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Safe, prosperous and liveable smart cities
Tue 23 May 2017, 09:00 – 17:00 BST
National futures are increasingly dependent on the success of cities and the concept of the smart city is engaging politicians, administrators, businesses, academics and citizens. The future character of the developing world, with its massive population flows from the countryside into densely-populated urban environments, will be determined by how cities develop. In OECD countries cities are already understood to be key to future prosperity and social stability. Advancements in information, communications and data processing technology seem likely to add to the global pressure to urbanise, but might also be used to relieve some of its less welcome consequences. In some places smart cities can be developed from scratch, using the benefits arising from fast ubiquitous communications and our new ability to use data to plan and deliver services in a way that was previously impossible. In the traditional industrialised countries this is, however, made very difficult by existing infrastructure that is often incompatible with the new technology but would be expensive to modify or replace altogether. There is also the issue of inertia in many urban environments which have had a long history of proceeding in particular ways, making integrated transport – to take just one example – very difficult to achieve against a history of operating in silos.
The United Kingdom faces the problem of uneven economic development with London ever-more predominant and the need to increase the opportunities elsewhere. Is the development of the smart city best left to local circumstances, or are there general capacity-building principles to apply? What might be the best governance arrangement between government (local, national and even international), the private sector and citizens? What are the technical and legal implications of broadband spectrum allocation in smart cities? A city is already a complex interdependent organisation. Is there a risk that more interdependence might make the city more vulnerable to breakdown? Should smart cities also remain a little ‘dumb’?
This Round Table focuses on a number of key components of a successful smart city strategy:
What is a smart city
How can it be developed?
Who wants it?
Who needs to be engaged in its delivery?
What are the key components of implementation strategy?
How can safety and security be assured?
What priority attaches to liveability as well as economy and organisational functionality?
What does experience teach us?
This Round Table features mayors, councillors, local government officials, representatives of local government and devolved administrations, the professions, industry experts on IT, data and physical infrastructure, academics and representatives of third-sector organisations and charities. The agenda has a particular UK focus, though guidance from elsewhere is provided. British expertise and experience have significance for developments abroad.