Background and Motivation
Smart cities and smart regions are nowadays positioned at the intersection of digital technology, disruptive innovation and urban/rural environments for citizens, entrepreneurs and policy makers and becoming ‘smarter’ by means of accelerating the adoption of digital technologies and by rapidly introducing solutions across all sectors of community activities. Many municipalities and regional authorities have already started taking into consideration these advances in their planning and daily operations. Notwithstanding that the architectural and business models of how to build smart cities and regions have not yet reached maturity, new trends, such as Digital Twins and Metaverse are added to the equation of finding the appropriate model. Digital Twins offer tangible digital replicas of several aspects of a city and allow the assessment of effects of any changes before investments and implementations of strategic plans occur.
METACITIES strategic vision is to create a hub of excellence underpinned by a new framework and digital agenda that exploit the new enabling technologies and features, while empowering the various stakeholders to mutually reinforce each other and synergistically raise the level of smart city/region innovation. METACITIES recognizes the emergence of a new reality, which has not yet reached technical, scientific, organizational, and administrative maturity, and in this respect presents many opportunities. Investing in such a new reality as Digital Twins, significantly increases the chances of creating an effective innovative ecosystem that will take advantage of the potential of the region and lead the developments in this field.