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Inaugural knowledge resource for city managers launched

Insights have been gathered across multiple themes including political, economic, environmental and societal

Belfast City Council has recently launched its Smart City Framework
Belfast City Council has recently launched its Smart City Framework

A quarterly report analysing the latest trends taking place in cities across the UK, and at local and national government has been introduced.


City Innovation Brief aims to summarise key developments and changes from cities across the UK, including identifying where money is being invested and what future opportunities might look like within the advanced urban services sector.


Published by Future Cities Catapult, the report was unveiled by the Government-backed centre of expertise in urban innovation, at the Innovate 2017 annual conference in Birmingham.


Insights have been gathered across multiple themes including political, economic, environmental and societal, to shine a light on what UK cities are doing, thinking and are concerned about.


Once thought of as a luxury rather than necessity, the report identifies millions of pounds being spent on urban services that are infused in innovations, said Future Cities. As Bristol was recently recognised by Huawei’s UK Smart Cities Index 2017 as overtaking London in its smart city capabilities, lots of other cities are stepping up their attempts in using technology to tackle urban challenges from air quality to congestion.


“Managing the ongoing growth and complexity of our cities requires the very best of human ingenuity, and fortunately the UK has a wealth of innovative companies that can help. We call this the advanced urban services sector,” said Nicola Yates, chief executive office at Future Cities Catapult.


“In this and in future issues, our City Innovation Brief will show how cities across the UK are harnessing advanced urban services to help them become more productive, sustainable, inclusive, resilient, and more liveable.”


Highlights from this report covering the second quarter (July-September 2017) include:


  • Government launched investment strategies for energy, transport and a £3bn plan to improve air quality
  • Devolution deals finalised in Edinburgh and stalled in South Yorkshire
  • Belfast and Aberdeen taking steps forward with their smart city plans and Milton Keynes announces a new partnership with Huawei
  • Questions raised on the ability of local authorities to manage personal data and deal with cyber security attacks
  • Electric vehicles 50 per cent year on year increase in registrations, with new pledges to phase out fossil fuels from vehicle manufacturers and government
  • The UK’s largest autonomous vehicles trial given the green light to move onto city streets, while Uber is informed that its licence will not be renewed in London
  • £227m of public sector contracts advertised related to advanced urban services, with 35 per cent of tenders attributed to the digitalisation of services and 47 per cent to intelligent systems
  • £2.8bn of funding announced this quarter to support investments in housing, air quality improvements, mobility technologies, tackling litter and cultural regeneration.


“Local government needs to take a leadership role in creating the circumstance in which cross sector innovation can flourish to build a future where our citizens can reach their full potential, businesses can transact and prosper locally as well as globally, and where we attract and keep talent in our cities,” added Deborah Colville, smart cities portfolio manager for Belfast City Council.


“We need to become intelligent clients and understand the markets, collaborating across sectors and learning from other local authority experiences.”


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