said Simon Kollerup.

DOLL’s partners include several of Denmark’s leading innovators in the private sector, Danish municipalities, research institutions, universities and many more. This gives DOLL a comprehensive perspective on the solutions real-life applications from the entire value-chain.

-Related solutions: DOLL – A Photonic Green Lab

Integrated and data-driven solutions

Several Danish solutions to improve the life of city dwellers and ensure a green transition involve a comprehensive approach. One of such approaches is the wastewater treatment plant, Billund BioRefinery, which is based on circular economy principles. Here, the resources stored in wastewater and waste are handled in such a way that at least 98 per cent are recycled to create green electricity, heat and organic fertilizers.

“Many Danish municipalities work with national and international businesses to develop and implement smart city solutions in their efforts to create smart, green and liveable cities. Solutions related to waste handling, mobility, water, energy and buildings are some of the many ways in which smart city technologies are being applied to enhance urban environments, from both a sustainability and a liveability perspective,” said Simon Kollerup.

Furthermore, Denmark has a strong position in creating data-driven digital solutions to optimise the flows in cities – whether it is e.g. traffic, waste management or efficient water supply.

“When talking about smart city solutions, it all starts with data. With one of the most digitized public sectors in the world. Denmark has a unique starting point for developing smart solutions to meet the challenges of urbanisation and climate change, such as traffic congestion and flooding of urban areas,” said Simon Kollerup.


Find more solutions and inspiration in the updated white paper on smart cities, found here: Smart Cities – Creating liveable, sustainable and prosperous societies.

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