Khan sets out plan to make London the world’s smartest city
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has today (11 June) published his vision to make London the world’s smartest city and launched a city-wide initiative to use the capital’s tech talent to tackle some of its challenges – including poor air quality, urban design and digital connectivity.

Smarter London Together details the mayor’s vision for the capital and a roadmap that sets out how it will be realised. The roadmap consists of more than 20 initiatives, including the Civic Innovation Challenge, which the Mayor expects will which will play a major role in establishing London as a test-bed for technological innovation, supporting the development of smart infrastructure and attracting investment in new businesses. It will match tech startups with companies and public bodies to tackle some of London’s most pressing problems.

Khan’s plans include:

  • A new approach to connectivity, including proposing planning powers for full fibre connectivity to all new homes, working with Transport for London (TfL) and councils to roll out 4G using public buildings and existing physical infrastructure, and supporting the creation of a pan-London bid for the Urban Connected Communities Fund to test 5G connectivity;
  • promoting greater data sharing among public services through the London Office of Data Analytics – in which the mayor will invest £365,000 – and the proposal of a new body to foster closer working between local authorities, universities and the tech community;
  • supporting the commission of a new generation of smart technology (such as lamp posts incorporating air quality sensors, publicly-accessible WIFI and electric vehicle charging points)
  • proposals to develop a pan-London cyber-security strategy, drawing together new and existing bodies including the London Digital Security Centre and the London Cyber Innovation Centre, in response to Londoners’ concerns about the use of their data and online safety.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London,said: “A year ago I announced my ambition to make London the world’s leading smart city. Today I am proud to unveil my vision for making that ambition a reality. We need a step-change in how we harness innovation for the benefit of all Londoners.

“Many of London’s advances in the application of data and smart technologies are globally recognised. We have clearly taken great steps but I want us to do even more to meet the needs of Londoners.

“As one of the world’s leading technology hubs, we need to be bold and think big, to experiment and try things out that have not been done elsewhere. I see London’s future as a global ‘test-bed city’ for civic innovation, where the best ideas are developed, amplified and scaled.

“To solve the biggest problems our great city faces, I am calling for an ever-more collaborative approach than ever. We need our public services, major universities and technology community to mobilise their resources in new ways and partner with us to make London a fairer and more prosperous place.”

Chief digital officer, Theo Blackwell (pictured right), said: “The new roadmap focuses on getting the foundations for the future right. Digital connectivity is now rightly seen by Londoners as important as their other utilities.

“We will properly mobilise the city’s resources to end not-spots, and propose planning powers to ensure new developments are connected. We will put peoples’ priorities first through the Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge to mobilise the best in the tech sector to help solve urban problems.

“We will strike a new deal with citizens on use of their data so when it is appropriate to share data, it is done in a trusted, safe way and for public benefit. Tech jobs should open for Londoners and we will invest in skills and support efforts to make the tech sector more diverse.

“All of this will succeed only through collaboration and partnership, which we are committed to. We call on the tech community in all its forms across London to join us in this challenge.


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