Congratulations to Bristol and Cambridgeshire Councils who are through to the next round of the TSB ‘future cities demonstrator’ and now have a 1 in 30 chance of securing the big £24m prize. I’ll be backing these horses for the next round.
I’ve been pondering over what makes a city smart and the temptation is to say its infrastructure (power, water, buildings etc) but I’m increasingly struck by the idea that it’s the smartness of its inhabitants. To quote Newcastle Science City – “There are five ideals of smart cities they are smart government, buildings, mobility, energy and environment, and services and three enabling forces (people, economy, and information and communication technologies) that could facilitate or hinder its evolution into a smart city”.
I’m particularly interested in the ‘enabling forces’ bit as I view it as the poor relation of sensors and the internet of things . The notion of empowering citizens to contribute to data making might be picking up pace – but what about smart cities and the economy? The Bristol pound is one idea which has a digital flavour and is quite exciting, as are Local lotteries . What about an investment scheme which is based on the share performance of city companies – or complete transparency of city workers’ wages?
I’ve yet to see what these cities have planned for their big bids but I’m hopeful that they will look at the social side of being smart.