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City innovation briefing released

It aims to be a go-to guide for city managers, government leaders and opinion-formers across the cities sector

Solving complex urban challenges lies in embracing innovation, said Yates
Solving complex urban challenges lies in embracing innovation, said Yates

Future Cities Catapult has published its second City Innovation Brief, which identifies where money is being invested in UK cities and what future opportunities might look like within the advanced urban services sector.


The Government-backed centre of expertise in urban innovation gathers insights across political, economic, environmental and social domains and aims to be a go-to guide for city managers, government leaders and opinion-formers across the cities sector, as well as a window into customer demand for businesses in the advanced urban services sector.


Highlights from this report covering the second quarter (October–December 2017) include:

  • £400 million of extra funding will back transport improvements across the Northern Powerhouse, and the formation of Transport for the North
  • Publication of the Industrial Strategy and the £725m Industrial Challenge Fund
  • The first ever meeting of Britain’s seven city-wide and regional mayors
  • The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, which includes increasing the amount of tree planting and urban green space, and policies to reduce plastic waste and pollution
  • Milton Keynes will be the first Gigabit City under the new Vodafone and CityFibre Fibre-to-the-Premises programme
  • Bristol was named the highest-ranking UK smart city according to the Huawei/Navigant UK Smart Cities Index, followed by London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds
  • The Care Quality Commission announced that social care faces an annual funding gap of £2.3bn, while Which? reported that 10 councils could face shortfalls of 42,000 care home places by 2022. The potential of technology and innovation to reduce this burden has been highlighted by initiatives such as Centrica’s Active Ageing Challenge
  • The collapse of Carillion, which is expected to have widespread ramifications across the advanced urban services sector
  • £840m of public sector contracts advertised this quarter related to advanced urban services, with 35 per cent of tenders attributed to the digitalisation of services and 41 per cent to intelligent systems
  • £800m of funding is announced this quarter to support investments in broadband and 5G networks, sustainable urban development, local energy generation, circular economy and innovation in mobility, business and public services.

“As the Government’s Industrial Strategy white paper rightly acknowledges, ‘place’ is a foundation of economic productivity. Places with the right characteristics, assets and resources allow innovation to proliferate and businesses to grow, yielding prosperous communities,” said Nicola Yates, CEO of Future Cities Catapult.


She adds: “Circumstances are challenging for city administrations in the UK, with significant pressures on public spending and rising demand for certain services. But today, as in the past, the answer to solving the complex and expensive challenges facing our cities and urban areas lies in embracing innovation.


“Just as gaslights tackled Victorian public safety issues and high-tension elevator cables unlocked new heights in which people could live and work, so too today’s urban innovations promise not only to improve the lives of citizens and deliver efficiencies in public administration, but also to create new opportunities for business to exploit and more productive places where everyone can prosper.”


The second issue of Future Cities Catapult’s City Innovation Brief is available at


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