Dear readers,

For most of 2020, the world has been struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Short-term crisis management has dominated the agenda worldwide and in the EU member states. At the same time the European Union has been pursuing its longer-term vision of becoming the first climate-neutral continent. With the European Green Deal plan, the EU aims to make its economy sustainable by reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases to zero by 2050. The goal is to achieve this by decoupling economic growth from resource use, and by making the transition just and inclusive.

Cities play a key role in the transition to a sustainable economy and society. Most Europeans live in cities, and cities are responsible for the largest share of greenhouse gases. Many initiatives and projects are under way to make cities sustainable. And information and communication technologies are of key importance for enabling cities to become sustainable. The concept for doing this is called “smart sustainable cities”.

In this issue of Eurescom message, we explore what is done in Europe to make cities smart and sustainable. We present selected research and innovation projects that have contributed to implementing the vision of smart sustainable cities.

In the first article of the cover theme, Eurescom message editors Milon Gupta and Anastasius Gavras give an overview on ICT for smart sustainable cities. The next article presents the European smart cities project STARDUST, which has developed solutions for urban sustainability. In the following contribution, a team of Norwegian researchers from Telenor and NTNU explains the approach of the 5G SOLUTIONS project for co-creation of smart sustainable cities.

In an exclusive interview for Eurescom message, Covenant of Mayors board member Eckart Würzner talks about the sustainable development of European cities and the challenges ahead.

In the final article of the cover theme, the two authors from Orange Romania present a specific solution for 5G powered smart lighting in smart cities, which was developed in the smart city pilot of 5G PPP project SliceNet.

This edition of Eurescom message also includes a variety of further articles on different, ICT-related topics. See, for example, the new opinion article by Eurescom director David Kennedy on the importance of critical thinking in the age of fake news in his column “The Kennedy Perspective”. Under “Events”, we report about two important virtual events – the 5G World Forum and the European Research and Innovation Days. See also our “News in brief” section, which features the 5G PPP White Paper on 5G for verticals as well as the latest sales trends for service robots. Finally, in the latest “A bit beyond” article you can learn about the economic and social risks of spreadsheet errors.

My editorial colleagues and I hope you will find value in this edition of Eurescom message, and we would appreciate your comments on the current issue as well as suggestions for future issues. Enjoy reading our magazine!

At the end of this remarkable year, we wish you happy winter holidays and all the best for 2021, especially good health.

Milon Gupta