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Newcastle signs Urban Foresight as innovation partner


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Newcastle City Council has signed a contract with smart city consultancy Urban Foresight to lead a two-year programme on delivering its digital ambitions.

They have agreed on an innovation partnership under which the company will work across the council to identify opportunities to scale up innovation activity that is already underway, and to develop further opportunities.

The initial focus will be on mobility, with specific challenges such as parking problems in the city, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and delivering more efficient and responsive council services.

Further down the line the partnership is planning to look at issues around improving adult social care, connectivity and making better use of data.

It will involve a broad base of stakeholder engagement and co-creation to embed solutions in Newcastle.

Councillor Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and investment, said: “Newcastle is a leader in the digital field, and our partnership with Urban Foresight will allow us to further drive forward our ambitions to put digital at the heart of the city.

“We are committed to supporting innovation and digital development across the city and investing in technology allows us to improve our existing digital infrastructures and build on current developments while improving vital services for those living and working in Newcastle.”

End-to-end model

Dr David Beeton, chief executive officer of Urban Foresight, said: “The Newcastle Innovation Partnership offers a unique end-to-end model which will help the city to invest in technologies and new ways of working that deliver transformational social, economic and environmental outcomes.”

The partnership builds on a series of high profile projects that led to Newcastle being named as Smart City of the Year at the Digital Leaders Awards in July.

The council has highlighted the extent of its digital and data infrastructure, pointing the presence of bodies such as Newcastle University’s School of Computing and the Newcastle Urban Observatory, which provides real time sensor feeds from around the city.

Last year it played host to the ‘smart street’ developed by Cisco Networks, acting as a demonstrator for the potential of the internet of things (IoT) within the city.

Image by Neitram, CC BY-SA 3.0

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