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Revealed: The UK's Leading Smart Cities
Thomas Mueller29. October 20172 min read

Revealed: The UK's Leading Smart Cities

On October 23, Huawei and Navigant Consulting have released the 2nd "UK Smart Cities Index - Assessment of Strategy and Execution of UK’s leading Smart Cities". The report features an assessment of 20 UK cities in their efforts of utilizing technology to address urban challenges and to seize development opportunities.

Bristol and London are the UK's smartest cities

Surprisingly, Bristol has been announced as leading smart city in the UK, followed by London. The two cities are spearheading the movement, well ahead of the other 18 cities that were analyzed in the report. 

They are adopting smart solutions faster and more efficiently than other cities. The closest 12 "contenders" identified in the report are Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Nottingham, Peterborough, Cambridge, Oxford, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Newcastle.

Success factors of leading cities

The index report sheds light on the determinants of success. Besides the speed and efficiency of adopting smart solutions or technology, several other factors are critical for success:

  • strong governance of strategy and projects (e.g. CIO / CDO appointment or establishment of a hub as operations center; backing by the Mayor)
  • a decisive move into new & connected technology to deliver government services or for improving the urban environment (pilot projects and the integration of successful projects into day-to-day operations)
  • the close collaboration of the public and private sector, with universities and the engagement of the community (citizens) in projects
  • following a holistic approach and consolidating links of projects/solutions with broader social and economic goals

Challenges for the development of smart cities

But the report also identified challenges for cities that want to become smarter. The main challenges are:

  • budgetary constraints (new funding sources need to be acquired for implementing projects & solutions)
  • effective risk management (pilot projects first, then full-scale implementation)
  • cultural shift (away from siloed thinking & working in government authorities, open innovation culture, acceptance of new solutions & technology)
  • need to improve the digital infrastructure (e.g. citywide connectivity, preparing for 5G, data platforms & machine learning, autonomous driving)

Summarizing the Index Report 2017 compared to the report of 2016, it can be stated that cities in the UK are stepping up their efforts to optimize government services and to increase the quality of life and prosperity for their citizens and strengthening the economy.


For more information on current strategies, we recommend reading our two strategy articles Smart City Evolution: A Review of Becoming a Smart City and Towards a new paradigm of the smart city.


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Read related Articles:

UK Smart Cities Index 2017, #HUAWEI #UK #smartcityindex
Monday 23 October 2017, download page HUAWEI
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UK Smart Cities Index 2016, #navigantresearch #UK #smartcityindex 
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Thomas Mueller

Thomas Müller is Managing Partner at bee smart city. With more than 15 years of public sector experience, he is an expert on smart city strategy and projects.