Smart Cities Hub Launches to ‘Bridge Gap’ Between Cities and Innovators

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Our cities may soon be greener, cleaner and more efficient thanks to the launch of a new initiative yesterday to match urban centres with smart technology.

The Sustainable Smart Cities Hub, launched by the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), hopes to help cities facing environmental challenges to identify and implement smart technology that can boost efficiency and cut pollution across cityscapes.

The new platform will act a forum for cities, companies and innovators to discuss ideas, secure investment, lobby governments and collaborate on trial projects, explained EIC executive director Matthew Farrow.

“This initiative meets a real need: bringing together a disparate market; matching cities facing environmental challenges with new, innovative solutions; and providing an evidence base to unlock investment,” he said in a statement. “As a neutral industry broker, EIC is bringing together all the key stakeholders that make this market work, to share best practice, open up new collaborations, and improve the quality of life of citizens living in cities at home and around the world.”

‘Smart cities’ is the broad term given to urban areas where technology is used to maximise efficiencies, reduce pollution and help services run more smoothly. For example, technologies including water-saving sensors, “living” air quality labs and real time EV mapping have all been trialled or deployed across UK cities in recent years.

The new hub is sponsored by engineering giant Aecom, law firm Bird & Bird and the Institute for Environmental Analysis. Alex Tosetti, head of smart cities and operations director at Aecom, said he hoped the initiative would “help bridge the distance between pockets of knowledge, practical experience, strategic investments [and] political support”.