INTENSIVE LAB SESSION - Voltri, Green Apple - within the SMART URBAN LAB, in Genoa

During 3 days of intensive workshops for a Smart Genoa, it was developed an Intensive Lab Session (ILS) in cooperation with international experts, local experts and stakeholders focused on the coastal area: Voltri - “Mela Verde (Green Apple)”.

Within the Smart Urban Lab (SUL) in Genoa, various European project, as TRANSFORM Project (7FP) and Urban Empathy Project (Programme MED), capitalized their results and urban analysis methodologies.

The workshop, between 14 and 16 May 2014, was attended by representatives of the Genoa City Hall and the Municipality West VII, the European partners of the project (Amsterdam, Vienna, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Lyon), the Port Authority, RFI, local stakeholders (associations in the area), technical experts, and students.

The activities of the workshop focused on three main themes:

1. Energy (smart grid + heat pumps by sea water)
2. Mobility (metropolitanisation + intermodality)
3. Governance (Cat Med & Urban Empathy + Association Genoa Smart City and other forms of promoting the process)

The main objective was to translate ideas and proposals into a real project, to find concrete solutions to transform Genoa into a Smart City, a city that improves the quality of life of its citizens through integrated strategic planning driven by the local leadership.

The topics were the outcome of meetings with stakeholders investigating actual realization of Green Apple project and of the Transform Intake Workshop held on October 2013. The main aim of the latter was putting together stakeholders (companies, municipality, research) to find instruments, understand links and relations and identify priorities for a joint process towards the smart city.


The Intensive Lab Session proved to be a unique opportunity of putting together all involved stakeholders in a thorough and frank discussion of possible developments, barriers, opportunities and ways to promote the process. Locally, results from ILS will be used in further promoting Voltri Smart “Mela Verde” District actual realization giving decision-makers a clear, detailed and shared view and also highlighting possible ways, instruments, actions to be taken.

Starting from results, further studies should be made into technical aspects, such as development of sea-water pumps or implementation of smart grid connected tools, but specially into business models useful for triggering works in the current overall economic crisis hitting Italian (and not only) economy thus permitting a virtuous cycle leading to the district’s transformation, job creation, energy efficiency and consumption reduction, reducing CO2 emissions and overall climate and quality of life sustainability.

Genoa’s ILS was an interesting showcase of the preliminary phases in an ambitious urban smart development, which will help Buddy Cities and others interested in replication better understand the steps to be taken in the process towards a smart district and a smart city.

Open question and potential improvements

• Energy Working group results seem much dominated by Smart Grid concept (Active Demand/Smart Info, Electric Mobility, Public Lighting) and ENEL influence; the innovative heat pump concept apparently was only one of a number of project ideas (with much less relevance in terms of innovation and energy savings).
• The heat pump concept should be clearly linked to all refurbishment projects, public and private.
• No presence of PV in the area.
• Could e-mobility (also as e-scooters) become a relevant mobility means to access the railroad from the hilly regions – with a larger number of charging stations in or near the railway station ?
• Combine street light posts with charging cable plugs for e-cars/e-scooters, thus increase greatly the number of available posts.
• Could cable cars (modern, individual steered multi-cabin systems) be a relevant new means of mobility for the hilly sections of Genoa, extending the traditional elevatorapproach?

Next Steps

The Municipality will use results from ILS and Transform, integrating them with Urban Empathy and the overall current transformation, to promote a Smart District turning a dream, an idea, a plan into real action.

Full Report

Smart Urban Lab Genoa (URBACT)

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