Thirty councils seek £24 million ‘future city’ funding prize

Thirty city and borough councils from across the UK – from Dundee to Brighton, Newcastle to Plymouth and Cardiff to Cambridge – are to carry out government-funded studies in a bid to win a £24 million ‘future city’ prize.

The thirty councils will receive £50,000 each from the government’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board to complete feasibility studies showing how they could integrate their transport, communications and other infrastructure to improve the local economy, increase quality of life and reduce impact on the environment.

The cities that have completed the feasibility studies will also be able to submit a proposal for a large-scale ‘future cities demonstrator’, showing how the city’s multiple systems will be integrated and how challenges in the city will be addressed – and one successful city will be awarded £24m funding to implement their proposal.

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “We planned originally to fund twenty feasibility studies but because of the number of high quality initial proposals received from councils across the whole country we decided to increase the funding available so that thirty studies could be carried out.  The results will be made public and we look forward to seeing some exciting future city demonstrator proposals.”

The city and borough councils that have each secured £50,000 funding for the feasibility studies 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 feasibility study reports, and proposals for a large scale demonstrator, must be submitted by 14 November 2012.  After assessment and interviews the winning proposal will be announced in January 2013.

The future cities demonstrator project will demonstrate, at scale and in use, the additional value that can be created by integrating a city’s systems.  The project will enable businesses to test – in practice – new solutions for connecting and integrating individual city systems, and will allow cities to explore new approaches to delivering a good local economy and excellent quality of life, whilst reducing the environmental footprint and increasing resilience to environmental change.

The Technology Strategy Board is also establishing the Future Cities Catapult – which is a world-leading technology and innovation centre.  It will help UK businesses to create products and services that meet the needs of the world’s cities as they adapt to future demands.  The Technology Strategy Board will arrange for ongoing monitoring and collection & analysis of data from the demonstrator through the Future Cities Catapult.