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Birmingham launches ‘smart city roadmap’

The city of Birmingham has just launched a Smart City Roadmap that outlines actions that can tackle urban challenges from unemployment to carbon reduction.

Developed by the Birmingham Smart City Commission, the roadmap represents what the commission calls “a collective ambition by city stakeholders to deliver real change by developing intelligent and integrated services through the use of digital technologies, data and open collaboration, driven by the citizens and communities that are core to the city’s future growth.”

The roadmap outlines 39 actions to be delivered over the next three years in the areas of people, economy and technology and place.

“Birmingham, much like other big cities, faces immediate challenges of joblessness, social exclusion and poverty,” writes council member and Birmingham Smart City Commission chair James Mackay in the foreword to the roadmap. “Severe budget cuts and a growing population are putting pressure on city services, such as housing, transport and health. Yet to ‘do nothing’ is not an option; we must change our approaches and attitudes to create a sustainable future for our citizens. In response, our Roadmap identifies a clear priority to develop intelligent and integrated services based on digital technologies and open collaboration. By involving many stakeholders across the city, we will build the critical mass required to achieve real and lasting change.”

Among the action recommendations made in the roadmap are:

  • Create a free, public wifi network across Birmingham city center;
  • Identify a location for a new “digital neighborhood” aimed at helping housing tenants to connect to different technologies;
  • Work with local health and social care providers to develop strategies for digital health services;
  • Build an online energy dashboard for visitors and users of public buildings;
  • Build a business case for a “Smart Parking” initiative.


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