City part of global contest to improve lives

By on 02/11/2011 in News

Birmingham is one of 20 cities from across the globe joining forces to stage a competition to come up with innovative solutions to improving living standards for their 100 million citizens.

Through the Living Labs Global Award 2012 the cities are inviting international technology and service solution providers to compete for twenty winning spots that will allow them to pilot their solutions in these cities and put their effectiveness to the test.

Birmingham City Council, through its Digital Birmingham partnership has set the challenge for participants to come up with solutions to generate energy from food waste and therefore reducing the amount sent to landfill.

Councillor Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham has numerous sources of food waste including markets, hotels, schools, restaurants, canteens and domestic households.

“Our challenge is to understand and capture these waste streams, potentially utilising a data management system to identify the trends such as locations, quantities, frequencies and impact as we try to avoid landfill and the production of harmful greenhouse gases.

“Birmingham City Council already delivers 350,000 tonnes of its collected waste to an 'Energy from Waste Plant' as part of the effort to reduce landfill, and we have close links to Aston University - which already has a test anaerobic digestion plant, where food waste is turned into energy.

“We think the Living Labs Global Award scheme is a real opportunity to help find an innovative solution, fully utilising emerging technologies to efficiently and effectively process this waste, resulting in a sustainable energy source for the benefit of Birmingham businesses and residents.

Organisations supporting the scheme include the World Bank, Oracle, and The Climate Group.

“Oracle is proud of the collaboration with Living Labs Global and cities around the world to improve citizen services through innovation and technology achievement,” said Juan Rada, Senior Vice President, Public Sector.  “Oracle is pleased to be the corporate sponsor of the Living Labs Global Award 2010 showcasing technology innovation in the Public Sector.”

Living Labs Global ( the non-profit association which promotes new technologies and services in cities will be working with Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry-Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadelajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa to select the providers and the solutions that will best tackle key urban challenges such as social inclusion, intelligent transport, urban service automation, urban lighting, open data systems, smart living, and healthcare.

Sascha Haselmayer, General Director of Living Labs Global said: “We are delighted to be partnering with such an important group of world cities. It is their vision, their leadership, their understanding of current and future challenges and their belief in the power of innovation that is making the Living Labs Global Award not only possible - but a blueprint for the future of cities everywhere”.

The Awards' last editions attracted 562 entries from 41 countries with winners including, among others, a smart real-time peer-to-peer parking system in Stockholm and an open data citizen participation platform in San Francisco.

Oracle Corporation has been named as the lead corporate partner for the Living Labs Global Award 2012 with providing the technical and social networking infrastructure through its urban technology marketplace. International NGO, The Climate Group, is a strategic partner. It is incorporating the Living Labs Global Award into its flagship “Clean Revolution” campaign.

Dan Hoornweg, Lead Urban Strategist of The World Bank, said: “Rich, poor, north, south innovators in every city can come up with a great idea. The Living Labs Global Award is particularly useful in that it looks for transformative solutions throughout the world. This award shows again that all cities can learn by looking across borders.”

Twenty Award Categories are being presented and entries are going to be reviewed by international experts against criteria such as climate and community impact, innovation, market relevance and ease of implementation.

The Award Categories were defined together with decision-makers in cities around the world. Behind each Category lies the commitment of a city to pilot the winning showcase, with full institutional support to evaluate the impact the solution can have on reaching the community's objectives.

Thomas Ebling, CTO of, added: “Living Labs Global Award is an important global process that will contribute to our vision of revolutionising the way local governments invest in and regulate new technologies and services in cities. Its clear process, documented results and accountability are an important milestone and opens the window to large and small solution providers from around the world.”

Submissions to qualify for the Living Labs Global Award can be submitted until the 17th of February 2012. A shortlist of the top 5 Showcases will be presented by each partner city on March 5th 2012. The final Award winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony in May 2012 in Rio de Janeiro on the occasion of the Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities.


Birmingham's challenge brief - the statistics:

•    Around 550,000 tonnes of waste collected each year, around 350,000 tonnes of which is sent to an ‘Energy from Waste Plant’ – generating enough power to keep 25,000 homes in the City provided with electricity and ensuring that Birmingham has one of the lowest landfills in the UK
•    Weekly refuse collections to 420,000 households
•    Fortnightly recycling collections of green waste, paper & card and mixed materials (glass, plastic bottles & cans)
•    Over 98,000 collections of bulky waste from Birmingham households each year
•    Business waste collections at over 7,500 commercial properties
•    The City has five Household Recycling Centres & over 400 local recycling sites and provides and empties over 4,000 public litter bins

Any potential solution can not result in an increase in the number of weekly collections currently made by the city of Birmingham as this would make the solution unfeasible and inoperable on both a cost and service implementation level.

What we do with our waste:  (

About Living Labs Global

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen and Barcelona, working with 50 global cities and more than 500 companies and innovation centres to promote innovation in services in cities. In 2011 Living Labs Global was recognized as a major global social innovation initiative by Ashoka. Today, the global market for innovative solutions to healthcare, learning, transport, social inclusion, tourism and other services in cities is obscured by lack of knowledge about international experiences, technologies and new business ideas. Living Labs Global strives to collect and present solutions that make cities more attractive, inclusive, efficient and diverse in our Living Labs Global Showcase. Participation is free of charge, providing recognition, visibility and new project opportunities.  Together, we build Your Market for Mobility.

Award Twitter Newsfeed:

About is providing the secure online submission, showcasing and evaluation platform for the Award process as part of a vision to revolutionise the way cities procure, invest and regulate services. is a technology start-up offering a professional networking and market exchange platform that provides new scalability to build a rapidly growing community of more than 1,000 solution providers and 250+ cities. offers social networking, market intelligence, evaluation and market development tools to all professionals working with innovative services in cities.

About Oracle

Oracle Corporation is acting as corporate partner to promote global smart city solutions.

Oracle’s Solutions for Smart Cities, which are based on experience with local government customers and best-in-class technology and applications, enable the following:

•    Smart Innovation – Resolve up to 90 percent (or more) of most government service requests through integrated multichannel services, including self-service Web/chat; local single numbers such as 311, 1823, 133, 115; Facebook; Twitter; e-mail, etc.
•    Smart Processes – Analyze and streamline key areas—service delivery, infrastructure expenditures, constituent feedback, and others—to determine which services to prioritize, extend, consolidate, or even discontinue
•    Smart Infrastructure – Modernize IT infrastructure to enable integration and interoperability within a city's existing siloed legacy IT infrastructure and embedded intelligence into city infrastructure to enhance service delivery.
•    Link:

About The Climate Group

The Climate Group delivers expertise in the evaluation and knowledge exchange around climate issues.

The Climate Group is an independent, not-for-profit organization, which brings together a global coalition of the world's most powerful governments, brands and public figures across Asia, Europe and North America. Since 2004, we've been working with governments, business leaders and the world's most influential individuals – to push for the policies, technologies and investment we need to make the Clean Revolution commercially viable. Together, we have the power to create a smarter, better, more prosperous future for all.

About the World Bank

The World Bank provides technical assistance to participating cities in the evaluation and pilot process.

The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. Our mission is to fight poverty with passion and professionalism for lasting results and to help people help themselves and their environment by providing resources, sharing knowledge, building capacity and forging partnerships in the public and private sectors.

For more information please contact the Birmingham City Council media team on 0121 303 3621

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