Three delegates from the IURC pilot city of Malaga participated at the Innovation Expo 2023 held in Christchurch – New Zealand – on 10th and 11th September 2023. Hosted by Smart Christchurch, the Spanish delegation looks to share experiences with the Christchurch Innovation Ecosystem. The delegation of Malaga includes Nieves Fernández (Architect and Environmental Urban Planner from Malaga Municipality), Patricia Mora (Professor, Researcher and Deputy Vice-President of Smart Campus at the University of Malaga) and Diego Gil, Senior Consultant on Sustainable Urban Development for Local Entities. The IURC project also hosted a booth to showcase city-to-city cooperation across Europe and Asia-Pacific. The booth was visited by more than 400 participants.
Malaga and Christchurch have been paired since 2021 and implemented reciprocal study visits in 2022. Both cities have a strong focus on technology and innovation. At the expo, Malaga delegates had the opportunity to meet with delegates from New Plymouth – another IURC pilot city – as well as with local authorities (including Mayor Phil Mauger). At the Expo, a virtual platform for follow-up communication (HIVE) was presented as an IURC pilot action.
Meetings with Christchurch innovation stakeholders from the public sector, research, and business sectors will be held from 12-14 September. They include ChristchurchNZ – the city’s sustainable economic development and city profile agency – the Ministry of Awesome for high-growth startups and innovators, as well as the innovation centre EPIC Innovation among others. Meetings are also foreseen with the innovation centres from Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury (HIT Lab NZ), to identify potential research collaborations within the Horizon Europe programme.
The second part of the exchange will focus on climate resilience, an area in which Christchurch and Malaga experts have been working since their study visits in 2022. Coastal adaptation, green infrastructure and sustainable mobility will be at the core of the talks. These talks will be followed by meetings on urban development with Dr. Ryan Reynolds (from Gap Filler) on Friday 15 September 2023.
All activities are supported by and coordinated with the Delegation of the European Union to New Zealand.