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UK Smart Cities Index 2017

Huawei presented its 2017 UK Smart Cities Index, aiming to provide an assessment of the current state of smart city development in the UK through a detailed comparison of the 20 leading smart cities. The evaluation highlights their strategies, key projects, and overall readiness to develop smart city visions. The study also highlights lessons to be learnt from early adopters and areas where cities, the national government, and other stakeholders need to act to accelerate smart city development in the UK.

This report builds on and significantly extends the UK Smart Cities Index 2016. The commitment of UK cities to innovation and service improvement is reflected in the expansion of this report to cover 20 cities at various stages of maturity in the development and execution of their smart city vision.

Emerging Trends

The momentum behind smart cities is reflected in a growing understanding of what is required to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies. The research for this report identifies five key developments:

  • Bridging the gap between smart city programmes and strategic city priorities: Cities are building the links that will embed digital innovation in frontline services.
  • Supporting the emergence of city platforms: More cohesive strategies are being developed for the deployment of new technologies, including big data analytics and citywide Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.
  • Strengthening regional perspectives: As the extended scope of smart cities is recognised, smart city programmes are developing collaboration networks across combined authorities, county authorities, and regional agencies.
  • Expanding the partner ecosystems needed to deliver a smart city vision: The increasingly important role that local universities are playing in shaping and developing urban innovation programs is one notable development.
  • Developing more integrated approaches to city issues: A growing number of projects recognise the interconnection between transport, health, energy, and housing, for example, and the need to assess the impact of innovations across these traditional siloes.
The Building Blocks for Smart City Programmes (Source: Navigant Research)

Evaluation Method

The 20 cities were selected on the breadth and depth of their smart or future city strategy and specific programmes in areas such as digital innovation, social care, urban mobility, energy, education, and sustainability. The assessment also looks at the extent of their partnerships and collaboration with other agencies and the private sector. A detailed comparison was made of the top 20 cities to identify the current leaders and their closest challengers.

The city evaluations for this Index are based on two dimensions: Strategy and Execution. The Strategy dimension assesses each city’ s vision, goals, and objectives as they relate to its smart city programme. The Execution dimension assesses the city’ s actual achievements, from initial projects to fullblown deployment of innovative technologies and services. Each dimension is split into five evaluation categories.

The evaluation categories for the Strategy dimension are:

  • Vision: Assesses the clarity, comprehensiveness, and depth of the city’ s smart or future city strategy.
  • Digital Innovation: Evaluates a city’ s strategy to develop and exploit digital technologies and services.
  • Service Innovation: Examines a city’ s strategy for innovations in local services that exploit improvements
    offered by smart technologies.
  • Sustainability Plans: Assesses a city’ s sustainability strategy and the explicit targets set for energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and related goals.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Examines the range of city stakeholders involved in the development of the smart city strategy.

The evaluation categories for the Execution dimension are:

  • Implementation: Assesses the city’ s overall progress in translating its strategy into action based on the number, range, and extent of projects implemented to date.
  • Digital Delivery: Evaluates progress on implementing the city’ s digital strategy, including pilot projects, smart city demonstrators, and full-scale projects.
  • Service Delivery: Evaluates progress on implementing service innovations defined in the city’ s smart city strategy.
  • Environmental Impact: Looks at achievements against sustainability targets and implemented environmental and sustainability programmes.
  • Community Reach: Assesses engagement across multiple communities and stakeholders and the extension of projects into the wider city region.

Summary of Rankings

The report scores the cities in the UK Smart Cities Index according to four categories; Leaders, Contenders, Challengers, and Followers.

UK Smart Cities Index 2017

Bristol and London retain the Leader positions in this new assessment. Both cities are building on their existing programs and working hard to embed innovation across city operations, infrastructure, and service delivery. However, Bristol has edged ahead to take the top position, largely because of the strong momentum it has shown over the last 12 months.