Want to know if there is a traffic incident where you’re heading? How about intelligent street lighting? Improved cycle and walking routes across Glasgow? Bus routes and public transport? Glaschu is the Gaelic name of the city, meaning ‘dear green place’, so want some information about our 90+ parks? What about data on waste collection and recycling?

Whether you are driving into the city for business or pleasure, a map of the nearest available parking space or information on the cost of parking meters would save you time as well as reduce traffic and pollution. If you are a cyclist, you would benefit from knowing where dedicated cycle racks are located, for securely locking up your bike.

If any of these sound interesting, you will be pleased to know that Glasgow is heading in the right direction. Glasgow beat 29 other cities to be chosen as the “Future Cities Demonstrator” by the Technology Strategy Board, set up by the UK government to stimulate innovation. The Technology Strategy Board awarded Glasgow £24 million to demonstrate how a future city will work. The aim of Future City | Glasgow is to combine expertise and use cutting-edge technology to enhance day-to-day life in the city; the project covers a wide range of themes, from public safety, transport to health and sustainable energy.

Smart Cities

You may well have heard of Smart Cities before. To be given such a label, a city will have embraced technological advances and be cleverly utilising data in the urban setting. Extensive information about urban systems are there to be accessed, with a Smart City operating in some ways similarly to a smartphone.

Several cities around the world have already have the “Smart City” label and operate an integrated open-data system. San Francisco, Chicago and New York City are three such cities.

Across these American cities it was uncovered that users want information on

  • parking
  • public safety
  • transport
  • restaurants

While some aspects of these projects are specific to that particular environment – maps of film locations are popular in San Francisco for example – they are still a great source of inspiration to Glasgow.

As with a smartphone, a smart city has limitations: it depends on how the user interacts with the potential of the tools provided. When city citizens align their aims or interests with the information available, they can build a better urban environment.

People Make Glasgow

We know that people are keen to get involved: 400,000 users joined in the conversation to choose the city’s new slogan “People Make Glasgow”.

In the run-up to the Commonwealth Games, Future City|Glasgow gives Glasgow another opportunity to affirm itself as a world-class city on the path towards a truly visionary urban environment. This project is just the beginning.

The people of Glasgow are what will make the city a future city and not just a smart city: when citizens like you and me engage with the project and help our city reach its full potential.

Could you collaborate? Share your knowledge and your ideas [embedit snippet=”tweet-us”] or comment below.