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On 29 and 30 June, the last Congress will take place in the scope of the research project Smart Cities and Law, E-Governance and Rights – a research project that is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), through the Support System for Scientific and Technological Research, in the framework of the Regional Operational Programme Norte 2020, and is developed under the scope of the Research Centre in Justice and Governance (JusGov) of the Law School of the University of Minho.


This project, which began more than 24 months ago and now ends in June 2023, has involved several research activities, some of which are empirical research and mapping of the state of the art of smart cities in the north of the country, and others are theoretical studies, and the activities have been developed by a multidisciplinary team of permanent researchers of the UM, which also includes scholarship holders and contract researchers, and other collaborators.


We are certain that the construction of Smart Cities does not dispense either one type of study or the other. And, in fact, on the one hand, the theoretical study was preceded by the identification of the set of measures already implemented in seven Municipalities, especially in terms of the digitalisation of administrative structures and procedures and the respective impact on citizens’ privacy, which is reported in an open publication edited by Almedina, and, on the other hand, it was concretised around the concept of Smart City and the set of indicators that, today, allow it to be identified (studies published in English, in open format, by Wolters Kluwer-Cedam).


Building Smart Cities is an emerging theme of study, for many reasons: it is possible that in 2015, 70% of the population will be urban; that cities will continue to be major centres of resource consumption and responsible for the production of 80% of greenhouse gases. This is also why the 11th SDG of the UN 2030 Agenda, which is to make cities and urban settlements more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, justifies the study of Sustainable Cities. At the same time, the new regulatory frameworks on AI, administrative digitisation, interoperability and Common European Data Space are on the agenda.


For these reasons and others that we will develop at the Congress on 29 and 30 June, under the banner of “The Future of Cities: Global Challenges”, we are sure that research around the realisation of the sustainability principle makes perfect sense, as well as the intensification of the digitalisation of local public governance, digital inclusion, data protection, access to open data and the reuse of data held by Local Authorities.

If the 19th Century was the time of Empires and the 20th Century that of States, the 21st Century will definitely be the Century of Cities, and, therefore, there is so much to continue investigating and discussing at this Congress.

All are invited.



29 JUN 2023

30 JUN 2023

Isabel Celeste Fonseca