Guimarães, a Smart City for All
City/Region : Guimarães , Portugal

Guimarães, a Smart City for All focuses on the transformation of Guimarães into a sustainable, attractive, lively and wealthy city, through the integrated implementation of 12 transformative projects, which focus on digital solutions, public participation, science, innovation and knowledge.

Guimarães aligns with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and  Sustainable Development Goal 11 - Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Guimarães, a Smart City for All is a transformative programme, which is for and includes the participation of citizens. Thus,  Guimarães, a Smart City for All is not just a sustainable project, is is a resilient action too.



Agendas addressed
DecarbonisationUrban mobilityWater resources and air quality
Climate changePublic space
Pathways followed
  • Involve citizens through participatory implementation
  • Apply innovative financing approaches
  • Wisely select and apply smart technologies
  • Support open data standards
Sankey diagram (before and after interventions)

Guimarães is a city in northern Potugal, which has a population of 150.000 inhabitants. Its historic town centre has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. In 2012, Guimarães was awarded the title of European Capital of Culture and in 2013 the title of European City of Sport.

In 2013, Guimarães joined the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, submitting a SEAP that was approved by the Committee in 2014. In 2016, Guimarães achieved the 2020 targets of 20% CO2 reduction. Now, the city is committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030.

The transformative action, Guimarães, a Smart City for All, is the demonstration of the political will to transform Guimarães with and for the citizens. The Transformative Action’s strategy is divided into 12 transformative projects, addressing the main urban challenges towards sustainability: Energy; Data (ICT); Mobility; Climate; Housing; Health; Environment; Space; Work; Knowledge; Community; and Governance.

In Action
SMARTATHON: Co-creation moment

The Transformative Action includes a full size urban lab. This integrates a smart urban district of approximately 0.48km2, that ranges from the historic City Centre, including the Castle, the south urban space belonging to Couros, marked by its density, to the east part with concentrated housing and the city park.

In the smart urban district, 9 buildings were selected, and energy sustainability intervention was integrated into them, demonstrating and implementing several technologies through an open innovation approach. These technologies include: Adaptated PV solar facade; Tiles roof tops photovoltaic panels; Responsive street light sets; Street light multi-dimensional control; Parking connectors and IR Cameras, among others. Local social and business enterprises and cooperatives were invited to participate in order to give the action a resilient nature.

The district includes artistic and creative incubators for innovative emerging social and entrepreneurial start-ups.

The district’s population was involved in co-designing the Smart City programme implementation and is actively participating in the full scale urban lab.

The energy sustainability gains were monitored by an open monitoring system.

Other cities were invited to participate, supplying Guimarães with guidance, cooperating with solutions and sharing collaborative approaches. This network is aimed at sharing results of this Transformative Action and at involving the urban population of the participating cities to get transversally involved in cross-benefiting from solutions for common and shared urban, climate and social challenges.

The participating partner and observer cities beyond Guimarães are: Vilnius (LT); Thessaloniki (GR); Trieste (IT); Timisoara (RO); Kharkiv (UA); Koper (SL); Daugavpils (LV); Telaviv (ISR); Krakow (PL); Belgrado (SRB); Bialystok (PL); Vitebsk (BLR); Chisinau (MD); Bratislava (SK); Yerevan (AM); Batumi (GO); Maribor (SL); Weimar (DE); Szarvas (HU); Dubrovnik (HR); Piatra Neamţ (RO).

The cities of Vilnius (LT); Thessaloniki (GR); Trieste (IT); Timisoara (RO); Kharkiv (UA); Koper (SL) established quantitative impact targets to disseminate best practices and solutions to be shared through this Transformative Action.


Guimarães, a Smart City for All Transformative Action has proved to be a plus for the city. Countless projects have been successfully implemented, and the proof of this is that in 2016, Guimarães achieved the 2020 targets of 20% reduction of CO2. Now, the city is committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030.

Ricardo Costa, Councilor: Guimarães, a Smart City for All is much more than an initiative, it is a new way of thinking and acting as a society, for the future. Impacts are widely felt, namely in terms of the optimization of resources and overall benefits for the population. Guimarães aims to make the city a hub for digital nomads. Networks and new technologies of information and communication will be key points of the city strategy, since it intends to affirm its attractiveness as a place to live for this public.

Guimarães, a Smart City for All has achieved:

  • A significant increase in the share of renewable energies: 4528 MWh/year; 
  • A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions: saved CO2 emissions 1261 tCO2eq/year;
  • A significant improvement in energy efficiency: saved consumption due to energy efficiency measures: 5762 MWh/year;
  • An increase in the uptake of e-mobility solutions: ;
  • Improved air quality: saved emissions of emitted PM10 particles: 0,246 g/year; saved emissions of emitted NOx 0,165 g/year.

Domingos Bragança, Mayor: We are all invited to transform Guimarães into a Smart City, being a frontrunner in terms for its natural and environmental heritage, as we already are for its cultural and historical heritage. Being a Smart City is a milestone on the path towards making Guimarães an even greener city!


The Guimarães, a Smart City for All Transformative Action was created to deliver impacts, such as:

  • To meet the EU and global climate mitigation and adaptation goals;
  • To increase the share of renewable energies 
  • To reduce greenhouse gas emissions 
  • To significantly improve energy efficiency 
  • To increase the uptake of e-mobility solutions;
  • To improve air quality
  • To make the local community an active and integral part of the solution
  • To increase the energy awareness of the population

The cities of Vilnius(LT); Thessaloniki(GR); Trieste(IT); Timisoara(RO); Kharkiv(UA); Koper(SL) agreed to involve 686 buildings in the replication of energy sustainability solutions developed and implemented in the selected Smart Urban District of Guimarães, under this Transformative Action. Thus an estimated impact of CO2 emissions to be saved was established. The saved emissions are foreseen to be around 20.738 tCO2/year for the 6 participating cities beyond Guimarães.

In Guimarães this Transformative Action involved 173 buildings, an investment renovation of 7.07 M€; an investment in street lighting smart control of 519 k€; an energy consumption reduction of 4.05 GWh/year and a CO2 emissions saved of 1,097 tCO2/year. It is used innovative financing approaches based on shared value with community to fund solutions' implementation.

International networks were also involved in order to ensure the solutions implemented under this transformative action are both state-of-the-art and can be shared  with other cities, clusters, communities and citizens in a fully transnational basis.

The partner international institutions were: Fraunhofer IAO, TECNALIA, European Business Network, ECSITE Network of European Science and Technology Museums and Science Centres, CSTB, UITP, ITENE, GAIA, Systematic (Paris ICT Cluster), and Climate Alliance.

This ensures full replication and dissemination of the impacts of the Transformative Action. This partnership provides Guimarães with a demanding environment ensuring the profile is fully compliant with the solutuions of State-of-the-Art, common best practices and standards related to sustainability monitoring, open data, open source, and open innovation.

Challenges and lessons learned

The most important lesson learned is that citizen engagement is crucial when building a Smart City for All. 

The focus has been on citizens, quality of life and a sustainable approach to the daily urban challenges. For this reason, several co-creation moments and labs have been held, looking for new visions, models, solutions, technologies and paradigms to respond to those challenges.

A collaborative environment where diverse approaches are brought together was crucial to the developed co-creation process on which the Smart City For All approach was based. The SMARTATHON series ( were among those moments.



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