Smart City Roadmap is launched

By on 03/03/2014 in Cllr McKay, News

A plan outlining how Birmingham can become more prosperous, healthier, fairer, resource-efficient and better for business has been published.

The Smart City Roadmap sets out over 35 actions that aim to influence the city's approach to creating a sustainable and better future for its citizens by responding to challenges such as unemployment, the skills gap, health inequalities, effective mobility and carbon reduction targets.

The Roadmap has been developed by the Birmingham Smart City Commission, a body created by the city council which includes leading figures from the business, academic and public sectors.

It represents a collective ambition by city stakeholders to deliver real change by developing intelligent and integrated services through the use of digital technologies, data and open collaboration, driven by the citizens and communities that are core to the city's future growth.

The three intrinsically linked themes of Technology & Place, People and Economy underpin the roadmap's 39 proposed actions, to be delivered over the next three years, by identifying funding through European, national and regional programmes.

Technology & Place covers actions that seek to improve the city's  broadband (both fixed,  wireless and ultrafast) provision and access to data services across the city; embed principles of digital infrastructure and connectivity into city planning to future proof residential and commercial developments. There will be a concerted push to share and publish as much public open data as possible notably through an open data portal for SMEs to access as well as make it easy for citizens to contribute their own data.

People actions centre on ensuring citizens - pupils through to adults, job seekers, employers, carers and entrepreneurs, have the skills and capabilities to thrive in a connected, online world to support health and wellbeing and job prospects, both now and into the future for a smart, inclusive economy. Targeted actions are supporting SME innovation through access to data, a change to procurement rules and competitions. 

Finally the Economy actions centre on the areas of health and wellbeing, ICT and energy efficiency and mobility. It proposes projects for example that will support better care coordination, planning and independence; make use of IT to improve building energy management and control; enhance transport information and facilities by using sensor technology and data to improve traffic flows and to make it easier to find places to park as well as create a simple single payment system for public transport travel across Birmingham and the region.

Already the city is moving ahead with its ambition to create a 'Digital Neighbourhood' in Castle Vale, which if successful will be rolled out to other areas of the city and wider.

A free community WiFi scheme, one of the largest in the country, which has been launched by Castle Vale Community Housing Association, is supporting its residents to get online, gain essential skills and connect residents together with local news and events and integrated direct access to the new Universal Credits systems for those that need it.

Over 100 residents have signed up and it aims to extend this to over 2,000 households in the Castle Vale estate.

Other initiatives such as e-health services and smart metering will be trialled over the coming months and will support greater participation of residents in the co-design of services, while opening up avenues for digital service provision for Castle Vale moving forwards.

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, has been chairman of the Smart City Commission since its creation by the council's incoming administration in the summer of 2012.

Commenting on the launch of the Smart City Roadmap, Cllr McKay said: “The ways in which private and public organisations traditionally serve large urban populations like Birmingham are simply no longer fit for purpose.

“For too long, silos have been allowed to develop and technology has not been embraced or allowed to evolve in a coherent joined-up way.

“The Smart City Roadmap has drawn up a list of projects, ideas and ways of working which we must collectively embrace if we are to ensure Birmingham is a competitive city in which there is a high quality of life.

“We've already made some significant achievements and are now setting out the plan for the future. Now is the time to deliver as other cities around the world have successfully done as they prepare themselves for the challenges and opportunities the 21st century presents.”

To coincide with the launch of the Roadmap is the go live of the Birmingham Smart City blog, which provides a place for people to share ideas and projects to make a smarter Birmingham.

It is also home to the Smart City Roadmap where people are invited to have their say and get involved with the actions –


Notes to editors

Some key stats acting as drivers for change/triggering the need for the Smart City Roadmap:

- Currently estimated that only 85 per cent of Birmingham premises can access superfast internet services.
- Every £1 invested in broadband boosts the economy by £20.
- If full use was made of public sector data nationally, it is estimated to have a worth of £16billion to the economy.
- 7.1 million people in the UK have never used the internet -  of those not online, 50 per cent are estimated to live in social housing.
- By 2015, it is estimated that 90 per cent of all jobs will require IT skills
- If we do nothing, the Department for Transport estimates traffic congestion in the West Midlands will worsen by 83 per cent by 2031.

Smart City Commission history:

In 2012, the Smart City Commission was set up to lay out vision and key principles for establishing a Smarter Birmingham. The commission's Vision Statement was published in November of that year. The Roadmap is the culmination of the group's work to this point.

For more media information please contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621.

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