A new smart cities project launches today in Manchester with a particular focus on reducing carbon emissions.
Big data and technology offer huge potential for UK cities to deliver services and address some of their most pressing challenges – particularly in the areas of climate change and environmental sustainability. Over the last few years, several UK cities have been proactive in establishing ‘smart city’ initiatives, often working in partnership with a number of collaborators, to reduce emissions and energy consumption. For example, Milton Keynes, through MK:Smart, and Bristol, through their Connecting Bristol scheme, are both using data collected through sensors to meet environmental targets in their cities.
Today marks the official launch of the Triangulum project in Manchester, a smart city vision for three European cities. Led by Fraunhofer IAO and funded by £4.5 million of European Commission funds, the project aims to create ‘smart quarters’ in Manchester, Eindhoven in Holland, and Stavanger in Norway. This scheme offers a new approach, bringing together a number of green initiatives in one area of the city to test the potential of new technologies.
Triangulum aims to transform Oxford Road in Manchester (also known as the ‘Manchester Corridor’, the city’s student district) as an exemplar for smart technology. There will be a particular focus on reducing carbon emissions, including technologies to improve energy use in buildings and encouraging the use of sustainable transport. An autonomous energy grid for heat and electricity will be introduced alongside a centralised control platform, which will allow Manchester to manage its energy in a localised, energy efficient manner. The system will also allow the city to identify new revenue sources and savings for the system, improving energy and resource efficiency.
The project is being led by Manchester City Council, in partnership with the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, software provider Clicks and Links, and technology provider Siemens.
This is encouraging news for other UK cities, which are facing increasing pressures to provide more services with fewer resources. As a test-bed for green technology, this five-year project will seek to contribute to a small but growing bank of knowledge to help cities find ‘smart’ solutions to deliver more efficient and effective public services.
The Centre for Cities will be working over the next few months on developing a set of resources for cities, which will bring together the best examples of how technology and big data can be harnessed to meet the challenges that we face. Stay tuned for more information on our upcoming smart cities projects.
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