The things that need to be done to prepare Birmingham for the challenges of the future have been published in a vision statement by the Smart City Commission today (December 18).
Set up by the city council in July, the commission has been tasked with coming up with a “future proofing” strategy to ensure that Birmingham is at the forefront of technological innovation and change – ensuring sustainable economic growth, prosperity and an improved quality of life in the process.
Its work is set against a challenging context for Birmingham, which sees the city ranked as the ninth most deprived out of 354 authorities in England, with 35 per cent of children classified as living in poverty and unemployment twice the national average.
In addition to this, 18.5 per cent of people are not online, and just one quarter of residents are classed as being “highly-skilled”.
As a result, the commission, whose members are drawn from business, academia and government, have announced the following priority areas of work:
- Leadership/ownership: The Smart City roadmap must strategically be led at the highest level, but also fully embrace communities, businesses and citizens at a grass roots level to help shape and jointly-design services.
- Exploiting technologies: Birmingham needs to develop ultra-fast digital connectivity, to attract inward investment. A Smart Development Blueprint will shape this plan.
- Service transformation: Working together, sharing all available data to modernise services so issues are anticipated and prevented rather than reacted to and fixed. This will deliver more personalised and targeted services for citizens.
- New information marketplaces: Promoting an ‘Open Data’ agenda for the council and others in recognition of the fact that maximising the use of high-quality information can help improve services and develop new opportunities for entrepreneurs.
- Supporting innovation: Reviewing public procurement practices to encourage new ideas, along with the creation of an innovative development fund.
- Closing the digital divide: Affordable connectivity and improving existing skills are vital to capitalise on the opportunities the Smart City agenda offers.
- Profiling and influencing: Developing ways in which the city’s many organisations can work together to champion Birmingham as a Smart City in the areas of enterprise and social collaboration to make the city an attractive location to invest in
A series of recommendations will now be developed to cover the priority areas, forming the basis of an action plan and roadmap for the commission.
The roadmap will be published in summer 2013 and include a timeline of activities, details of linkages to the council’s Green Commission and Youth Unemployment Commission and detail of funding and investment opportunities (public and private) to support the delivery of the vision.
Cllr James McKay, Chair of the Smart City Commission, said: “The world is constantly changing, and over the last few decades the pace of technological development has been staggering, posing a major challenge for traditionally industrial cities like Birmingham.
“The world will not stand still, so we need to position ourselves to maximise the opportunities this change brings.
“We must innovate, integrate, collaborate and pool resources, share information and work with as many partners as possible to achieve this – the Smart City Vision Statement is the first step towards grasping the opportunities on offer and breaking down silos, to ensure Birmingham has the most prosperous future possible.”
Anyone with feedback on the vision statement or ideas to develop the document is invited to contact the commission by e-mail at email@example.com
An online version of the Smart City Vision Statement is available here.
Notes to editors
A definition for a Smart City
“Smart Cities use information and communication technologies and data to be more intelligent and efficient in the use of resources, resulting in cost and energy savings, improved service delivery and quality of life and reduced environmental footprint – all supporting innovation and the low carbon economy”. Boyd Cohen, Climate Strategist
Members of the Smart City Commission
The current list of Smart City Commission members is as follows:
Cllr James McKay – CHAIR
Mark Barrow – Strategic Director of Development, Birmingham City Council
Chris Parker – Managing Partner, CS Transform Limited
Des Correia – Director, Arup
Duncan Botting – Managing Director, Global Smart Transformation Limited
Enrique Sanchez – Smart Cities Lead, Ferrovial
Guenter Pecht-Seibert – Senior Vice President, SAP AG
Keith Osman – Director of Research, Birmingham City University
Mike Perry – Principal Consultant, Building Research Establishment (BRE)
Sandy Taylor – Head of Climate Change and Environment, Birmingham City Council
Richard Foggie – Director, HoIP CIC
Rick Robinson – Executive Architect, IBM
Steve George – Director, SGTI (representing Centro and UTMC – urban traffic management and control)
Dr Phil Extance – Pro-Vice Chancellor, Aston University
Raj Mack – Head of Digital Birmingham
Prof Chris Rogers – Professor of Geotechnical Engineering & Deputy Head of School of Civil Engineering, University of Birmingham
Dr Christine Braddock – Principal & Chief Executive, Birmingham Metropolitan College
Mark Bew – Chair of BIM (Building Information Modelling) Task Group, Cabinet Office
Nick Booth – Managing Director, Podnosh
Vicky Sargent – Director, Boilerhouse Media
For more media information, please contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621