The city of Kortrijk is a centerbased city of 75.000 inhabitants. It is a city situated at only 20 kilometers from the French border and approx. 50 km from Ghent, and only 100 km away from Brussels and Antwerp. Therefore it is a central “urban village”, and - for historical reasons - with a main interest in innovation, creation and design. As it is at the heart of the metropolitan area with Lille (Fr.) and the North of France it is also a very interesting starting point for (small) SME’s and big internationally oriented companies (e.g. Barco). There are also quite a lot of stakeholders with interests in innovative product development and applications for new media that have their bases in (the surroundings of) the city of Kortrijk. Together with the city of Kortrijk, The Intercommunale Leiedal – an intergovernemental organization – is creating a very high level exchange with different (inter)national partners and has developed a lot of European projects in the Kortrijk region. Kortrijk also is a meeting point for businesses as its XPO is an internationally known place for meetings and business development. Kortrijk is one of the smart cities of Flanders and is developing a lot of initiatives to be able to keep up with the newest technologies for administration and welfare (creating i.e. I-points, Ledwalls, using smart media, networks…).
The city of Kortrijk is a partner in LeYLab, which is a Consortium of 12 partners who are interested in new technologies and apps on Fiber to the Home. The lab for Fiber to the Home takes place in 2 parts of the city (Buda and Overleie). Although the project has only just been started (January 2011), already 120 households and 380 users have agreed to assist to this project on Fibernetworks. The network has been used for interchanges for e.g. e-health apps, fiberstreaming of information on cultural heritage and images/movies (Beeldbank Kortrijk), and serious urban gaming. Since the beginning of March 2012, Kortrijk is an official partner in the Microsoft Innovation Center Flanders vzw, which focusses at e-care and e-health, gaming and Cyber criminality.
As the Buda Island – which is called an (arts)island- is situated in the heart of the city, and is the base for a high level school (Sint-Amandscollege) and a technical university (Howest/Budafabriek), the Lab is very interesting for exchanging information between the city and its inhabitants and for networking about different innovative projects to different peer groups, both national and international. As the arts’ centre Buda and the BudaFabriek (who are supported by means of subventions and logistics e.g. the use of interesting buildings and platforms to create performances- by the city of Kortrijk) are situated on the island of Buda, they are of main interest for new and innovative arts & media-projects. Moreover, within a few years a completely re-oriented new Library of the 21st Century will be built at the centre of Kortrijk, with focus on “smart” apps for Life Long Learning.
BudaFabriek is an independent organization set up by the city of Kortrijk, which is developing a structure for innovative initiatives and synergies between economics, arts and knowledge driven institutions. TU Howest, FlandersInShape, Designregio Kortrijk, SME’s, Buda Kunstencentrum, the Broelmuseum are directed by the City of Kortrijk to build out this structure. The BudaFabriek will be operational by the 13th of September 2012. This organisation will be operational by means of disseminational-, IT-, infrastructural-, and organisational support and means.
The city of Kortrijk is a Smart City: we already are the networking and IT partner for the LeYLab FTTH project (www.Leylab.be) and function as an intermediary for the main Kortrijk stakeholders, i.e. as well inhabitants of Buda and Overleie as the socio-economic and cultural players on the field. iMinds, Belgacom, Alcatel Lucent, Zeticon and others have applied to our services to be able to integrate the FTTH of 380 people in 120 households. As we are still in a start-up phase, more and more inhabitants will be involved in the LeYLab program. We will integrate and disseminate the ideas of SPECIFI in the region and on an international scale, by means of working together with the professional cultural players in Kortrijk. The SME’s and TU (HOWEST) in the city will be attracted and will be prepared to work together with the city of Kortrijk and thus in a partnership with SPECIFI. We want to valorize the best practices we learned in earlier European projects like “Citizens First” and “Smart Cities” and will work also on the dissemination WP;
- coordinating the network between all the involved partners of the Budafabriek for SPECIFI
- supporting the creation by the Buda KC by means of IT deliverables and infrastrucures leading towards the homes, the creative buildings and the open areas by means of LeYLab, a Fiber to the home network;
- being an IT helpdesk for the Flemish usecases;
- creating a platform in the region by informing the people of Kortrijk and the South of Flanders/North of France region (e.g. ia Ledwalls/videowalls showing productions, dissemination by the different communicational means of the city, dissemination by means of the LeYLab FIBERnetwork)