Liverpool as the UK’s first Smart City

Liverpool held Europe’s first Global Entrepreneurship Congress in March this year. The event is an inter-disciplinary gathering of startup champions from around the world. It’s an event where entrepreneurs, government officials, investors, researchers, thought leaders and policymakers work together to bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. It was the first time that this event was held in Europe since previous hosts have been Kansas City, Dubai and Shangai. It was organized by GEC’s principal sponsors, ScottishPower and Liverpool Vision.

By hosting this event, Liverpool shows again that they have the ambition of becoming the UK’s first “Smart City”. This has been underlined by City leaders, captains of businesses,  industry and technology experts. They debated on the benefits and challenges of addressing how more effective investments in IT, energy and human resources could provide better services to citizens.

A reason why Smart Cities will become necessary in the future is because population is growing, placing a greater demand on infrastructure and the vital services they deliver. Smart Cities are seen to be identified along six main criteria: economy, mobility, environment, people, living and governance. It is these criteria that will help meet the needs of communities in the future.

Mike Parker, Chairman of Liverpool Vision and Liverpool’s Smart City Board, told delegates the reason why Liverpool wants to become a Smart City. He said that future investments will flow into those cities that can demonstrate they have an innovative, green, adaptive structure. And although Liverpool, like competitor cities, faces many economic, social and technological challenges, they are in a remarkably good position to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Their ambition is matched by their determination and their enterprise is matched by their creativity.

Frank Mitchell, Chief Executive of ScottishPower Energy Networks, said that ScottishPower is committed to supporting Liverpool’s Smart City ambitions since they are an integral part of the local community. They want to help make Liverpool a city of growth and they will continue to invest in its infrastructure and seek to create and support local employment.

Volker Buscher, Smart Cities Director of ARUP, Global thought leader in the Smart City space spoke about the mechanics of a Smart City and gave cutting edge examples of Smart City activity from cities such as San Francisco, Seoul and Helsinki.

And Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said that the concept of being a Smart City is one that must be embraced and investigated by Liverpool if they want to make the most of the giant steps that they’ve already taken in recent years. He states that Liverpool as a Smart City will have a smarter and fitter economy with first class transport and communications infrastructure. They city will have a smart environment with people enjoying the benefits of smart living; healthier, wealthier and happier. The Smart City concept holds the promise for Liverpool of being more competitive, investing in human and social capital and education. These investments hold an interest for everyone because it’s about the continuing well-being and future prosperity. Ultimately, Smart City Liverpool will help the Mayor to accomplish his main priorities; creating jobs, economic growth and a better future.

The speakers were joined by Mike Taylor, High Growth Director, Local Enterprise Partnership, Deputy CEO, Liverpool Vision and leading member of the Liverpool Smart City Board spoke about the pioneering technology being created by Connected Liverpool.

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