29 July 2022

The city of Las Rozas (Spain) is a part of the community of Madrid, sitting just west of the city. Over the last few years and as a part of their participation in the Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC), Las Rozas has laid plans and begun work to leverage the community’s assets to become a smart and digital city. As they refine their solutions, in the true spirit of the ICC, the city has begun to focus on how they can share success with their neighbouring communities, strengthening the network of suburbs around Madrid.

Collaboration is key

Jaime Santamaria Martinez, Las Rozas’ Councillor for Technological and Smart City Innovations, truly believes in the team spirit his city shows. He shared that his city has been able to accomplish its achievements through their partnership with Madrid Oeste Tecnológico (MOT), an alliance of four cities in the region working together towards greater innovation. The area is a hot spot for technological businesses and start-ups and MOT relies on building relationships with these enterprises.

Much of Las Rozas’ efforts have been aimed at attracting and retaining talent to supplement this rich tech culture. Currently, almost a quarter of the city’s inhabitants are of school age, so initiatives to promote careers in digital industries among this group are key. Additionally, upskilling and reskilling bootcamps and hubs across the city have helped adult workers transition into the tech sector.

In order to best leverage the skills of these companies, Las Rozas has taken steps to develop their smart city platform. The plan, developed three years ago, provides an outline for data gathering, sharing and use. Harnessing information about the city’s institutions and citizens and offering it to local companies helps them move beyond research to solution development. The hope is to scale up this smart city platform across the western Madrid region, creating a standardised approach to digital operations.

As a result of a strengthened technological landscape, Las Rozas has been able to plan and implement projects aimed at improving quality of life for citizens. Specifically, the city has put a focus on green mobility. The city’s sustainable mobility plan outlines an electric-first approach to transport. Following this plan, Las Rozas is exploring options for subsidising at-home vehicle charging, bringing e-bikes to the city and offering a vehicle sharing programme. Returning to the theme of connecting with those beyond the Las Rozas city limits, the city council is in communication with neighbouring areas to connect rural areas by improving interurban mobility networks.

Together these initiatives have helped move Las Rozas towards their goal of being more than just a smart city. Instead, businesses and government bodies have joined forces to bring innovation to the entire region of the West of the Community of Madrid.

As for the ICC, Las Rozas saw the opportunity as the perfect way to bring their solution sharing approach to cities across Europe. Additionally, building networks with cities facing similar challenges has been a useful resource for Mr Santamaria Martinez and his fellow councillors.

The ICC looks forward to seeing how Las Rozas expands their smart city efforts and shares their innovative spirit with their region and beyond.