By Daniel Hunter
Glasgow has been given a boost after it was chosen to receive £24 million of government investment to demonstrate how a city of the future will work. Glasgow beat off competition from 30 other UK cities to host the Technology Strategy Board’s ‘Future Cities Demonstrator’.
The city will demonstrate how providing new integrated services across health, transport, energy and public safety can improve the local economy and increase the quality of life of Glasgow’s citizens, and will allow UK businesses to test new solutions that can be exported around the globe.
Announcing the investment during a visit to Glasgow, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said:
"With more people than ever before living in our cities, they need to be able to provide people with a better quality of life and a thriving economy. This £24 million investment will make Glasgow a city of tomorrow, demonstrating how cities can work more efficiently with a reduced environmental impact.
"We are in a global race and Glasgow can keep the UK at the forefront of innovative technology ideas. From transport systems to energy use and health, this demonstrator will play a key part in the government’s industrial strategy and give real insight into how our cities can be shaped in the future."
The Glasgow Future Cities Demonstrator aims to address some of the city’s most pressing energy and health needs. For example, developing systems to help tackle fuel poverty and to look at long-standing health issues such as low life expectancy.
The demonstrator will also show how innovative use of technology can improve the Council’s service provision, while additional potential benefits include improved crime prevention, a reduction in anti-social behaviour and improvements in travel infrastructure.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
"This is a huge boost to Glasgow’s ambitions to build a better future for our city and its people. This investment and the work we will be doing will put us at the forefront of innovative and smart cities not just in the UK but in Europe and beyond.
"Glasgow is a city which is constantly evolving and regenerating and we are always looking to the future. Winning this money will put us years ahead of other UK cities in terms of integrating our technological systems to make them work for and talk to each other.
"This will help us to create a more efficient and a more sustainable city which can adapt and move ahead of the technology of the day and make it work for everyone who lives or works in Glasgow."
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, commented:
"The global market for innovative approaches to delivering efficient, attractive and resilient cities is growing, and UK companies — supported by our world-class academic and research base — are well-positioned to exploit it. This large-scale demonstrator will show just what can be achieved by innovative use of today’s technology, and will help UK companies develop solutions and technologies for the future, for the benefit of the UK economy."
The large-scale demonstrator will be made up of a series of projects that will improve transport and mobility across the city. It will develop programmes to promote healthy living, deliver advanced street lighting to address community safety and perception of crime, and enhance building energy efficiency to provide affordable warmth. Value will be created by capturing and opening up data, improving the city’s real-time operations with a city dashboard and a management system that views the city as an integrated whole, and a ‘MyGlasgow’ public window on the city to deliver multiple benefits for the people of Glasgow.
During a visit to Glasgow, the Minister went on to the University of Strathclyde, which will play an important partnership role in the project.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said:
"We are delighted to welcome this major investment in Glasgow. The University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre will host the revolutionary City Observatory. This will allow academic and business and industry researchers to analyse more than 200 information feeds about Glasgow — its health, economy, transport, energy use — to map the relationships between them and to understand how a 21st century city operates."
Glasgow won the funding through an open competition run by the Technology Strategy Board that saw 30 UK cities develop innovative schemes to dramatically improve their performance. From a shortlist that also included Bristol, London and Peterborough, Glasgow produced the most powerful proposal. The assessors felt that this was a strong, local authority led project proposal in partnership with their business and academic communities. Glasgow has a number of initiatives upon which they are building giving them strong momentum, in particular the Commonwealth games in 2014 being a key opportunity for them and the UK to demonstrate their skills to the world.
The results from this large-scale, city-wide demonstrator will be made available to interested businesses, cities and academics, providing valuable learning for innovative UK businesses to develop integrated urban solutions that can be sold to cities across the world.
Join us on