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Pathways to smarter cities

Technology Strategy Board ‘Demonstrator’ and ‘Catapult’ programmes pledge £65 million for global projects.

As part of UCL’s energy seminars, Dr Richard Miller, head of sustainability at the Technology Strategy Board, presented the TSB’s ‘Demonstrator’ and ‘Catapult’ programmes. As the world becomes progressively more urban, cities are a critical enabler of a more sustainable future. Governments around the globe say that to have a successful future they need to deliver a thriving economy, great quality of life, and a reduced environmental impact. We need to integrate city systems to enable new approaches in existing cities.

3 key aims need integration via £200bn/annum globally

The Technology Strategy Board estimates that £200 billion per annum is required globally to tackle this challenge and has established two programmes to address these issues:


Thirty UK cities produced feasibility studies identifying potential for innovation in systems integration and sustainability to win £25 million of TSB funding. The feasibility studies showcased a wide range of innovation and showed that different cities have specialisms and location-specific solutions. Themes which recurred across the country included transport and food and energy security.

Map of cities who subit report for Demonstrator

Map of cities which submitted feasibility studies for the Demonstrator programme

With its large divide between rich and poor, Glasgow won the Demonstrator funding to make its vision a reality. With the prospect of the upcoming Commonwealth Games in 2014, Glasgow’s proposal focuses on integrating infrastructure around health, transport, public safety and energy. Technology and social media play a major role in the proposal as tools with potential to transform local communities.

Glasgow, city of the future: demonstrator project

Glasgow, city of the future: demonstrator project

Future cities Catapult is business-orientated, focusing on concepts that can be delivered commercially in the marketplace. Projects fall into three categories:

  • Laboratory: Information hubs which collect live data to inform decisions on buildings and cities.
  • Observation: Information collection via observation to predict scenarios and then engage and share these systems with the public.
  • Finance: Funding and financial products to enable project delivery.

Funding of £40 million over the next four to five years has been allocated for such projects globally. The challenge is collaboration between business and researchers to create deliverable concepts that enhance green infrastructure and diverse system integration.

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