Future Cities funding awarded to three more cities

Local authorities in London, Bristol and Peterborough will each get £3m to spend on technology in the 'Future Cities' programme

The Technology Strategy Board today announced £9m of funding to boost technology in three more cities across the UK.

The non-departmental government organisation will give £3m each to councils in London, Bristol and Peterborough as part of its ‘Future Cities’ scheme, providing the cash for local authorities to spend on technology for improving public services, such as traffic systems, security or eco-friendly initiatives.

The Future Cities project originally planned to fund one large deployment – or "demonstrator programme" – with £24m, while offering 20 other cities smaller pots of cash – around £50,000 each – to inspire more development.

After the main demonstrator title was awarded to Glasgow in January, the Technology Strategy Board decided to raise the smaller projects to 30, due to the quality of applications. It has now pledged more to London, Bristol and Peterborough, which were in the running for the larger sum of money.

“We are very excited to be able to support these three cities which will see them progress a range of complementary integration projects,” wrote David Altabev, manager of the Future Cities demonstrator programme, on his blog.

“As one of the privileged few who has read all of the cities' feasibility studies, I am thrilled that we are able to support these cities in realising their ambitions of addressing critical city challenges through integration.”

London will use the funding across four boroughs for 3D maps, automating the inquiry system for road works and for a time-management platform to encourage flexible working.

Bristol will develop a "Citywide Living Lab", opening up datasets about the city to local businesses – SMEs in particular – to help them develop new products better targeted at the residents of the city.

Peterborough will put the cash towards its existing "Innovation Pool" scheme that brings together SMEs, R&D institutions, backers and delivery agencies to continue to encourage technological innovation in the area.

“In building a community of live demonstrator projects, there will be greater opportunities for these cities and others around the UK to learn from each other and explore integration across a wider range of systems than was possible with just one demonstrator,” added Altabev.

“This funding will facilitate accelerated innovation into city systems by UK firms and help to establish the business value case so critical for implementation.”

The three local authorities are set to meet with the Technology Strategy Board in Birmingham this week to build collaboration early in the process.

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