Concept and Methodology
METACITIES project will establish an Excellence Hub that spans a large geographical area, that of Southeastern Europe, represented by three clusters in Cyprus, Greece, and Bulgaria. Each cluster consists of partners involved in the Quadruple Helix (i.e., scientific, industrial, social, public) with the aim to collaboratively design common digital Research and Innovation strategies, policies, and joint pilots, orchestrated towards the benefit of the citizens, the stakeholders, the local ecosystems and the growth of the whole southeast European region.
As shown in Figure 1, starting from the Physical World, representing the actual city or region, METACITIES will propose a series of system blueprints and recommendations that can be used to successfully build their Digital Twins and Metaverses. METACITIES conceptual model represents an evolution of the notion of smart city, which usually implies the use of Information Communication Technologies for the processing of data and their statistical manifestations in the form of dashboards. As Digital Twins are directly and in real time, interconnected and interacting with the physical city, exchanging processing data and making decisions, they can execute actions on the city’s operations that may affect its daily life.
As summarized in Figure 2, METACITIES project adopts a systematic process in carrying out the project activities, consisting of the following building blocks:
METACITIES Excellence Hub
The METACITIES Excellence Hub aims to establish a cross-border collaboration of place-based innovation ecosystems, which adopt the Quadruple Helix approach to jointly define, propose and carry-out research, development, and experimentation activities.
METACITIES Core Elements
- Identification and Coordination of the core elements required to build smart cities of the future underpinned by Digital Twins and Metaverse.
- Development of designs and guidelines.
- Recommendations in the form of architectural blueprints and best practices for the necessary Information Communication Technology infrastructures and platforms.
Pilots, Demonstrators and Prototypes
METACITIES will design pilots and demonstrators drawn from specific smart city sectors, jointly contributed by the three Southeastern Europe clusters illustrated in Figure. Prototypes will be executed to act as Proof of Concepts in each of the three selected smart city sectors by building instances of the proposed Digital Twins and Metaverses according to the Open Digital Twin Framework and using actual Information Communication Technology infrastructures contributed by the project’s partners.
- The Greek Pilot focuses on Smart Mobility in the region of Patras. Detailed mobility use cases will be designed, and Digital Twins will be identified and described, representing characteristic mobility cases of the city of Patras. Real traffic data, driver behavioral models and mobility algorithms will be integrated to the Digital Twin to evaluate mobility scenarios with the objective to justify the introduction of new mobility related policies and support investment plans.
- The Bulgarian Pilot deals with Smart buildings and Energy efficiency in the region of Burgas. Indicative use cases that will be specified include potential uses of renewable sources of energy (PV), budget planning for energy usage and buildings renovation. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms will be used to detect patterns and solve problems regarding energy efficiency, air quality or climate conditions, aiming to formulate data-driven policies and investment strategies.
- The Cypriot Pilot deals with Smart Urban Planning. It will make use of interactive and immersive technologies to visualize and understand smart city data. By overlaying physical modelling, a 4D map will be used to forecast expected and predicted actions and behaviors of the environment and of other users, follow the history, and to check and control the function of solutions created for different problems in the city.
Green business models, detailed action, investment and sustainability plans
The models and plans to be proposed will target a sustainable Network which will have to:
- Reinforce the cross-border networking of the ecosystems’ actors.
- Develop a common platform for collaboration and best practices among ecosystem actors.
- Increase both the cross-border interoperability of the innovation ecosystems and the intra-operability within each territorial ecosystem.
- Implement strategies and relevant investment plans.