The Royal Borough of Greenwich launched its “Smart City” strategy on the 22nd October 2015 which sets out how the Council proposes to further adopt a “smart city” approach to addressing the opportunities of a modern urban environment, including:
– a rapidly rising population (34% between 2010-2028);
– an ageing demographic together with the rising cost of healthcare;
– traffic congestion and emissions;
– a resilient economy in the face of global competition and technological change.
Greenwich aspires to be recognized as London’s “smart” and innovative Borough, able to deliver resource-efficient, low-carbon, healthy and liveable neighbourhoods. It aims to be a Borough where citizens enjoy improved social and economic opportunities, while feeling part of the community and part of the decision making processes affecting the environments and communities they live in, and where services are delivered efficiently and reflect the needs and aspirations of residents. The objective is to place Greenwich as a leader in the deliveryof public services, to create new business and employment opportunities within the Borough and to make Greenwich a vibrant and great place to live, work or visit.
This strategy is underpinned by the use of technology and the ability to collect, transmit, manage and interpret data and make it available to enable both service providers and users to make better decisions. But the strategy is also underpinned by some key principles:
• Inclusivity: A strategy to benefit all citizens, communities and neighbourhoods
• Citizen centric: A strategy to transform citizen engagement, by placing citizens at the forefront of policy development to ensure that their needs are met
• Transparency: A strategy that informs citizens of change and its outcomes and where information is made accessible
• Standards and good practice: A strategy that follows international standards to enable easy sharing of data across the entire market and the creation of a cultural environment which is co-operative, seeks to learn and share.
It will set out an ambitious programme of transformation in four main areas:
Transforming Neighbourhoods and Communities
The Borough of Greenwich is home to a diverse range of neighbourhoods and communities so it is important that a citizen-centric approach is adopted to meet the needs of citizens within their individual communities. But if the Council is going to make the most of digital technologies to meet citizens’ needs, it needs to:
– focus on promoting digital skills to ensure that all can access public services;
– ensure all residents and businesses will have access to world class connectivity; and
– engage with citizens more effectively to ensure that the services and the new approaches deliver services that citizens both want and need.
A fast, affordable digital infrastructure is central to the Council’s objectives, for the economy, for service transformation, for stronger neighbourhoods and communities.
Transport connectivity is to be considerably enhanced by the extension of Cross Rail to Woolwich and Abbey Wood, in 2017, which will transform travel times and capacity into the City, West End and Heathrow. In order to develop a competitive digital economy the Council needs to complement these developments in the physical infrastructure by developing a strategy to ensure that both public and private sector organisations – and visitors – have access to world class connectivity, both fixed and mobile.
New developments will focus on energy efficiency and sustainability by embracing the widespread use of sensors and actuators in the built environment – the so called Internet of Things and Building Information Modelling. Embedded intelligence in the infrastructure will lead not only to more energy efficient neighbourhoods but also enable new approaches to health and social care, waste management, and mobility – truly smart neighbourhoods.
Transforming Public Services
A British Standards based approach will help to create better co-ordinated and citizen-centric services, developing opportunities to deliver more innovative and digitally based solutions.
Central to that approach will be the development of a shared and trusted software environment to ensure relevant information is brought to the fore, and new insights obtained from the data available.
A willingness to experiment and learn from experience is the hallmark of a learning”organization. The Council will seek to pilot new innovative approaches, including those encouraging channel shift and demand management, to understand the costs and benefits of innovation, the risks associated and the means to mitigate them, in order to develop thecase for wider adoption.
Digital Greenwich has been established to work with service delivery teams to identify opportunities for innovation, to initiate new pilots, to identify good practice at home and abroad, and help to drive the transformation agenda.
Transforming the Greenwich Economy
The Borough has a particularly strong visitor economy thanks to its royal, scientific, maritime and military traditions and, more recently, the establishment of O2, the world’s most active entertainments arena. However, the local economy tends to be structured around low productivity service sectors, which will become increasingly vulnerable to automation. In addition to making established businesses more resilient to technological change, we also need to encourage the growth of high value digital SMEs.
The Council has developed an e-Business Programme to improve the digital skills of Greenwich businesses and will look for other funding opportunities to develop complementary programmes.
The Council plans to encourage the growth of entrepreneurial digital businesses. The Greenwich Digital Innovation Centre ,and the Digital Skills Centre in Ravensbourne, provide space, knowledge transfer and skills/business support programmes to Greenwich entrepreneurs.
The Council will work with partners to develop the concept of a cloud based data integration and Urban Innovation Platform and, together with the commissioning of pilot projects in support of the Council’s objectives for service transformation, encourage innovative SMEs to locate in Greenwich to be closer to this hub of innovation.
It will also continue to play an active role in helping Greenwich businesses to internationalise through EU programmes and London’s own Export Programme.