Glasgow wins smart city funding

News 25 Jan, 2013

City given £24 million to introduce new technologies that will improve citizens lives.

Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, has been given a £24 million Government grant to become one of the UK’s first ‘smart cities’.

Glasgow beat 30 other municipalities to win the funding, which will be used to showcase how urban centres of the future will work.

According to the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the quango behind the scheme, “[Glasgow] will demonstrate how providing new integrated services across health, transport, energy and public safety can improve the local economy and increase the quality of life of [its] citizens...”

Glasgow can keep the UK at the forefront of innovative technology ideas

Glasgow has the lowest life expectancy of any UK city and also struggles with higher levels of obesity, diabetes, and alcohol consumption than the rest of the country.

The Glasgow Future Cities Demonstrator, as the scheme is called, aims to develop systems that will address these and other long-standing health issues, as well as problems such as fuel poverty.

The demonstrator will show how technology can improve Glasgow City Council’s service provision, improve crime prevention, reduce antisocial behaviour and improve travel infrastructure, the TSB claims.

The council says it will achieve this through schemes such as introduction of an app for reporting issues like missing bin collections or potholes, as well as apps providing real-time traffic and public transport information.

“We are delighted to welcome this major investment in Glasgow. The University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre will host the revolutionary City Observatory," said professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal of the University of Strathclyde.

“This will allow ... researchers to analyse more than 200 information feeds about Glasgow – its health, economy, transport, energy use – to map the relationships between them and to understand how a 21st century city operates.”

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, added: “With more people than ever before living in our cities, they need to be able to provide people with a better quality of life and a thriving economy.

“We are in a global race and Glasgow can keep the UK at the forefront of innovative technology ideas.”

Glasgow City Council has welcomed the initiative, suggesting it will massively benefit the city and its people as well as putting it on the map in the UK and Europe for the right reasons.