Local authorities play a fundamental role in digital government service delivery, they are the front office of government as a whole and the first way citizens experience digital services. But the role of local authorities in implementing user-centricity principles, design thinking, and co-creation is not sufficiently recognized, and they lack the fundamental tools to implement user-centricity at scale. 

The principles for user-centricity, agreed upon in The 2017 Tallinn Declaration on Digital Government, remain quite generic and there is no guidance on what they mean in practice. Additionally, local authorities, contrarily to countries, lack the necessary data to compare their performance against that of others.

UserCentriCities is a Horizon 2020 project that started in December 2020. Led by the Lisbon Council in partnership with Eurocities and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, it brings together six European municipalities and regions (Espoo, Milan, Murcia, Rotterdam, Tallinn and the Emilia Romagna region).

UserCentriCities will build a platform for local authorities to help them assess and compare their performance with their peers, and to launch a European community of decision-makers that share experience, knowledge and lessons learnt about how to implement user-centricity. At the same time, the project will serve to confirm and recognise the importance of local government in delivering digital government.

Concretely the project will:

  1. reinforce local-EU collaboration through the operationalisation of the Tallinn Declaration to fit the needs and challenges of the local government and citizens and the preparation of high-level policy briefs and events bringing together EU and local decision-makers,
  2. provide an online benchmarking dashboard to compare the performance of cities on user-centricity,
  3. support local authorities in delivering user-centricity through the provision of a support toolkit and mutual learning service for bench learning from others, and
  4. reach out to a large number of local entities in order to achieve a durable impact over time beyond the duration of the project.


Consortium Partners

The Lisbon Council (Belgium)

The Lisbon Council for Economic Competitiveness and Social Renewal asbl is a Brussels-based think tank and policy network. Established in 2003 in Belgium as a non-profit, non-partisan association, the group is dedicated to making a positive contribution through cutting-edge research and by engaging political leaders and the public at large in a constructive exchange about the economic and social challenges of the 21st century.

Eurocities (Belgium)

Eurocities is a network of 190 cities in 39 countries, representing 130 million people. Through joint work, knowledge-sharing and coordinated Europe-wide activity, Eurocities ensures that cities and their people are heard in Europe. Within UserCentriCities, Eurocities is responsible for communication, dissemination and community building.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (Finland)

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd (VTT) is a state owned and controlled non-profit limited liability company established by law. Thanks to its expertise in service design and co-creation methodologies and utilizing its vast experience in organizing workshops and hackathons for practitioners, citizens and users VTT is in charge of the support and learning activities of UserCentriCities.

Espoo municipality (Finland)

With close to 300 000 inhabitants, 118 000 jobs, 312 km² land area and vast forest coverage, Espoo is the second biggest and fastest growing city in Finland located next to the capital city Helsinki. Being a frontrunner in intelligent and sustainable, smart city development, the municipality provides input in all work packages of UserCentriCities.

Tallinn municipality (Estonia)

Tallinn is the center of Estonian political and business life and has been a forerunner in many aspects of digital public service delivery. In the framework of UserCentriCities, the municipality of Tallinn will share some of the valuable lessons learnt from Estonia’s digital past. 

Rotterdam municipality (Netherlands)

The municipality of Rotterdam is a local government with nearly 13.000 employees. The city is responsible for carrying out public tasks to create a positive social and economic climate for people to live, work, recreate and invest. As a city that is rethinking the role it needs to play in order to create the best living environment for its citizens, the municipality contributes to all work packages of UserCentriCities.

Milan municipality (Italy)

As the second largest city of Italy the city of Milan is a centre of innovation that fosters projects, initiatives and policies in order to improve the quality of life of its citizens through new integrated solutions. Milan municipality enriches UserCentriCities’ work with its mindset to supervise the implementation of each digital project, with respect to users’ digital rights.

Murcia municipality (Spain)

Murcia is the capital of the Murcia region, a self-governing region located in the southeast of Spain, bordering the Mediterranean Sea. As a member of Eurocities, Murcia co-chairs the digital citizenship task force within the knowledge society forum (KSF) and will share its ample experience in digital interaction with citizens to provide and improve municipal services with all participants of UserCentriCities. 

Emilia Romagna region (Italy)

Emilia-Romagna’s digital agenda strives to create an environment where people live, study, work and enjoy themselves using new technologies and the internet. One of the agenda's four pillars has the goal to bring the right to digital citizenship into effect, both in terms of availability and accessibility, and quality of digital services for citizens and companies.


Associate Partners

Barcelona municipality (Spain)

The government of Barcelona has launched an ambitious digital transformation strategy that will place the city council at the forefront of social innovation and user-centricity. The City of Barcelona joined UserCentriCities as an associate partner in 2021.

Glasgow municipality (United Kingdom)

The Digital Glasgow Strategy lays out Glasgow's ambitions to take advantage of the digital age's opportunities and to develop online services that are genuinely customer-centric. The City of Glasgow joined UserCentriCities as an associate partner in 2021.

Gothenburg municipality (Sweden)

Gothenburg is a top-ranking smart city that uses technology to facilitate and support governmental planning and decision-making through improvements to the democratic processes and transformative enhancements to the delivery of public services. The City of Gothenburg joined UserCentriCities as an associate partner in 2021.

Helsinki municipality (Finland)

Helsinki’s functionality is based on the Nordic model of high-quality city services and transparent governance, pursuing the vision of living a good life. As part of this goal, the city has designed an ambitious digitalisation programme, focusing on a more customer-oriented approach and utilising data to make better decisions. The City of Helsinki joined UserCentriCities as an associate partner in 2021. 

Lisbon municipality (Portugal)

Lisbon has evolved into not only one of Europe's most popular city-trip destinations, but also one of the continent's smartest cities. Portugal's capital has a smart city plan that prioritizes its people and their needs and joined UserCentriCities as an associate partner in 2021.

Ljubljana municipality (Slovenia)

In 2016 the capital of Slovenia was awarded the European Green Capital prize and is considered the hidden gem of Europe by travellers, providing a rich cultural and culinary offer. Being one of the least populated capital cities, public administration opts for a friendly interaction with its citizens. The City of Ljubljana joined UserCentriCities as an associate partner in 2021. 

Porto municipality (Portugal)

The City of Porto intends to stand out in the national and international panorama as a city of innovation and creativity. With Porto Digital as key-actor in the design and implementation of smart and sustainable city strategies and policies, the city seeks to facilitate the design of experiences and interactions with potential to connect and generate significant value for the citizens and for those who manage the city, by increasing efficiency and agility.