Posted on: 30 January, 2018
Application deadline: September 26, 2018

Sma​​rt Cities in Smart Regions 2018 Conference, Lahti University, Finland

Sma​​rt Cities in Smart Regions 2018 Conference

Second International Smart Cities in Smart Regions 2018 Conference will take place in September 26–27, 2018 in the Sibelius Hall, Lahti, Finland. The Conference is organized by the Lahti University of Applied Sciences in co-operation with number of international, national and regional partners and operators. Smart Cities in Smart Regions 2018 offers again an excellent meeting, networking and discussion forum that brings together thinkers, planners and practitioners from academic world, business and public sector. Come to share latest ideas and innovations. Program includes over 40 presentations along with esteemed keynote speakers that provide their deep insight and knowledge on the latest trends relating to the creation of more ‘Smart Cities in Smart Regions’.


A. Green Infrastructure and Well-being:

Attention to the green environment has been growing over the past decades. Its role in urban planning is better recognized, but still needs strong argumentation in decision making concerning growing cities and regions. The need for resilient urban areas brings forth the necessity for wider understanding of the functions of green infrastructure. In urban planning processes the consideration of ecosystem services makes a big difference to physical solutions for city structure compared to the situation where these services are neglected. Planning processes need also support from leadership and management to realise the ideas presented in the plans. The impacts of densification in urban areas need to be evaluated also in terms of of the quantity and quality of green infrastructure. Provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural services provide a variety of functions which are enabled by green areas and elements in cities and their surroundings. It is possible to utilize Nature based solutions (NBS) in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Flooding, storm surges and overheating are becoming significant challenges in urban areas, where the management of heat stress and stormwater need to be considered. Research in these areas can bring important scientific knowledge to be utilized in the evaluation of urbanization processes.

Different age groups and their needs are important to consider in planning of areas and services. Today´s communities are co-creators of new information, communication and services based on the interest of their members. Planning processes are able to benefit from new kinds of interaction and resources.

At the regional level the need for natural areas accessible to citizens and tourists is becoming a larger issue, not only locally but internationally. Development of geotourism is recognized and its market is growing globally. The development of nature connected services provides an opportunity for a new kind of entrepreneurship in both urban and rural centres and regions. Nature experience and well-being have been subject to several studies, which confirm the significance of natural areas for citizens and their recreation. Green care services are planned based on different kind of concepts which use the environment as an essential part of business or service. Tourism and hospitality management face new needs for more individual and tailored services which visitors expect.

B. Design, Technology and Digitalisation

The Smart City concept is gaining much attention in discussions, research and every-day life. New technological developments, together with igitalization, provide more and more opportunities to incorporate smart solution in living, working and public environments. The idea of the Human Smart City gives rise to the question of considering the opinion and needs of varied user groups to evaluate the usability and benefits of different technical and digital innovations. The traditional concept of design has been widening to cover strategic design services, brand design, digital design and service design. Material design faces new challenges in the field of circular economy, where fabrication processes are evaluated from the perspective of material efficiency. The principle of co-design is adapted to design participation in projects which are include processes focusing on user-centred design. People are understood as resources for innovation and development – as individuals or communities who provide the essential information for processes.

Digitalisation is dominating contemporary discussion dealing with working life and new entrepreneurship opportunities. Digital services are a growing market in all areas of the society, both in private and public sectors. Digitalisation can provide smart solutions to challenges in everyday life, starting from individual level and reaching the levels of organisations and society.

The provision of services is at a turning point. The traditional roles of public and private sectors are mixing, not to mention the importance of the third sector in service production. The meaning of ownership is not an issue any more, but services can be shared or bought in the manner required. One example is mobility as a service based on the idea of payment for the service used, not the vehicle itself. Sharing culture is also growing its support. Environment friendly and sustainable solutions are sought from cultural and technological perspectives.

Mitigation and adaptation to climate change encourages the innovation of new technical solution causing less CO2 emissions to the environment, including especially traffic based technologies due to the significant role they play in emissions.

C. Circular Economy and Entrepreneurship

Adaptation of circular economy has turned the focus area of sustainable development in society and industry. Areas with opportunities to act in an industrial symbiosis are being researched and developed together with different stakeholders. Roadmaps to circular economy are in preparation at national, regional and local level.

Due to the industrial ecosystems companies and organizations can find benefits due to the decreased amount of energy used and waste produced, as well as more efficient logistic systems. Design, recycling and the reuse of materials decrease the amount of waste, or even eliminate it, which is the goal of total circulation of materials. Limits or lack of certain raw materials (especially nonrenewable) force us to find new solutions, replacing materials and to think more resource efficienctly.

