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Glasgow receives £24m investment to become a 'city of the future'

25 January 2013

Glasgow gets £24m of government investment to demonstrate how a city of the future will work, beating off competition from 30 other UK cities to host this 'demonstrator' project.

David Willetts
David Willetts

The city will demonstrate how providing new integrated services across health, transport, energy and public safety can improve the local economy and increase the quality of life of Glasgow’s citizens, and will allow UK businesses to test new solutions that can be exported around the globe.

Announcing the investment during a visit to Glasgow, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts (pictured) said: “With more people than ever before living in our cities, they need to be able to provide people with a better quality of life and a thriving economy. This £24 million investment will make Glasgow a city of tomorrow, demonstrating how cities can work more efficiently with a reduced environmental impact.

“We are in a global race and Glasgow can keep the UK at the forefront of innovative technology ideas. From transport systems to energy use and health, this demonstrator will play a key part in the government’s industrial strategy and give real insight into how our cities can be shaped in the future.”

The Glasgow Future Cities Demonstrator aims to address some of the city’s most pressing energy and health needs. For example, developing systems to help tackle fuel poverty and to look at long-standing health issues such as low life expectancy.

The demonstrator will also show how innovative use of technology can improve the Council’s service provision, while additional potential benefits include improved crime prevention, a reduction in anti-social behaviour and improvements in travel infrastructure.

The large-scale demonstrator will be made up of a series of projects that will improve transport and mobility across the city. It will develop programmes to promote healthy living, deliver advanced street lighting to address community safety and perception of crime, and enhance building energy efficiency to provide affordable warmth.

Value will be created by capturing and opening up data, improving the city’s real-time operations with a city dashboard and a management system that views the city as an integrated whole, and a ‘MyGlasgow’ public window on the city to deliver multiple benefits for the people of Glasgow.

Commenting on the announcement, Joe Dignan, chief analyst for European public sector at Ovum, said industry expectations have been overturned throughout this competition, and this result, too, will surprise many. "Initially, the smart money was on Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds + Bradford or Manchester to scoop the prize, given their level of preparation," he said. "However, only Bristol joined the shortlist alongside Glasgow, Peterborough and London. Peterborough was considered the wild card, while most felt London had already been given more than its fair share of the public purse in the lead up to the Olympics. 

“Glasgow’s success reflects a global trend in the development of future cities being presaged by a major global event. Although it was considered the outsider in this race, its preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games was the catalyst to get the right people around the table to look at the performance of the city as a whole," he adds. "There is no doubt that the judging process was objective and Glasgow’s bid excellent, but one can be sure that Westminster is happy to show its commitment to Scotland at the current time.”

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