Smart street projects in Budapest announced

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Zsolt Molnár

Following Viennaʼs example, the Management of Shopping and Thematic Streets (BUM) announced the intention to create 11 smart streets in Budapest, in order to boost street shopping, eliminate empty storefronts, and tighten cooperation between entrepreneurs, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

Ráday utca, a popular shopping street in Budapest, is also part of the project. (Photo: Zsolt Molnár)

The development would affect, among others, the Béla Bartók út, Falk Miksa utca, and Ráday utca. 

The non-profit management company, operated by the Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BKIK), says that it wants to create a strongly cooperating business community in the Hungarian capitalʼs shopping and thematic streets.

“The vision of smart street is not a new service for entrepreneurs and the general public," says Attila Antal, director of BUM. "We want to change the mindset of retailers in the long run. We can only create a smart economy in Budapest by convincing retailers to share information."

He also emphasizes that in smart city and smart street initiatives, IT development is not the key to success, adding that the basis of the smart economy is collaboration and information. He adds that in Budapest, there are five shopping centers per one shopping street, while in Vienna there are eight shopping streets per mall.

According to the director of BUM, this is not an argument against the plazas, but rather one for so-called thematic streets, which may allow Budapest to catch up to Vienna both in terms of tourism and liveability.

According to the press release, one of the first test projects of the smart street initiative in Budapest was the creation of kibérelem.hu, a website that offers entrepreneurs not only rentable retail spaces but extra economic information as well. The platform will also feature competition analysis and financial return predictions, allowing people to estimate how profitable their future business would be at a given location.

"A perfect example of economic cooperation within a street is Bartók Béla út, which has become one of the worldʼs 50 best quarters in the past five years," Antal adds. "Even there, one cannot avoid having to carry out developments, but it perfectly demonstrates that connection between businesses, joint events, and dedicated management bring about results, measured not only in terms of fame but forints as well."

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