UK Smart Cities Index

Assessment of Strategy and Execution for 10 Cities

UK cities are playing an increasingly significant role in the global development of smart cities. The aim of this Navigant Research white paper commissioned by Huawei is to provide an assessment of the current state of smart city development in the United Kingdom through a detailed comparison of the 10 leading smart cities. This evaluation highlights their strategies, key projects, and overall readiness to develop smart city visions. It also highlights lessons to be learned from these early adopters and areas where cities, the national government, and other stakeholders need to act to accelerate smart city development in the United Kingdom.

The 10 cities covered in the UK Smart Cities Index were selected on the breadth and depth of their smart city strategy and specific programs in areas such as digital innovation, social care, urban mobility, energy, education, and sustainability. This assessment also looks at the extent of their partnerships and collaboration with other agencies and the private sector. A detailed comparison was made of the top 10 UK cities to identify the current leaders and their closest challengers. The report also highlights the work being done in a number of Follower cities that have the potential to be future contenders for smart city leadership in the United Kingdom.

This Navigant Research white paper evaluates the UK smart city market, with a focus on two dimensions: Strategy and Execution. The Strategy dimension assesses each city’s vision, goals, and objectives as they relate to its smart city program. The Execution dimension assesses the city’s actual achievements from initial projects to full-blown deployment of innovative technologies and services. Cities are profiled, rated, and ranked with the goal of providing an objective assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of their smart city programs.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • Which cities are the leading smart cities in the United Kingdom?
  • What are the key metrics used to evaluate the development of smart city programs?
  • How do the leading cities in the United Kingdom compare on the key metrics?
  • What are the lessons to be learnt from the leading smart cities?
  • What are the main challenges to the further development of smart cities in the United Kingdom?
Who needs this report?
  • City leaders
  • Smart city program managers
  • IT, networking, and telecommunications vendors
  • Building equipment and appliance vendors
  • Smart transportation providers 
  • Utilities
  • Government agencies
  • Investor community

Table of Contents

1. Table of Contents

2. Executive Summary

2.1  Introduction

2.2  Background to the Report

2.2.1  Aims of This Study

2.2.2  Evaluation Method

2.2.3  Evaluation Criteria

2.3  The UK Smart Cities Index

2.3.1  Summary of Rankings

2.4  Key Messages for City Leaders

2.4.1  The Importance of Leadership and Vision

2.4.2  Focus on Local Priorities and Strengths

2.4.3  Engagement with Communities

2.4.4  Building Partnerships

2.4.5  Understand the Data Revolution

2.5  Messages for Central Government

2.5.1  Supporting the Move to Large-Scale Deployment

2.5.2  Encouraging Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing

2.5.3  Investing in Digital Infrastructure

3. The Rise of the Smart City

3.1  The Importance of Cities

3.2  Defining the Smart City

3.3  A Global Development

3.4  Smart Cities in the UK

3.5  Assessing the State of Smart Cities in the UK

3.5.1  Strategy and Leadership

3.5.2  Digital Innovation

3.5.3  Service Innovation

3.5.4  Sustainability

3.5.5  New Partnerships

3.5.6  Demonstration Districts

3.6  Challenges and Barriers

3.6.1  Moving Beyond Pilots and Demonstration Projects

3.6.2  Financial and Resource Constraints

3.6.3  Extending Partnerships and Breaking Down Siloes

3.6.4  Digital Infrastructure

3.6.5  Education and Understanding

4. Background to the Assessment

4.1  Aims of This Study

4.2  Evaluation Method

4.3  Evaluation Criteria

4.4  The Index Rankings

4.4.1  Leaders

4.4.2  Contenders

4.4.3  Challengers


5. Summary of the Assessment

5.1  The UK Smart Cities Index

5.2  City Rankings

5.2.1  The Leaders

5.2.2  The Contenders

5.2.3  The Challengers

5.2.4  The Followers

6. City Assessments

6.1  Leaders

6.1.1  London

6.1.2  Bristol

6.2  Contenders

6.2.1  Birmingham

6.2.2  Glasgow

6.2.3  Manchester

6.2.4  Milton Keynes

6.2.5  Leeds

6.2.6  Peterborough

6.3  Challengers

6.3.1  Nottingham

6.3.2  Sheffield


6.4.1  Belfast

6.4.2  Brighton

6.4.3  Cambridge

6.4.4  Ipswich

6.4.5  Newcastle

6.4.6  Oxford

6.4.7  Reading

6.5  Summary of City Scores

7. Scope of Study, Sources and Methodology, Notes

List of Charts and Figures

  • UK Smart Cities Index
  • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
  • Bristol Is Open: City Region Plan
  • Birmingham Smart City Vision
  • Corridor Manchester
  • Milton Keynes Smart Cars
  • City Scores on Strategy and Execution Criteria

List of Tables

  • The UK Smart Cities Index Overall Scores

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