URENIO Research

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Urban and Regional Innovation Research
Director: Prof. Dr Nicos Komninos
Faculty of Engineering
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

The URBAN AND REGIONAL INNOVATION Research (URENIO) is a university laboratory for the promotion of research and supply of scientific and technological services in the field of innovation systems and intelligent cities. URENIO is part of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

The initial research focus of URENIO was about the technological development of cities and regions and their ability to create environments supporting R&D, human skills, and innovation. Interest in the contribution of technological innovation to urban and regional development peaked after 1980 by economic geography research on industrial districts of central Italy, new industrial spaces in the west coast of the USA, and the planning of large technopoles in Japan. These new forms of agglomeration brought on the surface a series of phenomena with major impact on urban and regional development, such as the geographical concentration of innovative activities, the role of R&D and innovation in competitiveness and growth, the drivers of innovative agglomerations, the new divides and uneveness in terms of knowledge and innovation. Since then, technology and innovation have been a standard point of reference in the development and planning of cities and regions.

The current research emphasis is on intelligent cities as physical-digital systems of innovation. Intelligent cities are 3-layer systems combining (1) knowledge-intensive activities and clusters, (2) innovation and technology development institutions, and (3) digital enabling environments. Intelligent cities constitute a discrete category of intelligent environments created by the agglomeration of creativity, smaller systems of innovation that operate within cities (technology districts, technology parks, innovation poles, innovative clusters), and digital networks and online services. Their added value is in the ability to bring together three forms of intelligence: human intelligence of the city’s population; collective intelligence of institutions and organisations; artificial intelligence of digital networks and online services.Their integration offers higher problem-solving capability and innovation performance.

URENIO is mainly involved in competitive projects from the European R&D Framework Programmes (FP, H2020) and the programmes of territorial cooperation (Interreg, MED, SEE). The Unit took part in numerous projects funded by national and international research institutions and the European Commission. Research carried out in the Lab is acknowledged by leading organizations in this field. It is among the few academic organizations promoting research in the field of intelligent cities, having introduced the concept of intelligent cities as physical-digital territorial systems of innovation and most advanced innovation-led agglomerations. URENIO forms a group with INTELSPACE SA, a spin-off company of URENIO, and work together on research and projects in the field of intelligent cities.

The current profile of URENIO Research is at URENIO 2015