‘Better Together’ Theme emerges from Smart Cities Birmingham Workshop

SMART Cities Birmimgham, Oct 2016Smart Cities Birmingham is the second in as series of exploratory workshops promoted by UK BCSD with its partner and member Jacobs under its ‘Sustainable Places’ theme.

Delegates to the UK BCSD workshop, hosted by Innovation Birmingham, heard speakers from business, academia and the public sector presenting their experience and thoughts on the definition and development of a ‘Smart City’ – the successful components, the role of digital technologies; and the development and investment opportunities offered by greater collaboration between the public and private sectors.

The speakers included Future Cities Catapult, Amey, Digital Birmingham and QSustain who created the plans for the newly refurbished New Street station which has won a number of awards for sustainable development.

The anchor theme for the event was the collection and use of available Data to provide robust evidence to support the strategic development and programme planning, implementation and delivery of ‘Smart Cities’ and ‘Sustainable Places’.
Speakers in Birmingham examined the themes and challenges identified at the first workshop in Glasgow and confirmed the following as principles for success:

  • Collaboration: Better Together – essential to create new public-private partnerships & collaborations to plan, finance and deliver projects
  • People: Smart People choose to live in Smart Sustainable Places. Successful ‘Smart’ is the basis of future prosperity, health and well being
  • Technology: The early integration of Infrastructure and Technologies in the planning stage is the key to success
  • Economy: Smart Cities have great economic potential – how can this be captured and measured?
  • Investment: Sustainable Places need sustainable investment – a standard formula is needed to value long term change
  • Digital Standards: Operating standards and protocols needed to future proof investments in digital technologies.

The common and emerging messages from Birmingham were:

  • Governance: Strong Leadership and robust governance models needed for successful delivery
  • Data: Integrated digital infrastructure, data collection and management systems essential for successful delivery
  • Investment:
    o Smart Cities need long term, holistic, integrated development and investment plans
    o Policymakers and practitioners should aim to deliver long term investment in key projects not single publicly funded demonstrators
  • Promoting Sustainable Development: Successful developments package investment projects to support economic development, and essential social and cultural infrastructure as well as environmental enhancement
  • Planning: Digital modelling should be a standard planning tool
  • Collaboration: Successful collaboration results from effective independent brokerage.


Attendees can click here to download the presentations

The next workshop will be held in Cardiff in December and events are planned for Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester and London early in 2017.

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