London has announced a digital partnership with Finland city Helsinki which will drive forward smart city solutions and innovation.

The two capitals will work together to embrace the opportunities presented by artificial intelligence, open data and digital innovation as part of a new agreement between the cities’ chief digital officers.

The ‘City to City Digital Declaration’, signed by London’s Theo Blackwell and Helsinki’s Mikko Rusama, sets out several new areas of collaboration.

These include the ethical use of data and artificial intelligence for better citizen engagement and improved public services; sharing knowledge of artificial intelligence and its use in smart city solutions; learning from successful data sharing approaches across public services, 3D city modelling and the concept of ‘digital twins’; and encouraging digital innovation by supporting entrepreneurs and citizens to collaborate.

London is Europe’s leading tech hub – its thriving tech community is growing rapidly and is driving much of the innovation across Europe.

More than a third of all Europe’s tech giants are based in London and contribute in excess of £56 billion to the economy.

Helsinki produces almost 50 per cent of the tech sector’s turnover in Finland: more than half of the country’s IT companies are based in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

There are also sizeable telecommunications (more than 130 companies, 4,500 personnel), software development (1,900 companies, 18,300 personnel) and information supply (780 companies, 2,300 employees) sectors.

“London has made huge advances in the application of data and smart technologies for the benefit of those who live, work or visit here,” said Blackwell.

“We should always embrace the opportunity to share our civic tech innovations, particularly with fellow European cities, as we are demonstrating through the Sharing Cities initiative.

“This Digital Declaration sets out a formal framework for co-operation between Helsinki and London to develop our respective in-house expertise and links with the tech sector to use city data to improve the lives of our citizens. I hope this will act as template for future collaboration between London’s civic tech pioneers and those internationally.”

Rusama, said: “Helsinki’s vision is to be the most functional city in the world that makes the best use of digitalisation.

“Developing our data and AI capabilities and assets are important enablers to this vision. Helsinki has been one of the leading cities in opening up and promoting the use of open data.

“Ethical and transparent use of data and AI will be essential in building trust. We want to collaborate with leading cities like London on common challenges cities are facing.

“This declaration is a starting point for a deepening collaboration between Helsinki and London.”