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Scotland launches smart cities push



Confirmation of EU funds kicks off work by Scottish Cities Alliance to identify projects

The Scottish Government has launched the national Smart Cities Scotland programme, following the EU’s approval of €15 million (£10 million) in funding.

It had been announced in February that the government had earmarked the money from the Scottish European Regional Development Fund Programme for 2014-20, but the decision has now been approved by the EU. This is paving the way for the Scottish Cities Alliance (SCA), a grouping of seven urban authorities, to begin the development work.

A spokesperson told UKAuthority that it will identify the proposals for projects to be run in individual cities that avoid duplication but will complement each other. Details are expected to become available around the end of the year, and those under consideration include projects for intelligent street lighting – which includes air quality sensors and charging facilities through solar panels – using sensor data to manage transport, and providing Wi-Fi infrastructure across cities.

Speaking at the official launch, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown (pictured) said: “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….. 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.”

Glasgow City Council, which is the lead partner in the SCA, has already used the £24 million prize from the Future Cities competition to build a hub of more than 400 data sets to support its smart city initiatives. These include the connection of street lights and traffic sensors to the hub to gather information on footfall and traffic flow.

Ambition to lead

Andrew Burns, chair of the SCA, said: “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.”

Work on smart city programmes is gathering momentum around the UK. The BSI is developing relevant data standards, Milton Keynes has created a single repository for data, and a number of demonstrator events are being organised by InnovateUK.

 Picture by Elaine Livingstone




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