Lecture Series "Planning an energy-efficient city"

Lecture for University of Senior Citizens program in Univerversity of Tartu

Main sector:

  • Governance and planning
  • Citizen engagement


The lecture series was launched in cooperation with the University of Tartu Department of Geography and the SmartEnCity project. The lectures focus on various smart city topics, they are open to students and the public alike and they feature local and international speakers. So far, six events have taken place:

  • “Mobilizing actors for the local energy transition” – presented by the manager of ProjectZero, Peter Rathje;
  • “Architecture and sustainability. Experiences from Austria, theory and performance in practice” – presented by a professor of the University of Art and Design Linz and University of Salzburg, Helmut Krapmeier;
  • “Governmentality and performance of smart cities” – presented by a professor of Kristianstad University, Giuseppe Grossi.
  • “Smart city and smart citizens – how to control the environmental burden?” – presented by lecturer of university of Tartu, Age Poom and junior research fellow Veronika Mooses.
  • “Urban indicators for monitoring progress and transformation towards smart cities” – presented by a professor of University of Ghent and Honorary Doctor of University of Tartu, Frank Witlox
  • “Urban processes” – bicycle tour for school students, presented by junior research fellows of University of Tartu, Ingmar Pastak and Veronika Mooses.

In addition to these lectures that were organized as part of the lecture series, the national event “Tartu Planning Conference 2018” (http://planeerimiskonverents.ut.ee) had a special session on smart city topics where SEC activities and team members were actively involved. Preparations for smart city session in “Tartu Planning Conference 2019” are ongoing. In international conference “Mobile Tartu 2018” a session “Sensor Data for Smart City” was organized by SmartEnCity project (http://mobiletartu.ut.ee/avaleht). Also, different lectures on smart cities and SmartEnCity project were given in various subjects in geography curricula in University of Tartu.

The objective of the lectures is to disseminate expert knowledge and educate citizens on various topics that relate to the development of smart city initiatives, smart living and environment, and in case of presenters from abroad, introduce initiatives from elsewhere. The main aim is thus to raise smart city awareness among citizens, local experts, researchers, city officials etc. Special attention is on developing cooperation with academia – it is expected that students, researchers and lecturers will integrate smart city topics more in their studies, e.g. evaluating the outcomes of the SEC project.

The lectures and seminars will continue to be organized, covering a wide range of topics related to smart city planning (energy, governance, mobility etc.) and more in-depth SEC themes. 2-3 lectures are planned for each year. The decision about which topics to include and who are the best presenters available depends on the project workflow.

Business model:


Citizen engagement:

The lecture series itself is a citizen engagement activity, aiming at awareness-raising and interest in smart city planning. Information about the events and presenters is distributed through a range of communication channels, including the main project website, the project’s local Facebook page and internal mailing lists.



  • Increased awareness of and interest in smart city topics
  • More citizen engagement in planning urban environments
  • Engaging students, local experts and researchers/academia in smart city topics
  • Strengthening the image of Tartu as a smart city
  • Strengthening cross-sectoral and cross-border smart city cooperation


Potential for replication:

There are no specific preconditions for replicating this solution in other cities. The approach can be adopted in any city with a growing interest in smart city topics. It is important to define the aim of the lecture series, the target groups and their interests – which topics and questions to address, what are the city-specific challenges and opportunities, who are the potential presenters etc. The potential barriers that could influence the success of the lectures include lack of interest in a given topic among the audience, inability to find suitable presenters, foreseeing the related costs etc.


Veronika Mooses
University of Tartu

Picture source:
University of Tartu