The transition to the circular economy is needed to provide new action models and adaptations in practice. Replacing and redesigning old production or services with new ones or the development of existing concepts are opportunities to achieve circular economy in enterprises and organisations. Good examples serve as advertisements for other actors in the field – new solutions are adapted and followed. An innovative environment with working cooperation and networks is able to promote new ideas to change practices.

The concept of the Circular City calls for the exploration of circulation models available in a city, a neighbourhood or a smaller area. The design of new and improved models is based on the identification of existing resources, practices and opportunities to improve the situation and create circular or resource efficient production, practices or services. Sharing economic models can be adapted in different activities in cities, such as with mobility services.

At the core of the process is the consumer. The main question is how to design for behavioral change with user-driven solutions. Different types of users are often recognized in regard to adapting new models of behavior. Designed steps are needed to encourage the behavioral changes which support the solutions based on circular economy.

Conference Keynotes

PROF. ROHINTON EMMANUEL Combining big data, climate change and urban heat island phenomenon to develop smart city planning. Professor Rohinton Emmanuel is Professor in Sustainable Design and Construction in Glasgow Caledonian University and has over 20 years of University teaching experience in Sri Lanka, Sweden, USA and UK. As an Architect with urban design interests, Rohinton pioneered the inquiry of urban overheating in tropical cities and has taught and consulted on climate, energy and environment sensitive design, building and urban sustainability and its assessment, urban heat islands and energy efficiency.

JOHAN MERLEVEDE Leuven MindGate: a triple helix approach to become a thriving smart health city. Johan Merlevede is the Managing Director of the Leuven MindGate organisation. Leuven MindGate is a joint initiative of different partners of the ecosystem of Leuven, situated near Brussels in Belgium. Leuven Mind-Gate bundles the forces of  companies, knowledge institutes and local government to fuel the economic and societal development of the region, with high tech, health and creativity as pillars. One of the important programs aims to convert Leuven into a “smart health city”.

KARI HERLEVI Circular economy as key driver for cities and regions. Kari Herlevi is a versatile multi-talent in the field of circular economy. He is currently leading the circular economy area at Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund. Previously responsible for the Resource efficient economy area in Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, he managed the Green Growth – Towards a sustainable future -programme, which aimed to identify potential new growth areas for the sustainable economy business. Previously Kari led the Vigo accelerator programme at Tekes and supported Tekes management.

PROF. DR. STEPHAN PFLUGMACHER LIMA Research on how Applied Ecotoxicology can support smart city planning Professor Dr. Stephan Pflugmacher Lima is Professor for Aquatic Ecotoxicology in an Urban Environment at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and head of the Joint Laboratory of Applied Ecotoxicology at the Korean Institute of Science & Technology Europe situated in Saarbruecken Germany. He has started teaching Ecotoxicology from 1996 on at the Humboldt University of Berlin, the Charite and as Chair of the Department Ecological Impact Research & Ecotoxicology at the Technical University of Berlin, as well as in Brasil, Argentina, South Africa and South Korea.

PROF. İDIL GAZIULUSOY Designing for Urban Sustainability Transitions İ dil Gaziulusoy is Professor of Sustainable Design and leader of NODUS Sustainable Design Reseach Group at the Department of Design, Aalto University. Professor İdil Gaziulusoy has a background in industrial design (M.Sc.) and sustainability science (Ph.D.) and has research and teaching experience in Turkey, New Zealand, Australia and Finland. Her expertise lies at the intersection of design research, sustainability science and socio-technical-ecological transitions.

For more information: email or

About Smart Cities in Smart Regions 2018 conference:

The Conference is organized by the Lahti University of Applied Sciences in co-operation with number of international, national and regional partners and operators. Esteemed keynote speakers will give deep insight and latest knowledge during the conference. All keynotes have confirmed their presence at the Conference and they are: Kari Herlevi, Project Director of Sitra, Johan Merlevede, Managing Director of Leuven MindGate, İdil Gaziulusoy, Assistant Professor of Aalto University, Professor of Glasgow Caledonian University Rohinton Emmanuel and Dr Stephan Pflugmacher Lima, Professor of University of Helsinki.

The Conference is an excellent meeting, networking and discussion forum and brings together thinkers, planners, practitioners, academics and experts from businesses, private and public sector government to share latest ideas, discuss products, processes and to debate issues and challenges around themes relating to the creation of more ‘Smart Cities in Smart Regions’. Do not miss the most exciting happening in the field!

Program will include interesting and up to date keynotes, parallel and poster sessions, workshops and site visits.

The conference venue is located in the heart of Lahti City at one of its most famous buildings Sibelius Hall.

For more information:

Impor​tant dates

Registration will close on the 10th September, 2018

Smart Cities in Smart Regions 2018 Brochure