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June 13, 2016updated 22 Sep 2016 2:33pm

List of smart cities

CBR travels the UK to find the five smartest cities across the land.

By Joao Lima

The UK is rapidly becoming one of the ‘smartest’ nations on Earth, with dozens of initiatives, projects, roll outs and investigations being carried out all around the country.

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills, expects the country’s smart cities value to reach $40bn by 2020 (10% of the global value).

CBR lists the top five UK smart cities according to Huawei’s UK Smart City Index.

1. London, England

The capital is home to the largest amount of technology companies in the country and as a result a lot of the roll outs and attention around the smart city has been directed towards London.

Over the last two years, the capital has seen the establishment of initiatives like the Smart London Board and a Smart London Plan has also been published to advance adoption of better urban technologies. The London Datastore has also placed London at the forefront of smart city data mining.

Across London, there are several smart lighting systems in use, smart rubbish bins (especially in the City of London).

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is also a key piece in the ‘smart London’ landscape, with the first driverless car trials starting in 2016.

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2. Bristol, England

Similarly to London, Bristol has also built from the ground up smart city initiatives to foster technology adoption. The most important one is Bristol Futures, which oversees the whole smart city strategy for the South West English city.

Under Bristol Futures, backed by the city’s Mayor, to important initiatives have been launched. The Bristol is Open project and Green Bristol.

Bristol is Open, for example, is using technologies like fibre, Wi-Fi and radio frequency mesh networks based on city lampposts to improve connectivity for smart solutions.

Bristol Data Dome has also been set up in the local planetarium to create a stereo 3D hemispherical screen with 4K resolution. It is connected to a high performance computer at the University of Bristol via the fibre optic network and will be used for a range of public and private sector projects, including the use of data visualisation to support complex city planning and investment processes.


3. Birmingham, England

Birmingham is expecting its population to increase 10% over the next decade, posing big challenges to local authorities. To help with this, the city is looking to technology to improve quality of life.

The city has created Roadmap, its plan to smarten up the region. Roadmap has been divided into three different themes: technology and place, people, and economy.

In addition, the Birmingham Smart City Alliance has been created to bring together a number of stakeholders involved in the smart city strategy to align the groups and maintain continuity.

Digital Birmingham is the council’s organisation responsible for coordinating the commission and overall progress against the city’s smart city roadmap, working with the various city delivery agencies and partners.


4. Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow is the UK’s fourth smartest city, but Scotland’s first. The city is also part of the Scottish Smart Cities Alliance.

The city has created the Future City Demonstrator, which covers projects around data, energy, building innovations and lighting.

Digital Glasgow has been established to improve the city’s broadband infrastructure, wireless Internet access, digital participation and skills as well as digital public services. It is also working with SMEs and ecommerce providers to drive innovation and help develop new digital businesses; data sharing is a key part of the strategy.

Open Glasgow is the platform developed to share public sector data sets from the city council and other organisations and to provide a gateway to the City Dashboard, an online, personalized dashboard that presents real-time data to citizens.


5. Manchester, England

Back in England, Manchester has also placed itself up high in the smart city ladder with the establishment of CityVerve, a project focused on smart healthcare, transport, energy and environment, and culture and community.

Manchester’s smart city strategy has evolved out of its long-standing digital strategy, which was coordinated by the Manchester Digital Development Agency, an initiative of the Manchester City Council.

The digital strategy now falls under the Manchester Smart City programme, which has the six themes aimed at delivering better outcomes for the city and its citizens: live, work, play, move, learn and organise.

Manchester is at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse project and in 2017 is expected to be given more devolution and fiscal power as the region votes for a news Mayor. Manchester has set the goal to be in the world’s top 20 smart cities by 2025, alongside cities like Dubai, Singapore, London or Barcelona.


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