Thirty councils to pitch for £24m ‘future city’ grant
The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is funding 30 local authorities through a £24m ‘future city’ competition to investigate ways of integrating their transport, communications and other infrastructure for the benefit of their areas.
Each of the 30 councils will receive a £50,000 cash injection from the government-sponsored innovation agency to complete a feasibility study into how their current services can be improved.
The authority that puts forward the most innovative project will win £24m to implement the winning proposal.
The initiative has been launched to help struggling cities cope with rising population, resulting in infrastructure challenges including care for an increasingly aging population and increased traffic congestion, prompting the need for smarter, climate-change-friendly energy systems and sources.
Bristol, home to the fastest growing population in the UK’s core cities, was one of the successful bidders with its Connect Bristol proposal.
Councillor Guy Poultney, the city’s Cabinet Member for Communities, was full of praise for the scheme.
“We have a great deal of local business expertise in ICT, micro electronics, creative digital media and green technologies in Bristol,” he said.
“This funding will help the city to understand how we can future proof our systems and at the same time support high-tech businesses and create jobs.”
The selected city and borough councils are Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Camden, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Enfield, Glasgow, Ipswich, Leeds (working with Bradford), Leicester, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Nottingham, Peterborough, Plymouth, Salford, Sheffield, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swindon and Warrington.
The opportunity to be more innovative, more efficient and to drive an increase in high-tech businesses and jobs is the driving force behind many of the entries, but the focus is also on reducing environmental footprints and increasing local resilience to climate change.
The TSB is also establishing the Future Cities Catapult as one of a series of centres set up to help commercialise UK innovations.
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