Bristol overtakes London as smartest city in UK

Bristol has overtaken London as the UK’s ‘smartest city’, according to new data.

The second UK Smart Cities Index, commissioned by Huawei UK and conducted by Navigant Consulting, reveals that Bristol is now the UK’s leading smart city.

Bristol and London were named as ‘leaders’ in the UK, with the South West city taking the next top spot.

Bristol has moved up the rankings as a result of it taking significant steps to extend its innovation programmes and closely integrate those initiatives into city strategy.

The Bristol Is Open project provides a large scale connectivity testbed and the new City Operations Centre ensures services are effectively implemented. The city also leads in data access, energy innovation and community engagement.

The report, which is based on evaluations of 20 cities and their strategies, key projects and overall readiness in using digital technology in order to improve civic services, also singled out Bristol for praise in community engagement, including the Citizen Sensing strategy developed by Knowle West Media Centre. This is designed to allow people to build or use sensors to tackle issues that are important to them.

Julie Snell, managing director of Bristol Is Open, said: “Cities the world over must look to technology to address the way they manage their resources and infrastructure to deliver innovative services for citizens and businesses.

“Bristol has shown leadership in bringing together industry, government, academia and citizens to form a collaborative platform for the development of its Smart Cities program.

“Being recognised in the Huawei UK Smart Cities Index as the city that has made the most significant growth in its Smart City program is testament to the vision and support of Bristol City Council, the fantastic results for the University of Bristol research and development department and the very many other players in the city who all contribute to Bristol Smart City.”

Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor and cabinet member for finance, governance and performance said: “Bristol is well and truly forging ahead in developing smart city technologies which was strengthened by the recent opening of the Smart City Operations Centre.The state of the art centre integrates several of the council’s key services and links into the city’s high speed fibre network through Bristol Is Open. I’m very pleased that Bristol has been acknowledged this way and we will continue to work towards developing our smart city capabilities in order to improve services for our residents and visitors.”

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).”

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