Issue 8: January 2014

SMART ACCELERATOR: ACCELERATING ACTION TO CREATE SMARTER CITIES AND REGIONS

By Ed Craig, Head of Enterprise & Innovation, ECCI

“Smart Cities” is one of those terms that is often spoken about and regularly aspired to, but rarely achieved. Whilst we have seen a revolution in information and communication technology over the last 30 years, the practicalities of applying this technology to improve outcomes of complex, overlapping social issues, such as energy and resource use and mobility, have proved much more difficult. This often reflects the challenge of bringing together multiple public and private sector stakeholders, with different agendas and different timescales, around a common challenge.

In Scotland there are numerous existing, planned but stalled, or potential projects that can be defined as ‘smart city region’ or ‘smart island’ initiatives. Terminology aside, it is considered a priority area for development agencies. Significant public and private funding is available to develop and implement well-constructed projects. Research evidence points to the fact that cities are the key engines for economic growth, both for cities and their local regions. And many cities have significant opportunities to improve their economic, social and environmental performance to the betterment of its citizens.

we have seen a revolution in information and communication technology over the last 30....the practicalities....have proved much more difficult

Evidence suggests that successful projects need to be underpinned by a clear, compelling vision, be owned by the relevant stakeholders and specifically “citizen-centric”, be built through the hard-nosed application of good ideas (innovation) and preferably based upon existing good practice. Designers and partners within potential initiatives must consider not only the key outcomes and intended impacts, but also the appropriate shape and size of the partnership, and the financial scale to enable project funding.

In Scotland, multiple public sector agencies and stakeholders have come together to support the identification, development and acceleration of these large-scale “smart” projects that deliver support Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy. These projects aim to create more resource-efficient, low carbon “smart” city regions and islands, drawing on international good practice and integrating and drawing on the knowledge and expert know-how of Scottish companies and Universities.

Evidence suggests that successful projects need to be underpinned by a clear, compelling vision, be owned by the relevant stakeholders and specifically “citizen-centric”

This public sector partnership is led by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI), and funded and supported by the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, the Cities Alliance, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The partnership will assess and prioritise a list of preferred projects over the coming three months, whilst also challenging the business sector to offer new, ground-breaking projects. Emerging project proposals include the integration of data from increasingly instrumented and interconnected city region systems on energy, mobility, health, food and waste/water provision to support more effective products and services for Scottish citizens. The partnership will then provide the necessary staff resources and “know how” to work with the project teams and accelerate the project proposals to the point where they are independently investable.

The partnership strongly believe that Scotland has a significant opportunity to become a test-bed for new innovative ideas that can improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of its citizens, as well as creating strong export opportunities for its enterprise.

If you are interested in the project, would like to become involved or simply would like more information please contact Ed Craig at ed.craig@ed.ac.uk or visit our website www.edinburghcentre.org

Ed Craig is Head of Enterprise & Innovation, ECCI

By Ed Craig, Head of Enterprise & Innovation, ECCI

Issue 8: January 2014

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