Government dangles £24m prize in front of potential 'future cities'

Government dangles £24m prize in front of potential 'future cities'

Summary: A UK city will get £24m in government funding to become a 'city of tomorrow', through a competition that has just opened.On Monday, the Technology Strategy Board launched its Future Cities Demonstrator programme.

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TOPICS: Telcos
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A UK city will get £24m in government funding to become a 'city of tomorrow', through a competition that has just opened.

On Monday, the Technology Strategy Board launched its Future Cities Demonstrator programme. The aim is to figure out how cities "could integrate their transport, communications and other city infrastructure to improve the local economy, increase quality of life and reduce impact on the environment".

Future city

Cities can compete for government funding to become a city of tomorrow. Image credit: Shutterstock

Under the scheme, cities and urban areas will be able to bid for a £50k grant to test the feasibility of their proposals for making this integration happen. Twenty of the grants will be given out and one of the cities will then win £24m to create a "large scale demonstrator" of their plan.

"People and technology are developing and changing all the time, and we can't expect our cities to stand still while that is happening," universities and science minister David Willetts said in a statement.

"Cities face major challenges such as changes in population and demographics, congestion, waste and pressure on resources and services," he added. "This underlines the need for our future cities to have high-quality, integrated infrastructure to meet these challenges."

Cities or urban areas that want to apply will need to have at least 125,000 residents, and the proposals will have to come from the relevant city or local authority.

The aims of the project appear very similar to those of Intel, Imperial College London and University College London, which banded together last month to turn London into a testbed for connected-city technology.

However, the analyst firm Ovum warned on Monday that the technology being developed for 'smart cities' suffered from a lack of standardisation, as well as "fragmented and politicised decision-making".

"Multiple initiatives will be required to address the major inhibitors; some are under way, but much more effort is needed. Some of the most important requirements involve opening up more data, breaking down silos, broadening stakeholder participation, and avoiding duplicative efforts," energy and sustainability IT analyst Warren Wilson said in a statement.

Topic: Telcos

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • Which will of course be won by those who already have the resources to spare and thus widening the gap even more.
    dave@...