DC applauds Newcastle’s smart city ambitions

December 4, 2019

The region’s assets are providing opportunities for companies to innovate and grow, as well as creating new products and services that will help people play a significant role in the growth of the local economy, says Developing Consensus

The term ‘smart city’ has been in use for over a decade with many cities worldwide claiming to be ‘smart’, including New York, Singapore, Barcelona, Madrid, Copenhagen, Dubai and Stockholm.

Newcastle was recently recognised as Digital Leaders’ UK Smart City of the Year 2019 – against strong competition from London, Leeds, Bristol, Manchester and others.

The award recognised Newcastle for its collaborative approach to using innovative technology across the city to deliver services more efficiently and make life more liveable – through better transport, cleaner air, more responsive local services and by creating more independence for people in their own homes.

Newcastle is now a major player in the digital world, playing a key role in connecting organisations across the city, including the public, private, academic and voluntary sectors to deliver collaborative projects to help Newcastle to be smarter, faster and more productive.

We believe that we are smart thanks to the assets and infrastructure in the city and surrounding area and the strong partnership and collaborative relationships between academia and public and private sectors who are making the most of these assets and establishing Newcastle as a successful and exciting place in which to innovate.

The Newcastle Helix site plays a significant role in Newcastle’s position as a ‘smart city’, with the National Innovation Centre for Data and the Urban Observatory being national players in the world of data and research, using their expertise to make efficiencies, increase productivity and make smart decisions in regards to urban sustainability and physical infrastructure.

Building on Newcastle’s position as a recognised centre for tech and digital innovation, the city will also become a ‘Gigabit City’ as it receives a share of the £500 million investment by CityFibre – introducing game-changing gigabit connectivity speeds across Newcastle.

The city, via the Stellium DataCenter, is also the chosen location for a secure high-speed, high capacity network routing us to Europe and the US. This means new opportunities for business and local communities to connect and innovate on a global scale. We’ll also be four milliseconds closer to the US than London.

The city’s Urban Observatory, the UK’s largest source of urban open data including air quality, transport, environmental factors and noise levels, enables Newcastle University to use data to further pioneering research. Newcastle City Council also uses data from the Observatory to inform decision making and improve outcomes for people living and working in the city.

In addition to social outcomes, being recognised as a “smart city” lifts Newcastle to
a level that appeals to investors, occupiers and businesses seeking the best locations in which to base themselves.

This is the message that a delegation from the city, made up of private companies, Invest Newcastle, Newcastle City Council and Newcastle Helix took out to the Smart City Expo in Barcelona in November. This is one of the largest events in the world and the perfect place to showcase Newcastle’s smart city credentials.

By entering the global list of elite cities, Newcastle is now at the forefront of environmental, technological and economic change.

Newcastle’s smart, clean and digital technologies make our city an attractive place to live, work and invest in.

Developing Consensus
Author: Chris Dobson. Other members of Developing Consensus’ Regional Vision group are Gavin Black, Naylors Gavin Black, Charlie Hoult, Hoult’s Yard, Angus White, Naylors Gavin Black and Mark Thompson, Ryder Architecture.

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