In the first podcast by Trowers & Hamlins, Amardeep Gill and IAWM’s own Iain Mansell, a founding member of the Black Country Smart City network, discuss the basic principles of a smart city, the ingredients and barriers that exist, and how we can go about approaching the Smart City agenda.

Listen to the full podcast here. 

Summary of the discussion 

The discussion began by establishing the basic principles of a Smart City, highlighting how it should be citizen centric and focus on core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to the people living in it. Essentially, it’s a city that uses smart solutions to enhance the use of urban services: transport, energy and utilities to reduce the resource consumption and wastage to the city.

But what makes a city Smart? Ultimately, it needs to be responsive, intelligent, connected and sustainable – all in line with citizens’ need.

Lack of funding and consumer awareness are cited as key barriers to its development. Interestingly, recent statistic from Open Access Government revealed that 68% of the public admitted that they don’t know what a Smart City is or the benefits it can bring. Only 24% of people believe that smart city technology can bring overall safety and security in the UK. 26% of people found the concept of a smart city worrying.

The discussion moves focus to key examples of Smart City technology in the UK and around the world – including Barcelona’s robots for loneliness; Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative, and London’s ‘Smarter Together Roadmap’. And Birmingham too is on its way to becoming a Smart City, with some fantastic examples – including hydrogen buses and energy from waste!

Ultimately, it’s about collaboration: Nobody has all the answers, and it’s vital that citizens are part of the conversation.

Listen to the conversation in full!