London selected for €25m smart city innovation trial

London is uniting with cities across Europe as part of a €25m project which will explore how innovative technologies including heating homes through the River Thames can improve the standard of living for city residents.

London Mayor Boris Johnson and the Royal Borough of Greenwich have been selected to take part in the ‘Smart Cities and Communities Lighthouse’ programme, which aims to develop local solutions to urban challenges in a bid to promote sustainable cities.

Johnson said: “London is growing at a record rate and to support the city’s future growth, we need to harness our incredible technical prowess and look to what new approaches and technological innovation can bring.

“By leading this ground-breaking international project we will be able to share ideas with our European counterparts as we work to create a city that is fit for the future and an even greater place to live, work and visit.”

Thames heat pump

As part of the programme, 300 convenient and easy-access parking bays will be introduced in Greenwich. Shared electric bike and car tests will also be trialled in the city to create a shift away from traffic congestion.

The other main areas of the initiative will see the River Thames used as a renewable energy source to provide affordable heat via a heat pump. Solar installations will be provided and managed by energy partners.

Along with London, the cities of Milan, Lisbon, Warsaw, Bordeaux and Burgas have been chosen as ‘lighthouse cities’ to trial innovations with the aim of a European-wide roll out. The project will also develop a sharing data platform to enable best practice for the vast array of information that will become available as a result of the scheme.

Denise Hyland, leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: “This provides the opportunity to share our experience and learn from others and in doing so, provide further insight into how the use of technology and data analytics can help tackle many of the problems our cities face.

“The Horizon 2020 project will give further impetus to our smart city work and help bring about transformational change. I would like to add my thanks to all those involved in preparing this winning bid for their future commitment in ensuring its successful implementation.”

Sustainable beacon

In May last year it was revealed that London is the only ‘megacity’ in the world where electricity use per capita is going down while GDP is going up.

Meanwhile, the London Sustainable Development commission recently revealed that an improved circular economy model in London could create 40,000 new jobs by 2030 as well as lowering unemployment and providing financial incentives.

It was also recently reported that, after a successful two month trial period, one third of London’s bus fleet will soon by powered by a biofuel-diesel hybrid, resulting in more than 21,000 tonnes of carbon emissions being reduced annually.

Using London as a sustainable beacon in these ways provides Britain with a real opportunity to establish itself as the global centre of green investment, according to Bruce Davis, the co-founder of UK green energy crowdfunding platform Abundance Generation, who spoke to edie last week.

Matt Mace 

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