Smart Cities UK Roadshow -
Meeting City Challenges
Smart Cities UK is pleased to announce the launch of a new national engagement programme. Smart Cities UK has established itself as a Forum for learning amongst UK Cities and Towns whom seek to gain understanding on how to meet economic and social challenges. Established in 2015, the Conference has engaged with over one thousand regional leads, sharing guidance, expertise, information, knowledge and resources.
Smart Cities UK was established in 2014 and in 2016 we introduced the international awards which aim to encourage best-practice and recognize progress made on smart city development. To date we have awarded over twenty organisations who have demonstrated impact when accelerating economic and social outcomes within a town, city or country. Since establishing the Smart Cities UK Conference, we have monitored the UK’s progress on smart approaches to economic and social improvement. Although there has been a clear example of initiatives being implemented across the country there is still a significant gap in knowledge and understanding on defining a smart city especially amongst local authorities. In recent years the term 'smart cities' has been lost in translation.
The economic cuts within cities & towns has further added to a stagnation in smart development with several local authorities shelving plans to take forward projects. A recent study conducted by ATG Access found that consumer awareness of smart cities is minimal with twenty six per cent of those surveyed (one thousand) stating they found the “concept” of a smart city as worrying given the lack of available information.
Our own research conducted annually prior and post conference has also identified similar patterns to that demonstrated in the recent survey highlighted above. We have heard from previous attendees, who represent local authorities, on the multitude of barriers to taking forward smart city projects and in some cases, we have heard local authorities cancelling plans. The main reason has been down to knowledge, skills, national leadership and funding to take forward projects which can tackle the pressure points many authorities face including housing, social care and transport. From a national perspective, many of the bodies set-up to educate and develop smart city dialogue have in many cases failed to improve city & town outcomes. In many cases the smart city agenda has been technology led and thus the time for taking a more streamlined approach is now.
As a forum for engagement, we are at Smart Cities UK believe we have a strong position and duty to take forward a regional engagement programme which can not only capture regional challenges, but provide solutions whilst delivering skills, knowledge and guidance in which we can foster transformation. Although national challenges exist within the UK, we feel meeting the challenges region by region offers a more personal approach in which information can be digested clearly and concisely.