Bristol is named as the UK’s top smart city

Natalie Bannerman
Published on:

Huawei's 2017 smart cities index lists Bristol as the top smart city in the UK beating London

Bristol has overtaken London as the UK’s leading smart city, according to Huawei’s latest smart city index.

The index, which was carried out by Navigant Consulting, also highlighted the growing importance of public-private partnerships to drive smart city initiatives. In particular partnerships with local universities, businesses and other organisations such as health authorities were shown as key drivers.

Commenting on the report, Eric Woods, research director at Navigant Consulting, said: “UK cities are demonstrating an impressive commitment to service and technology innovation. They are now embedding smart city ideas into city planning and operations. They are also preparing for the impact of the next wave of technologies, including 5G, autonomous vehicles, and machine learning. The growing contribution that local universities are making to these programmes further emphasises the importance of advanced technologies to the future of UK cities.”

The report is based on across the UK, evaluating their key projects and overall readiness in using digital technology to improve public services. An overview of the report shows that Bristol and London were named as leaders, with the former taking the top spot. The most improved city is Manchester, which has climbed two places to third, while Cambridge has entered the top ten despite not featuring in last year’s report. The report also names 12 contender cities which are: Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Nottingham, Peterborough, Cambridge, Oxford, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

Andrew Cahn, Huawei UK board, said: “The successful cities of the future are going to be smart cities. It’s clear from this report that cities across the UK have made considerable progress over the last year, developing and implementing strategies to improve the delivery of public services and the urban environment. The scale of progress throughout the country is represented by a doubling in the number of cities included in this year’s ranking index compared to 2016. While Bristol and London are named as “leaders”, other cities have entered the index with exciting smart initiatives, such as Newcastle’s City Futures programme and Cambridge’s Smart Cambridge intelligent City Platform (iCP).”

The success of Bristol in this year’s index, has been credited it taking significant strides to extend its innovation programmes and more closely integrate those initiatives into the city’s strategy. In addition, the city also leads in data access, energy innovation and community engagement.

As for London, its smart city plans have evolved since 2016 to focus heavily on data-driven policy initiatives and an ambitious new environmental plan. There has also been noted progress in several London boroughs, especially in the Digital Greenwich programme.