In Scotland, the Smart City model advocates the use of digital technologies to provide better services and empower and improve the health and well-being of citizens. 

The Scottish Government’s refreshed digital strategy, coupled with more than £5 billion committed thus far through City Region Deals, is a significant commitment to making Scotland’s cities smarter and better positioned to compete in a connected world. 

The country’s seven cities: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling – have made considerable progress in adopting smart technologies, embracing innovation to establish new forms of collaboration across the public, private, further and higher education sectors. 

This includes: mobile working, smart Infrastructure projects using an Internet of Things (IoT) approach, connecting devices to generate and improve data to aid councils and partners to reduce energy usage, improve reporting and service delivery, and inform data-driven decision making.

Sample smart city activities and priorities include:

  • Inverness: Most digitally connected rural region in Europe; Digital Highlands; Digital Healthcare
  • Aberdeen: Diversifying local economy and becoming a low carbon and sustainable city; City-Region data management platform; Intelligent street lighting
  • Dundee: Investment in transport and digital infrastructure; Dundee Wireless; City Data Platform; The MILL (Mobility Integration Living Laboratory)
  • Perth: an innovation hub aims to develop new businesses in the digital and creative sectors linked to research and education - encouraging more entrepreneurship and further developing smart city technologies
  • Stirling: City Development Framework; Digital Hub, Intelligent street lighting 
  • Edinburgh: £1bn of funding and potential £3.2bn private investment; to be the most connected, creative and inclusive entrepreneurial place in Europe; Intelligent lighting, Smart Bins and CCTV
  • Glasgow: £1.13bn infrastructure innovation and labour market investment fund with an associated GVA uplift £2.2bn; UK Future Cities Demonstrator Programme; Connected digital infrastructure and free public Wi-fi.

FutureScot’s Smart Cities session will examine steps required to ensure Scotland’s cities remain at the forefront of the digital thinking. 

              Key Themes:

  • Achieving Smart City status
  • Ensuring collaborative governance: engaging citizens in the policy decision-making process
  • Security trends: how smart cities are preparing to prevent digital disruption in their communication, utility and transportation systems
  • What are our priorities: what will the impact be of digital transformation and disruptions on the way services are delivered and indeed the workplace, planning and priorities, transport strategy, place-making and impact on health?
  • Should we be advocating a root and branch bottom-up review of our city and city region planning policies in the hope of creating a more resilient and healthier, wealthier Scotland?