The Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) is a European Commission initiative supporting European cities towards the green and digital transition of their local economies through Local Green Deals. ICC helps cities harness the power of cutting-edge technologies while improving their economic competitiveness, social resilience and the European citizens’ quality of life. ICC involves three types of members: Core cities, which are the main beneficiaries of the ICC programme; Mentor cities, Cities from the EU and beyond with a proven track record who mentor, support and drive action in core cities; Facilitators/Experts, Experts and coordinators who provide targeted advice and coaching and ensure the programme meets the cities’ needs.

The project works mainly on five thematic sectors:

  • construction and built environment
  • tourism
  • energy renewables
  • cultural and creative industries
  • mobility and transport.

ICC project is structured in three phases:

  • First, Cities are working to refine their strategies to be in line with the ICC methodology and Local Green Deals
  • Then, in the implementation phase, Cities are creating LGD partnerships with business
  • Lastly, Cities review their progress, measure their success and celebrate their newfound network

The vision of this next phase of ICC is to offer the renewed network of intelligent cities support in exploiting the potential of emerging technologies while taking ambitious steps to improve the quality of life for citizens ensuring growth, sustainability, and resilience.


Swedish and Italian municipalities have joined forces through the Sweden Emilia Romagna Network to participate in the ICC as a consortium for the second time.

SERN fully embraces collaboration and peer learning and since January 2023, it has been promoting the Local Green Deal (LGD) to effectively work with local stakeholders and achieve common sustainability goals, using transnational collaboration for innovative implementation of LGD activities. The ICC will further enrich and develop their bilateral efforts.

The participating municipalities – Cervia, Vänersborg, and Trollhättan – share priorities and have agreed to work on a similar LGD structure and process. Cervia, situated along Italy’s eastern coast in Emilia Romagna, values the preservation of its natural landscape and resources. With around 28,700 residents, the city actively engages in local and European initiatives to promote social, environmental, and cultural growth while striving to become a smart city with low-polluting emissions.

Vänersborg, located in Västra Götaland County, Sweden, with a population of nearly 40,000, serves as the County’s seat of the regional parliament. It has a rich history in handicraft, shipping, and trade, and offers various attractions and activities due to its location near Lake Vänern.

Trollhättan, also in Västra Götaland County, houses over 59,000 inhabitants and is known for its heavy industries, hydropower, professional services, and intellectual property creation.

The collaboration within the SERN consortium and their participation in the ICC demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and innovative solutions for the benefit of their communities. Through joint efforts and shared goals, these municipalities aim to create a greener, more prosperous future for their communities while fostering valuable transnational partnerships.