Report: UK is a leader in urban innovation although financing mechanisms are still lacking

Future Cities Catapult, an urban innovation centre, and engineering and consultant group, ARUP, have released a report which places the UK at the forefront in urban innovation, a sector that already adds £16 billion to the national economy.

“The UK’s unique ecosystem of top companies, universities and vibrant cities, supported by an engaged and forward thinking government makes it the best place globally to do business on future cities,” Peter Madden, Chief Executive, Future Cities Catapult told Cities Today.

By 2030 an estimated £200 billion market will be on offer globally for those in business, government and academia to improve the way cities are planned and operated. The report, How can the UK innovate for the world’s cities?, recognises that the UK is uniquely placed to increase its share of this market by the sheer numbers, totalling 400,000, working in future cities sectors and through its heritage in urban planning, reinvention, and skills managing large scale urban projects.

London, however, still takes the lion’s share of those professionals, although other UK cities are becoming increasingly recognised for their future cities capabilities.

“There is of course a particularly strong concentration and combination of businesses, universities and public sector organisation in London,” admitted Madden. “I think that the global strengths of London can benefit the whole UK.”

The authors note that the UK needs to deliver solutions at a greater scale, with more freedom and resources to allow further innovation.

“Money still isn’t flowing to the really smart ways of doing things in cities,” revealed Madden. “That’s partly because we haven’t found enough ways to monetise that value, and partly too, because we need to see more investable smart city projects that work for the finance community.”

UK Trade & Investment, a government department and partners of the report, will now deliver it globally as the UK seeks to tap into the global market of urban innovation.

“There’s a real thirst from cities across the world for ideas, guidance and practical support on how to create a smart and future-proofed city,” he added. “We are currently negotiating how to share expertise with cities across Asia, the Middle East and South America.”

Source: Cities Today

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