Awards for the Best Smart and Eco Cities in Croatia Announced

By 24 November 2020
Awards for the best Smart and Eco cities in Croatia announced
Awards for the best Smart and Eco cities in Croatia announced Source: Pixabay

November 24, 2020 - The third selection of the best smart and eco-cities in Croatia took place today at the Zagreb hotel Esplanade. The cities of Pazin, Koprivnica, and Rijeka were named as the smartest, and Križevci is the best eco city.

In mid-October, Jutarnji list, Gradonač, and the Ipsos agency announced the best cities in four categories (quality of life, economy, demography and education, withdrawal of money from EU funds) and three competitions according to city size.

After the big competition where 10 cities (Sveta Nedelja, Hvar, Samobor, Cres, Labin, Šibenik, Krk, Rovinj, Čakovec, and Virovitica) were awarded as the best cities in Croatia in those categories, today, the best cities were chosen in the categories of "smart" policies and policies for environmental protection and sustainable development.

In the finals of the Smart city selection, Dubrovnik, Karlovac, Pula, Rijeka, and Zagreb entered the competition of large cities. Out of the medium-sized cities, Ivanić-Grad, Koprivnica, Labin, Poreč, and Zaprešić were shortlisted, and in the competition of small towns Krk, Pazin, Pregrada, Supetar, and Donji Miholjac. The Eco city award was given to only one city, and the competitors were Križevci, Krk, and Osijek.

As Jutarnji list reports, the conference was held at the Esplanada Hotel in Zagreb and was organized following epidemiological measures, so that only a limited number of participants were present, mostly mayors of cities candidates for the Smart city and Eco city awards.

This year's winners

The winner in the Smart city 2020 category, in the subcategory of small cities, is the Istrian town of Pazin. This title was awarded to Pazin based on a series of successes: the highest index of the digital readiness of the administration and the biggest allocation for education (as much as 52.69 percent of the budget).

"Smart is sustainable. That's how we organize the work of the city administration of Pazin. It is our guiding star. Let’s move on with the implementation of smart strategies. Now, among other things, we have to provide faster optical internet for rural areas around the city," said the Mayor of Pazin Renato Krulčić while receiving the award.

Koprivnica won the award for the smartest medium-sized city in Croatia, due to the highest support to IT companies and start-ups and the highest rate of separately collected waste (51 percent).

"We are very proud that after last year's Eco city award, we also received the Smart city award and we managed to connect three important axes – we connected science (through the University of North), start-ups and entrepreneurship (through the new Incubator of creative industries), and the communal economy which we raised to an extremely high level through a separate waste collection rate of over 50 percent and 97 percent purifier efficiency and losses below 10 percent, which is lower than the European average," said the mayor of Koprivnica Mišel Jakšić, reports Gradonač

In the competition of big cities, the winner is, for the second time – Rijeka. Mayor Vojko Obersnel points out that this is not a coincidence because they have been implementing a smart city development strategy for years, they stand out due to the digital readiness of the administration, and they also give great support to the IT sector and start-ups.

"When we introduced the first smart traffic lights in Rijeka 15 years ago, there were ironic questions about what smart traffic lights are. As early as 2011, when we introduced e-consultations for citizens, there was less or no surprise, and today everyone already knows what smart solutions and smart cities are. The other day we decided to build a new start-up to support the implementation of smart solutions. To receive the Smart city award two out of three times in this selection is a great honor and recognition to my associates and all the citizens of Rijeka," said the Mayor of Rijeka Vojko Obersnel.


Rijeka / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

In the selection of Jutarnji list, the Gradonač portal, and the Apsolon agency, the winner of the Eco city award for 2020 is Križevci.

The long-time champion of the EU funds category, the City of Križevci won this year in the Eco city category. According to the expert jury, with its good practices and standards in the field of environmental protection, it surpassed competitors Krk and Osijek.

Joining the Smart city and Eco city awards with video link, the mayor of Križevci Mario Rajn said that the Eco city award goes to the citizens of Križevci who have shown high awareness of the importance of environmental and sustainable policies in the city.

Josip Juraj Strossmayer Square in Križevci / The City of Križevci


According to Gradonač, the criteria for selecting the best cities in the Smart city category are divided into six units – digital readiness of the administration, the strategic orientation of the city as smart, smart economy, smart society, smart infrastructure, and smart environment. They were developed in cooperation with the consulting company Apsolon, ie Apsolon's methodology for analyzing the digital readiness of Croatian cities, which was applied to our 20 largest cities in 2019 and 2020. Besides, the data sent by the cities themselves were analyzed by filling out a special questionnaire in which they answered specific questions about the focus of the city's economy and society on smart solutions and sustainability – the city's relationship to resources and the environment, and urban mobility and infrastructure quality.

The jury of the Eco city award consisting of Marko Biočina (editor-in-chief of Hanza Media), Zdravko Ivić (Gradonač, Marijana Palijan (CIOS), and Lidija Tošić from the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency considered 21 candidacies received at the invitation of the organizers. The candidatures were analyzed by evaluation criteria based on the responsible policies of cities in environmental protection and sustainable development: waste management, reduction of harmful gas emissions, primarily in transport, and the use of energy from renewable sources for public lighting and heating.

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