The Scottish Cities Alliance today (Monday, October 5) launched its world-leading Smart Cities Scotland brand with the news that €15 million (£10m) in European funding has been approved for the programme.
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown announced the European Regional Development Funding at the inaugural Smart Cities Scotland event at Strathclyde University.
This groundbreaking Smart Cities Scotland programme aims to make services across Scotland’s cities become more efficient and greener while making the cities themselves more attractive to potential investors.
The Alliance, which is the collaboration of Scotland’s seven cities and the Scottish Government, aims to use Smart City technology to transform cities into world-leading digital hubs to enable them to become more internationally competitive and boost economic growth.
Speaking at the event, Mr Brown said: “The Scottish Government fully supports efforts to make Scotland’s cities, smart cities and welcomes today’s launch of the Smart Cities Scotland brand.
“As digital technologies continue to transform our daily lives, we need to make sure that our cities are equipped to deliver for their citizens and for Scotland. That is why I am very pleased to confirm that the Scottish Cities Alliance has successfully secured £10m in funding from the European Regional Development Fund. This will give the cities a chance to work in partnership via the Alliance and give them the opportunity to improve public services, promote innovation and empower their citizens.
“This was the first time that Scotland’s cities had worked collaboratively on a bid for European funding and its success provides a possible template for future opportunities.
“Looking forward, I want to ensure that Scotland continues to be well placed to take full advantage of all economic, social and environmental opportunities offered by the digital age. As such, I am announcing that the Scottish Government is refreshing its Agenda for Cities strategy and would encourage everyone to share their views and help shape our cities for the future.”
Smart Cities around the world aim to create efficient infrastructure, aid urban planning and improve the well-being of the population by using data and integrating technological systems to make them work for and talk to each other. This will improve the quality of life for everyone who lives and works in the city.
The Alliance is leading this work in Scotland, developing this programme of projects across all seven cities to make them internationally competitive and boost their economic growth.
The Alliance’s “Smart Cities Scotland”launch event was attended by 100 representatives from industry and academia providing Scotland’s cities with a platform to set out, for the first time, the “Smart” ambitions of Scotland’s cities connected to projects the cities believe will help them become some of the most desirable places to live and work and most sustainable locations in the world.
Through the Scottish Cities Alliance, in a project led by Glasgow City Council, new technologies will be used to accelerate and transform the future delivery of city services.
In January 2013, Glasgow City Council won a £24m Future Cities competition to showcase how UK cities can grow their local economy and improve the lives of citizens by making the most of new technologies and by integrating and connecting city systems.
Scotland’s Smart Cities will use the learning and experience and build on the work of the award-winning Future Cities programme.
Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Future City Glasgow, said: “Glasgow is proud to have led the way in the Smart Cities agenda in Scotland and is delighted to share the considerable expertise gained during our Future City Glasgow programme with the other Scottish Cities.
“Glasgow City Council is delighted to be Lead Partner in this project and to have co-ordinated and submitted this ERDF funding bid. Its success means the huge strides made in Glasgow such as the creation of a world-leading open data hub and an integrated operations centre will now be built upon and can be replicated and utilised in technological innovations across the country.”
Possible projects for the Smart Cities Scotland programme include those which will offer the best opportunities for collaboration between partners, such as:
- Intelligent street lighting – reducing CO2 emissions by using LED bulbs and sensors to control them. It is anticipated the lights will also be able to charge everything from mobile phones to computers, via a solar panel. Such lighting can also contain sensors for monitoring air quality and pollution.
- Digital health – easing strain on the health service by holding initial consultations over the computer
- Transport management – by analysing datacollected using sensors, congestion can be reduced and, even eliminated, in some cases, as traffic flows are monitored and alternative routes provided
- Wifi – having wifi readily available across cities will provide the invisible foundation of core infrastructure for them to be Smart Cities
Chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance, Councillor Andrew Burns, concluded: “We are delighted to have the funding which will not only allow Scotland’s cities to become Smart Cities but it will give them the edge to attract more investment.
“It has been shown that cities which adopt a Smart City approach make services more effective and the cities themselves more attractive to investors. By working together Scotland’s cities are utilising economies of scale to learn individually and share that knowledge collectively, to be at the cutting edge of Smart City technology and the benefits that brings.
“The Scottish Cities Alliance has an ambition to be a collaboration of world-leading cities in smart technology by 2020. By working together the Alliance partners are able to share knowledge and create projects of scale that will deliver an economically stronger future for Scotland.”