With the concept of smart cities quickly spreading throughout the world, the UK’s capital has now decided to join a €25 million smart city tech programme alongside a number of other prominent cities in Europe.
The programme aims to improve the lives of European citizens with smart technologies and has drawn support from a number of cities throughout the continent, including Bordeaux, Burgas, Lisbon, Milan and Warsaw, and of course, London.
The programme is the initiative of The Smart Cities and Communities Lighthouse and will involve each of the cities carrying out a number of different projects in order to try and create their own smart city systems. The idea is that these smart city trials will then influence other European cities, encouraging them to adopt the smart technology and thus help the technology to continue spreading.
Boris Johnson, London’s Mayor supports the adoption of smart city technology, emphasising that the capital is growing at such a fast rate that it requires the smart tech systems to ensure the infrastructure is properly supported. He stated: “We need to harness our incredible technical prowess and look to what new approaches and technological innovation can bring”.
At the moment, the area of London chosen to trial the smart city tech is The Royal Borough of Greenwich. The Borough appears to be a popular choice at the moment, for it was also recently chosen as the test area for driverless car trials. A number of organisations will be assisting the London-based trials, including Future Cities Catapult, Imperial College London and Siemens.
The Borough will run projects such as smart parking bays and shared electric bike schemes, as well as adapting the way its homes are heated, for instance using the River Thames to generate energy. Greenwich will also utilise digital systems in order to more effectively control and manage energy supply and demand. This aims to reduce not only carbon emissions but also residents’ energy bills.
Johnson added: “By leading this ground-breaking international project we will be able to share ideas with our European counterparts as we work to create a city that is fit for the future and an even greater place to live, work and visit.”
The other European cities will be testing similar smart city technology and it is the ultimate goal of the Programme to ensure that information is gathered and then shared amongst all the other cities undertaking the smart trials. The sharing of this data will be accomplished through the Programme’s common data sharing platform.
Although London has been chosen to represent the UK in the Programme, it is worth noting that it is not the only UK city to get involved in smart city tech. Indeed, the Scottish city of Glasgow is well known for its forward thinking approach to smart city tech and already makes use of smart lighting and a number of other smart-type tech services.