London and Bristol are Britain’s leading smart cities. This is the verdict of the first UK Smart Cities Index, which assesses the current state of smart city development across the country by comparing the ten city-projects.

The evaluation takes into account their strategies, key projects and overall readiness to develop their smart city visions.

London and Bristol were ranked as “Leaders” because they differentiate themselves through the clarity, breadth and social inclusiveness of their smart city vision and planning.

Leaders are followed by “Contenders”, which have done much to develop their smart city projects but have to work harder to mind some gaps in their strategy. This group includes Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Leeds and Peterborough.

Nottingham and Sheffield are instead ranked as “Challengers”. Whilst they have started their path towards a Smart City status and begun to deploy relevant projects, execution still trails the vision outlined.


Why Bristol?

When it comes to Smart City’s technologies, strategies and visions, Bristol shows unique characteristics. Whilst London, as a global megacity, operates on a different scale than any other UK centre and benefits from its global financial centrality, Bristol’s competitive advantage lies in its vision and its world-leading city-networking project, Bristol Is Open.

In terms of Strategy, the research by Navigant Consultancy found out that Bristol provides a framework to connect successful innovations with priority issues for the city and its communities. Not only this, other Bristol strengths are its deep understanding of the open data revolution, its energy-management innovations and community engagement. In this respect, Navigant Consulting highlighted the importance of playable city ideas, an important reminder of the need for smart cities to be attractive, engaging and efficient.

Crucial to Bristol’s leadership status is Bristol Is Open, depicted by Navigant Consulting as a city networking project with the potential to emerge as a world-leading large-scale environment for the testing of technological, social and urban innovation.


Bristol’s leading role as a national and international Smart City Innovator was recognised also by the TMForum, which announced Bristol Is Open as the winner of the prestigious Global Smart City Innovator award at the TMForum Live 2016 conference and expo.


Simone Grassi, Bristol Is Open


Photo credits: LukeAndrew94 on Flickr