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Scotland ploughs €15 million into smart cities

16/02/15

Scottish Cities Alliance to lead on investment of EU development fund

Edinburgh Princes StreetThe Scottish Government has set aside €15 million from its EU funds to develop smart cities technology in a programme to be led by the Scottish Cities Alliance (SCA).

Keith Brown, Scotland's infrastructure, investment and cities secretary, said the money will come from the Scottish European Regional Development Fund Programme for 2014-20, and that it is aimed at transforming the delivery of city services.

The SCA will run a series of projects across all the country's seven cities. A spokesperson said it is currently leading discussions between the city authorities on the details of the programme.

Cities' future

Brown said: "Smart cities are the future and we want to make sure our cities are equipped to deliver for their citizens and for Scotland. This means being smart about how we use data and technology to improve services, promote innovation and empower people and communities.

"European cities such as Barcelona and Amsterdam are leading the way with their 'smart agenda' and I am determined that our cities develop the cutting-edge technological infrastructure needed to compete internationally.

"The fact that this money has been ring fenced specifically for cities, against many other competing priorities, recognises their importance to our economy."

The move is the latest in a series aimed at promoting the development of smart cities in the UK. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is running the Smart Cities Forum and supporting the Future Cities Catapult, and the British Standards Institute has begun work on a set of supporting e-standards. The Local Digital programme recently staged an online debate on the issue.

The potential for smart cities is growing with the development of sensors, monitors and other devices that are connected to the internet and can provide real time data to support the efficient management of urban areas.

Pictured: Princes Street from Calton Hill, Edinburgh by Kevin Rae/Geograph.org.uk is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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