Our research reports


Mockups rapport Digital Twins - site web

Consulter le rapport

Digital twins: tools for local decision making?

Authors : Audrey Lebas 
Published in november 2023

Our new research report on digital twins and crisis management is now available. Crisis situations are an old and recurring problem in territories, but their frequency, form and impact have evolved over centuries. At the same time, the use of technological innovation within territories has also developed. One of the technologies frequently showcased in recent years is the digital twin.
This introductory report finds its essence at the intersection of these two observations and asks the following question: how can digital twins contribute to crisis management?


Mockup - Rapport Austin SCI - 2023   CONSULT THE REPORT (FR)

Austin's mobility strategy: Focus on Smart Mobility and Vision Zero

Authors : Audrey Lebas
Published in April 2023

In March 2023, our team was in Austin (Texas, USA) for the international conference "South by South West". During our stay, we had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the City of Austin's mobility department who presented their vision of the Smart City, and more specifically the mobility aspects related to it.

The purpose of this short report is to review the city's mobility strategy and more specifically the Smart Mobility and Vision Zero, notably through the presentation of several projects.


Mockup rapport GROOF - Analyse financiere - 2023   CONSULT THE REPORT (FR)

Financial analysis of urban farmers in Wallonia and Brussels (2017-2020)

Authors : Florent Scattareggia, Nicolas Ancion, Nathalie Crutzen, Haissam Jijakli
Published in February 2023

Urban agriculture (UA) is a concept that is developing, in particular due to the increase in the world's population and especially the propensity of the latter to live more and more in cities. At the Centre de Recherches en Agriculture Urbaine (CRAU) of the University of Liège and at the Smart City Institute (SCI), we define it as: "The practice of agriculture in urban and peri-urban environments. It exists in many forms: community gardens, rooftop gardens, indoor urban farms, vertical agriculture and many others. It concerns horticulture, animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry and urban beekeeping. (Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech; n.d)
The lack of studies and figures in the scientific literature on UA led to the realization of this work. The aim here is to analyse the economic data of UA units in order to be able to estimate the trends in the sector. As mentioned above, UA exists in several forms and most of them do not require the creation of a company, or only one-person companies that are not required to publish their accounts. The sample that was selected is therefore biased as it only includes companies for which data was publicly available on the "Crossroads Bank of Enterprises". 8 urban agriculture units were selected for this study. Seven of them are located in the Brussels-Capital Region, the last one has its head office in Wallonia.




Rooftop greenhouses : A financial perspective

Authors : Rima Semenova, Karsten Wilhelm, Nicolas Zita, Célia Bassor, Florent Scattareggia, Nicolas Ancion, Nathalie Crutzen
Published in January 2022

Land consumption is a major issue worldwide as it contributes to loss of fertile soils, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Every day, approximately 52 ha of land is lost this way in Germany. Along with the land consumption, the demand for food is growing proportionally with the population. It is therefore necessary to find holistic solutions to feed the humankind in the future while addressing the issue of climate change. Urban farming is an emerging trend worldwide that can be part of the solutions. Specifically, rooftop greenhouses (RTGs) using existing urban roof space and fall out of the competition for land use. The fact that they can form synergies with their support buildings gives them an additional environmental benefit. Urban farming can also provide employment opportunities to less secure social groups and serve as education points (trainings, visits) in urban settlements.
The question of RTGs profitability will be addressed in this study within the framework of the GROOF (Greenhouses to reduce CO2 on Roofs) project. The specific case of the pilot greenhouse of the company IFSB will be studied.
> Only available in English


Rapport GROOF 2021 Mockup


Construction of a rooftop greenhouse - Feedback from 4 GROOF pilot projects

Authors : Nicolas Ancion, Auréliane Beauve, Nicolas Zita, Nathalie Crutzen, Haissam Jijakli
Published in October 2021

Four years ago, the first rooftop greenhouse projects were being developed across Europe. The GROOF consortium, composed of a multidisciplinary team, was created to participate in the development of this promising sector. Four pilot projects of rooftop greenhouses were developed by four GROOF partners - IFSB: Bettembourg (Luxembourg), EBF: Bürstadt (Germany), Université de Liège: Gembloux (Belgium), Jardins de Gally: Saint-Denis (Paris-France). The year 2021 marks the completion of the construction of these pilot greenhouses and the start of their exploitation. On the basis of this experience, the GROOF team, through this report, highlights the various challenges encountered (before/during/future) and the resulting solutions.
> Only available in French.


Mockups rapport MaaS

Consult the report

In English

In French

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) - Exploratory study on governance and project management in Belgium

Authors : Audrey Lebas - Nathalie Crutzen
Published in March 2021

In the framework of this new study dedicated to MaaS, Audrey Lebas - researcher at the Smart City Institute - met 8 major Belgian cities (Antwerp, Bruges, Charleroi, Ghent, Hasselt, Leuven, Liège and Namur), the Brussels Capital Region and the 4 Belgian public transport operators (STIB, SNCB, TEC, De Lijn) in order to collect their perception of the MaaS concept and its prerequisites; but also with regard to its practical deployment (roles of the different sectors, management model, distribution of roles between the levels of power). This report provides thus an information and discussion basis for public authorities and mobility stakeholders for the development, or not, of MaaS strategies and projects in Belgium in the short, medium and long term. 
> Available in French and English.


