Bristol moves past London to be named UK’s top smart city

Written by Sam Trendall on 23 October 2017 in News
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Study from Navigant Consulting recognises West Country city’s work in areas such as access to data and energy innovation

The city of Bristol has triumphed over 20 others to be named the UK's smartest  Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA 

Bristol has swept past London to be crowned the UK’s foremost smart city.

In the second annual UK Smart Cities Index from Navigant Consulting, the south-western city has risen up the rankings on account of its pioneering work in areas such as access to data and community engagement, as well as energy innovation and its use of the internet of things. Bristol, alongside 2016 winner London, is one of only two cities out of the 20 featured in the report that is named as a ‘leader’ in the smart-cities space.

The study, which was commissioned by IT manufacturer Huawei, nominates 12 cities as ‘contenders’, including the likes of Leeds, which is recognised for its smart-city achievements in the health space, and Aberdeen, which has done good work in developing its strategy, the report finds.

Belfast and Sheffield are among the four cities are named as ‘challengers’ while two – Cardiff and Exeter – are awarded ‘follower’ status. The full rankings are included below.


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Eric Woods, research director at Navigant, picked out five key objectives for any cities wishing to get smarter. The first of these if to make sure smart-city initiatives are closely mapped onto the wider operational needs of the area’s public-sector organisations. 

The second is to make sure smart-city technology is effectively supported by the incumbent communications infrastructure, while the third is to foster a more regional outlook, including the suburbs, rural areas and satellite towns that surround the city in question. The fourth measure picked out by Woods is to expand the ecosystem of public- and private-sector entities involved in any smart-city programme.

The final objective he identified was to foster integration between various branches of local government that may use smart technology, such as transport and healthcare.

Woods said: “At the leading edge of where we are, it is not about technology, it is about how we use the technology effectively – how do we make the links between the innovation programmes that are being established and the actual operational priorities [of the city]? And how do we talk to the city leaders? There is a lot of work going on to build those bridges.”
 

UK Smart Cities Index 2017 rankings

Leaders
1 Bristol
2 London

Contenders
3 Manchester 
4 Birmingham
5 Leeds
6 Milton Keynes
7 Glasgow
8 Nottingham
9 Peterborough
10 Cambridge
11 Oxford
12 Aberdeen
13 Edinburgh
14 Newcastle


Challengers
15 Belfast
16 Sheffield
17 Reading
18 Liverpool

 

Followers
19 Cardiff
20 Exeter

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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