New centre will help tackle environmental issues and create ‘smarter cities’

A new centre to help make cities become 'smarter and more forward thinking' will give businesses the opportunity to develop solutions that tackle climate change and improve resource efficiency.

The Future Cities Catapult centre, announced today by Business Secretary Vince Cable, will be funded by up to £50m over five years through the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). With additional private sector input, the funding for the centre, which will be based in London, is expected to rise to around £150m.

According to the TSB, the centre will work in collaboration with the Future Cities demonstrator project in Glasgow, which received £24m government funding, and will complement those established in high value manufacturing, satellite applications, cell therapy, offshore renewable energy, transport systems and the connected digital economy.

Head of sustainability at TSB, Richard Miller, told edie that the Catapult will drive innovation in the private sector and encourage city authorities and businesses to collaborate and develop projects and initiatives to tackle environmental issues such as energy security.

“In order for a city to be successful, you need a thriving economy, a good quality of life for citizens and you must do all of this with a reduced environmental impact,” said Miller.

“The bulk of the funding will go to businesses who can offer innovative solutions that can manage, for example, the energy ecosystem to help safeguard a city’s future energy supply,” he added.

The centre will look at ways in which services across areas such as health, transport, energy and public safety can be integrated, helping to “boost the economy and benefit citizens”.

According to the TSB, it will also play a key part in the government’s industrial strategy and give businesses the chance to tap into global market opportunities for ‘future cities’ which is estimated at £200bn a year by 2030.

Leigh Stringer

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