RR4 mockup   Consult THe rEport (FR)  Consult the infographics (FR)

Covid-19: What impact on our municipalities? Walloon exploratory study

Authors: Jessica Clément - Giovanni Esposito - Pauline Naisse
Published in July 2020

In recent months, the various governments, in Belgium and elsewhere, have had to take action to tackle the health crisis caused by Covid-19. These measures have had an impact on the way municipalities and cities have had to adapt. At the Smart City Institute, in this complex period, the combination of the concepts of "sustainable and smart territories" and "crisis" led us to conduct empirical research in Wallonia in order to better understand the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on the sustainable and smart transition of our territories ("Smart Cities/Territories"). Many questions arise and in particular, will this crisis slow down or, on the contrary, accelerate this transition? This report is an opportunity to evoke some initial avenues of response. Although we are not yet able to determine the full long-term effects of this situation, this research allows us to draw up an initial assessment of the situation. Our results indicate that during this complex period, Walloon municipalities saw this crisis as an opportunity to generate positive change, particularly through digital transition. The new context induced by the health crisis has created, in certain aspects, a favourable ground for the development of intelligent territories throughout Wallonia. New digital solutions that were not previously envisaged are now an integral part of the new way of working in local public administrations. While it is still too early to say that it has indeed accelerated the sustainable and smart transition of the Walloon territory, the crisis has nevertheless opened up new perspectives for our municipalities.
> Only available in French.



RR3 mockup   Consult the report (FR)

Evaluation and monitoring of Smart City projects - Exploratory study of the perceptions of Walloon municipalities

Authors: Audrey Lebas - Julio Diankenda - Nathalie Crutzen
Published in February 2020 (in French)

Over the last few years, interest in the concept of the Smart City – or the Sustainable and SmartTerritory - has continued to grow. In Wallonia, this interest is reflected through the Digital Wallonia strategy and, in particular, the Smart Region programme. Attention around the theme of monitoring and evaluation of public policies and Smart City projects has also developed, notably through the publication of various research (e.g. Giffinger, 2007) and projects (e.g. CityKeys). In Wallonia, although monitoring and evaluation is generally popular, there is still no publication that deals with monitoring and evaluation specific to Smart City projects. With this report, we would like to lay the foundations for this reflection. To do so, we formulate two questions: what perception do Walloon municipalities have of project monitoring and evaluation? What is the state of progress in terms of monitoring and evaluation of Smart City projects in Wallonia at the local level? To answer this question, we interviewed 25 Walloon municipalities. Two general conclusions emerge. On the one hand, although there is an interest in project monitoring and evaluation, there is generally no culture of evaluation within Walloon municipalities due to structural (e.g. lack of time) and contextual (e.g. political games) obstacles. On the other hand, there are currently few monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for Smart City projects set up within Walloon municipalities and, when this is the case, the project is rarely analysed as a whole (e.g. focus on final results).
> Only available in French.


RR2 mockupConsult the rEport (EN)

The case of the bankruptcy of Urban-Farmers in The Hague - GROOF analysis

Authors: Nicolas Ancion, Guillaume Morel-Chevillet, Maria Rovira Val, Franz Schreier, Boris Solecki, Nicolas Zita, Nathalie Crutzen, M. Haissam Jijakli.
Published in November 2019

In July 2018, one of the biggest European rooftop greenhouses (RTG) went bankrupt. Located in The Hague (Netherlands), this project, named UF002 De Schilde (UF), was built in 2016 and maintained by “Urban- Farmers”, a Swiss company which already made a pilot RTG based in Basel (Switzerland) in 2013. UF’s project produced tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and leafy greens on a 1 200 m2 RTG; and fish, tilapia species (120m3), just beneath on the 6th floor of the building. The project total cost was 2,7 M€ which corresponds to 2 250€/m2. Despite the project being developed by experienced urban growers, it had to close in 2018. Why did it close so quickly? What are the main reasons for this bankruptcy? Which mistakes have been made? What could be learned? Thanks to the documents available online and interviews that we could hold, we are going to see that the strategy, the internal disagreement, and the production techniques challenges, are all linked to the failure of this project. Indeed, the business model of this company, which looked very appealing on paper, didn’t reach economic viability.
> Only available in English.


RR1 mockupConsult THe rEport (EN)

Performance measurement in Smart Cities: An introductory report

Authors: Audrey Lebas - Nathalie Crutzen
Published in November 2019

Among the different debates surrounding Smart Cities, the topic of performance measurement has gained momentum. Several authors (e.g. Giffinger, 2007) and projects (e.g. CityKeys) have provided frameworks for municipalities to measure and monitor their Smart City performance. While these frameworks are useful and interesting, they often measure the performance of a city with an outside-in approach. This implies that performance is often measured based on pre-defined sets of indicators, which is an asset for comparing territories. In this report, we focus on a more managerial approach – also called an inside-out approach. We aim to guide municipalities to define their own performance measurement system that will allow them to improve their objectives and processes. Hence, we hereby propose an integrative model that is directly derived from the territory’s specificities. The model is constructed using an inductive approach built upon the existing literature on business performance management, public performance management and Smart City performance measurement & management. Note that, given the complexity of performance measurement, this report is only an introductory document. Therefore, the content is not exhaustive and will be completed in future publications from the Smart City Institute.
> Only available in English.



Mockup rapport analyse quali 2015  Consult the report

In french

In dutch

In EnglisH

Smart Cities in Belgium: Qualitative analysis of 11 projects

Authors: Jonathan Desdemoustier - Nathalie Crutzen
Published in November 2015

Many Belgian cities, both in Wallonia and Flanders, are part of a movement to transform their territory into a smart and sustainable city. Some cities have committed themselves to a global “Smart City” vision and strategy, participate in European projects, but also develop and support the realisation of concrete solutions and initiatives in their territory. This report proposes an analysis of 11 Belgian projects considered as sustainable and smart.
 Six main areas/subjects constitute the body of study of these initiatives:
1- The actors' dynamics around the project
2 - Project development and management 

3 - The use of technology 

4 - The sustainability of the project

5 - Financing the project 

6 - The legal status of the project
> Available in French, Dutch and English.
updated on 11/9/23

Share this page