This Community of Competences will address the challenge of technological innovation. It merges with the old Services Community. It will also address new urban economy, and the subject of smart territories. 
It will focus on the soft power brought by technology, and the innovation of services in business, health or tourism, as well as the innovation in buildings and construction.

vancouver-beachesNew challenges are emerging in urban and territorial development: the evolution of individual and collective values, lifestyles, security, green economy, technological risks, economic competition, segregation and integration, new mobility, entry of new players in urban development, urban growth but shrinking cities, and need of new governance arrangements with stronger involvement of the inhabitants.

The mature economies are witnessing a major shift of employment into service-led activities and a continuous stream of innovation into the tertiary sector. Changes in the service-led economy - including the content and delivery of universal services such as health, education, welfare, basic urban services - question the capacity and the place of the State and of local governments in the provision of these services, and thus social equity. Furthermore, the trends towards the decentralised nature of services, like transport, energy, waste collection, retail and health, impact the nature of urban development. In such a rapidly changing economic and technological context, urban stakeholders (service providers, local governments) are looking to more options to deliver quality services to the inhabitants.

INTA members and partners have identified 4 critical areas being subjects to change under the pressure of innovation, of changing demand and of new approaches to sustainable development.

Tourism sector as a major services provider, and as an economic leverage for economic development, is moving rapidly under the effects of information technology, new modes of travelling, new demands for leisure...

Health: the ageing population in many part of the industrialised world questions the links between territory, accessibility, disability, and innovation for medical and para-medical care.

Retail: shopping mall are emptying, new behaviours are rising (internet shopping, late opening city centre shops) that raise the question of commercial planning, delivery systems and logistic areas.

Urban services: waste, water management and energy are basic services that are, with innovation into local production networks, subject to new processes in developed and developing countries. New markets are opening and new stakeholders are emerging.

  • How will patterns for urban services continue to change, how can service's providers respond and what are the consequences on the sustainability of the urban development process?
  • What are the key trends at work that shape the patterns for urban services?
  • What are the relevant respective combinations of trends that affect the 4 sectors?
  • Are these trends sufficiently acknowledged by urban policy makers and planners; are best practices of forward thinking in the public sector available and what can we learn?
  • What is the (new) interplay between changing patterns for urban services and new demand for housing?
  • How should urban service providers (shopping mall developers/owners, healthcare providers, hotel chains, etc.) respond to the trend of concentration and specialisation and achieve optimal use (e.g. strategies for avoiding excessive vacancy)?
  • What are the consequences of accelerating connectivity (via increased mobility and internet-use) and how can we better connect the built environment with the virtual environment?
  • What sort of new alliances can we form to achieve higher levels of urban services provision?


In order to provide practical solutions to these challenges to its membership, INTA has established 4 sub working groups within a Community of Competence on Innovation for Services: Tourism, Health, Retail and Urban Services.

Many of the trends at work affect all 4 areas, despite the wide difference in terms of solutions. We do expect however, that the interplay between the 4 sectors will become much closer; it is also expected that this Community will have strong links with the other INTA CC's, particularly the 'Community of Competence' Tomorrow's Habitat.

Key players in urban services make the core of the 4 working groups within the Community on Innovation for Services: retailers, shopping centre developers, large health care institutions, stakeholders in the tourism industry, local governments, service-oriented companies (energy, networks, ICTs...)

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