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Plans for “ambitious and brave” new UK smart city

New city seeks to be global exemplar of what is needed to create a successful and happy community

A town-scale smart city will replace the UK's largest oil fired power station at Fawley
A town-scale smart city will replace the UK's largest oil fired power station at Fawley

The Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton is to help construct a new “merchant” city with “intelligent infrastructure” in association with Fawley Waterside.


Fawley Waterside purchased the Fawley Power Station site from RWE npower in 2015. The company was founded and is led by chief executive Aldred Drummond, owner of the neighbouring Cadland Estate.


The new city will be built from the “internet up” with the aim of it being a global exemplar of what is required to create a successful and happy community. “Merchant” refers to digital technology enabling connections to the world.


The new city, which is being hailed as the first “town-scale” smart city in either America or Europe, will be sited at the former power station location near Southampton, UK.


The institute joins a core technical group which comprises Cisco, IBM, Siemens and Vodafone.


“We are delighted to be part of this group and to help balance the social and the technical aspects of such an ambitious and brave project,” said professor Dame Wendy Hall, executive director of the Web Science Institute, University of Southampton.


“Smart City projects the world over aim to provide better services for their residents, businesses and society, but what Fawley Waterside aims to do is ground-breaking,” added Scot Gardner, chief executive, Cisco UK & Ireland.


“Taking the concept of intelligence through connectivity as the foundational principle has the potential to challenge how we architect cities. We look forward to working with the leading consortium of partners on building the vision out further.”


Set between the natural landscape of the New Forest National Park and active waterways of the Solent. In this “geographically extraordinary location”, Fawley Waterside said it plans to build a town defined by the beauty of its architecture and landscape as a demonstrably positive addition both visually and environmentally.


“We have the opportunity to create a place that will be enormously beneficial to both new and existing communities and be the spearhead for showing how the UK has a new blueprint for successful town building,” said Aldred Drummond, chief executive, Fawley Waterside.


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