Towards Smart Zero CO2 Cities across Europe

Photo: Silver Siilak

Towards Smart Zero CO2 Cities across Europe

The aim of the SmartEnCity project is to develop a replicable systemic approach for transforming cities into sustainable, smart and resource-efficient urban environments in Europe. Replicable strategies are developed in order to reduce energy demand in housing and urban transportation and maximize local renewable energy supply. Activities include building retrofitting, integrating infrastructures, developing sustainable mobility, awareness-raising of stakeholders, and the intelligent use of Information and Communication Technologies in transportation systems and buildings.

The SmartEnCity concept is implemented in three Lighthouse demonstrators Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain), Tartu (Estonia) and Sonderborg (Denmark). The approach will be replicated in the two Follower cities of Lecce (Italy), and Asenovgrad (Bulgaria).

In Tartu, the key activity in the project is renovating the outdated Soviet apartment buildings in the downtown area into energy-efficient and modern houses with smart home systems in every apartment. In addition to renovations, the liveability of the town is raised through intelligent street lighting, biogas buses, electric car and bike rentals as well as charging stations and many ICT solutions. In order to boost environmentally aware decisions, much attention is paid to citizen engagement and awareness-raising.

Mobility Lab is a research partner in the project whose main role is to understand the social impacts of smart retrofit intervention at the level of the consortium. Mobility Lab coordinates the task related to data collection and monitoring. Mobility Lab is participating also in local community engagement and awareness-raising activities in Tartu, such as organizing public lecture series and social innovation experiments. The data collected in the SmartEnCity project through various activities has been a basis for other international projects (e.g., MARA) and project proposals as well as for numerous bachelor and master theses.

Research output

  • Mooses, V., Pastak I., Kamenjuk, P., Poom, A. (2022). Residents’ Perceptions of a Smart Technology Retrofit Towards Nearly Zero-Energy Performance. Urban Planning 7(2): 20–32. DOI:
  • Ahas, R., Mooses, V., Kamenjuk, P., Tamm, R. (2019). Retrofitting Soviet-Era Apartment Buildings with ‘Smart City’ Features: The H2020 SmartEnCity Project in Tartu, Estonia. In D.B. Hess & T. Tammaru (Eds.), Housing Estates in the Baltic Countries. The Legacy of Central Planning in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (pp. 357-375). DOI:

Media coverage

Video created for the EXPO 2020 Dubai
  • Siiri Silm “Implementing the three pillars of smart city: SUSTAINABILITY, DIGITALISATION and SOCIAL INCLUSION in Tartu, Estonia”, 15.12.2021, Expo Siiri Silm_2021_EXPO
  • Podcast: What makes a city smart?  Maarja Merivoo-Parro hosts Associate Professor Siiri Silm and senior researcher Ralf-Martin Soe to discuss about novel research in Estonia pertaining to making cities smarter.
  • Interview with Deutsche Welle, from which an article was made
  • Mooses, V., Kamenjuk, P., Tatar, M., Tamm, R (2019) – From hruchovka to smartovka – smart city and Tartu’s smart neighbourhood. Horisont, september-oktoober. Popular science article
  • 2020. Broadcast Särtsakas tulevik in Äripäev radio. Smart cities and Tartu SmartEnCity project. Radio broadcast show

Conference presentations

  • 2021 – Silm, S. Implementing the three pillars of smart city: SUSTAINABILITY, DIGITALISATION and SOCIAL INCLUSION in Tartu, Estonia. EXPO 2020 Dubai, Estonia’s pavilion “The Day of the Universities”
  • 2020 – Mooses, V. Developing smart cities. Viewpoints from academia. Baltic Smart City Dialogues, virtual conference
  • 2019 – Mooses, V. The interplay between digital skills and space: geographical perspective. Erasmus+ Jean Monnet project Digital Technologies, Transformations and Skills: Robotics and EU Perceptions (D3REU). Adelaide, Australia
  • 2019 – Mooses, V., Pastak, I., Kamenjuk, P., Poom, A. From khrushcevka to smartovka: H2020 SmartEnCity Project in Tartu and related research. Workshop on Contemporary Social Trends, Policy Initiatives and Planning Measures in Large Housing Estates. Tallinn, Estonia
  • 2019 – Pastak, I., Mooses, V., Kamenjuk, P., Poom, A. Smart city interventions and pro-environmental behaviour change: an interview study with khrushchevka-dwellers

Conference sessions

  • Session at CATferece 2019 “Smart post-socialist city”. Organisers: Ingmar Pastak, Veronika Mooses
  • Session at Tartu Planeerimiskonverents 2018 “Tark linn”. Korraldajad Veronika Mooses, Marek Muiste
  • Session at Tartu Planeerimiskonverents 2019 “Olla nutikas nii linnas kui maal”. Korraldajad Veronika Mooses, Ralf-Martin Soe, Ingmar Pastak

Open Lecture at the University of Tartu

  • Mooses, V., Poom, A. 2019. Tark linn ja targad elanikud – kuidas keskkonnakoormust ohjes hoida?
  • Project name: Towards Smart Zero CO2 Cities across Europe
  • Duration: 1.02.2016-31.07.2022
  • Funding: EU Horizon 2020
  • Principal Investigators at the Mobility Lab: Siiri Silm (previously Rein Ahas)
  • People involved: Veronika Mooses, Mirjam Veiler, Ingmar Pastak, Age Poom, Kristi Post, Pilleriine Kamenjuk
  • Collaboration partners in Estonia: Tartu City Government, AS Eesti Telekom, the Tartu Regional Energy Agency, the Institute of Baltic Studies, the Smart City Lab cluster, AS Fortum Tartu, Cityntel OÜ and Elektritakso. University of Tartu
  • Project webpage:
  • Project information in the Estonian Research Information System
SmartEnCity +EU