Digital Cities in Europe

Comparative analysis of smart/digital cities. Lessons from Germany, opportunities for Romania

Project management: Mirela Marcut, University of Oradea

The project builds on previous analyses of European digital policy (Marcut 2017) in order to help answer the following questions:

  • How can local authorities contribute to EU digital policy?
  • How are local authorities currently contributing to EU digital policy (in its various mechanisms)?
  • What are the authorities’ local policies in relation to digital transformation? Examples of good practices (exemplification on Darmstadt digital city project)
  • What are the local policies in Romania in relation to digital transformation?


  1. The growing interest of the EU towards digital issues has become evident, while the number of players involved has also grown – from governments, to NGOs, to major IT players, from public to private actors. In this sense, the focus of this proposal is to analyze the involvement and contribution of one particular actor – the local authorities. The case study of Darmstadt is relevant to help create a framework capable of helping cities contribute to the EU digital policy, while developing a better city for their citizens with their own local policies.
  2. The statistical analyses and the digital progress reports issued by the European Commission show the existing fragmentation between digital markets, as well as between Member States as regards infrastructure, digital skills, digital public services, etc. This still occurs even as the involvement of the EU has extended, hence there is need for a more targeted approach to create bridges between digital champions and digital up-and-comers. This is another focus of the proposal – to create a bond of best practice between digital champions – Darmstadt – and digital up-and-comers – cities from Romania, such as Cluj-Napoca, Oradea, etc.
  3. Local or regional projects of digitalization occur in many member states in the forms of smart city or digital city agendas, irrespective of the overall digital agenda for the entire supranational entity. Such examples include Darmstadt (Germany) – digital city, Alba Iulia (Romania) – smart city or other local initiatives to bring forward digitalization in city life. They take place independently of the DSM agenda, but they most certainly feed policy results to the overall objectives with projects for digital skills or digitized public services. Hence, the third focus of this proposal is to investigate the ways in which these local initiatives can feed into the Digital Single Market and into Digital Europe as European digital policies.