Ten low-carbon technology solutions – including retrofitting buildings with energy-saving measures, developing sustainable energy management systems for new and existing developments, shared electric mobility and smart street infrastructure – have already hit 50 per cent of their target investment from a mix of public and private funds.
Launched in 2016, Sharing Cities is a major international smart cities project addressing some of the most pressing urban challenges facing today’s cities such as energy use, low carbon transport and buildings, and harnessing data for the good of the city.
The programme brings together 34 partners from across government, industry and academia – and is on course to meet its ambitious target of €500 million by 2021 as each city redoubles its focus on attracting investment into technologies they have been developing over recent years.
Green technologies have led to significant change across the cities, which will continue to maintain close links in advancing research and development efforts in this area in the coming years.
The initiatives has tested technologies and developed data-sharing platforms which increase the impact of these innovations.
Insights from the programme will continue to inform the Mayor of London’s Recovery Programme in responding to the challenges and impacts of Covid-19, by using digital technology to turn London into a cleaner, greener and more resilient city (as established in the Mayor’s Green New Deal).
Building improvements to reduce energy consumption and electric mobility schemes – such as e-bike and e-car sharing, vehicle charging points and smart parking – make up a majority of the investment across the cities, with further funding expected for developing carbon neutral neighbourhoods and building mobile apps to help people reduce energy consumption in their daily lives.
By developing business models which can be scaled up and replicated across European cities, Sharing Cities has supported the growth of a new green smart infrastructure market, which is a critical step in making London a zero carbon city by 2030.
In London, the Royal Borough of Greenwich is expanding the installation of low-carbon heating systems across its social housing stock. The borough has also been implementing a range of e-mobility measures to accelerate the shift from diesel to electric vehicles and encourage active travel such as cycling and walking.
All six cities have demonstrated the benefits that using smart technologies and working together can have on carbon reductions, service delivery and wellbeing.
The process of moving from pilot to scale-up has been captured and published in a series of five Playbooks available for other London boroughs and cities in the UK to adopt. The playbooks have been designed to help councils considering using smart technology to deliver better services, covering a range of topics from improving urban mobility to engaging communities in sustainable lifestyles.
London’s Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell, said: “London is working closely with European cities to build workable business models for smart technologies. We’ve shown that these technologies are a growing part of the green transition, a top priority for cities and governments across the world as they plan the recovery of our economies.
“London is proud to be a global test-bed for the kinds of partnerships and innovations which are attractive to investors, scalable and designed to meet people’s needs.”
The Investment has come from a mix of public and private funds across all six cities, including city, regional or national government funds, as well as grants from other organisation including the European Union, and public-private partnerships.