The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has launched a new initiative to promote ‘smart cities’ across the UK, which are expected to have a value of $400 billion by 2020.
A smart city uses technology and social and environmental capital to improve the quality of life and the environment where its inhabitants live. It tries to address challenges such as waste, water usage, energy efficiency and transport issues.
According to BIS, the sector will worth about $400 billion (£250 billion) by 2020, with the UK expected to have a 10% share.
Science minister David Willetts said, “The opportunity to develop new technologies for smart cities in the UK is massive. We want to make sure that we are at the forefront of this digital revolution so we can stay ahead in the global race designing new innovations in the UK and exporting them across the world.
“With around 80% of the UK’s population living in cities, we need to ensure that they are fit for purpose in the digital age. Through our information economy strategy we will support cities to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and save money.”
The government has created a Smart Cities Forum – chaired by Willetts and cities minister Greg Clark – to ensure that the UK doesn’t miss the opportunity to develop smart technology.
Volker Buscher, Smart Cities Forum member and author of the report Global Market Opportunities and UK Capabilities for future smart cities said, “By 2050, the human population will have reached 9 billion people with 75% of the world’s inhabitants living in cities.
“Smart technologies can help address some of the challenges of rapid urbanisation by improving services and managing their efficiency.”
It was recently revealed that 50 mayors from 30 countries had pledged to scale up their efforts to tackle climate change, in the wake of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report.