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New study shows tech-focused smart cities could result in ‘divided communities’

PwC and London Transport Museum collaborated with the international law firm Gowling WLG and Thales, the global transport and security company and produced a report titled ‘Rethinking Smart Futures’.

 This report provides a new take on the future, specifically on smart cities. The researched focused on the prospect of socially inclusive smart cities and the correlation between people, technology, data and transport. It identified the key challenges that come with making this vision a reality. The report calls for central and local government as well as public and private sector industries to collaborate with one another in order to implement their recommendations.

Some of the recommendations include: outlining a shared vision and measures for the success of the UK’s smart future, producing processes that are trustworthy and well-regulated for data sharing in order to be protected from cyber-attacks, creating a new national transport framework for private/public procurement and investment in innovation as well as encouraging central and local government to collaborate with the private sector to provide funding for schemes that are in favor of ‘blue-sky’ innovation.

Transport Leader at PwC, Grant Klein, said “We found key hurdles in developing smart cities: too much choice from an array of innovations; too many cooks with competing interests which can lead to inaction or disconnects, and when it comes to strategies, one size definitely doesn’t fit all cities.”

He continued: “It’s vital that cities take ownership of what the smart future should look like for them, how to ensure integration between services, and how it will improve citizens’ lives.”

“Our report analyses how to navigate and overcome these roadblocks. There are elements of the ‘smart city’ emerging across the UK, tackling issues such as transport health and data in cities including Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester. But progress overall is still piecemeal across the UK,
If we are to encourage economic growth and meet the evolving needs of our citizens, we need to step things up a gear and put transport at the heart of every decision.”