Newcastle University announced in December 2013 an ambitious £50 million project to create a ‘living lab’ for trialling new technologies and systems in the endeavour to develop the smart city of the future.
Based on Science Central in the heart of Newcastle, the project will change the face of Newcastle city centre where all elements ranging from traffic through energy to buildings will work together to improve the user experience while reducing the carbon footprint. Putting users at its heart, the project will combine digital ingenuity and scientific expertise with social innovation.
Working alongside policy makers, businesses and public organisations, the university’s plans will put ‘the first science on Science Central’ – the hub for digitally enabled urban sustainability research. Among the plans is an Urban Observatory for monitoring the urban environment, pulling together different data (e.g. traffic flow, air quality, extreme weather) required for real-time decision making.
‘Over the next four years, we hope to see Science Central grow to become an exemplar of urban sustainability research,’ says Professor Chris Brink, Vice-Chancellor Newcastle University, ‘bringing together academia, organisations, industry, democracy and communities to develop solutions that will make a difference to people’s lives across the globe.’
Professor Philip Taylor, who is leading the Newcastle University part of the Science Central project, views the project as taking a dynamic and ambitious city like Newcastle and using it as ‘a test bed to create a world-leading example of urban sustainability that others can follow.’
Fiona Standfield, Director of Newcastle Science City, responsible for the delivery of Science Central, emphasises that the project also reflects ‘the ambitions of the North East to play a vital role in the delivery of globally important R&D projects.’
Another project linked to this is the £2 million Cloud Computing Centre for integration and analysis of big data sets. According to Professor Paul Watson, Director of Newcastle University’s Digital Institute, a big challenge of a ‘smart city’ is how to analyse data in such a way that it becomes meaningful and useful.
Although the £50 million research facility will be complete and functioning by 2017, some of its research projects have already started. These include:
- £3.5 million i-BUILD Centre, led by Professor Richard Dawson, set up to understand interactions between energy, water, transport, waste and digital technology systems
- £2 million grid–scale energy storage test bed, led by Professor Philip Taylor, to pave the way for the future of Smart Grids and energy storage across the UK
- £1.3 million MyPLACE project, led by Professor Peter Wright, to develop and test a digital platform and toolkit for the public to engage with local councils and other organisations more effectively in the research, planning and design of the urban environment
The University’s presence on Science Central is part of its commitment to the Science City partnership with Newcastle City Council.
Image from Newcastle Science Central website (http://www.newcastlesciencecentral.com/)
£50 million ‘living lab’ takes smart cities to the next level (news post on Newcastle University website) http://www.ncl.ac.uk/sustainability/news/item/million-living-lab-takes-smart-cities-to-the-next-level2
£50 million investment brings first science to Science Central http://www.newcastlesciencecentral.com/news-and-media/news/50-million-investment-brings-first-science-science-central/
Science Central: Newcastle University invests £50m http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-25340546
£50 million investment for Science Central development http://www.itv.com/news/tyne-tees/update/2013-12-11/50-million-investment-for-science-central-development/
Newcastle University unveil £50m investment into Science Central http://www.thejournal.co.uk/business/business-news/newcastle-university-unveil-50m-investment-6394506
Newcastle Science Central website http://www.newcastlesciencecentral.com/
Newcastle Science City website http://www.newcastlesciencecity.com/ | Twitter: NCL Science City @NCLScience
Digital Institute at Newcastle University https://digitalinstitute.ncl.ac.uk/ | Twitter: Digital Institute @digitalinst
Newcastle City Council http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/home/
Grid–scale energy storage test bed http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press.office/press.release/item/leading-by-example-science-central-key-to-energy-storage-and-smart-grids-of-the-future
Related posts on The Sustainable University News & Info website
UCL symposium focuses on Sustainable Resources for Sustainable Cities https://sunewsinfo.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/ucl-symposium-focuses-on-sustainable-resources-for-sustainable-cities/
NEW BOOK: Imagining the Future City: London 2062 https://sunewsinfo.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/new-book-imagining-the-future-city-london-2062/
UEL Sustainable City seminar on Challenges and Opportunities in East London https://sunewsinfo.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/uel-sustainable-city-seminar-on-challenges-and-opportunities-in-east-london/
A related post on The Sustainable University Notes blog:
Higher Education’s role in building a sustainable world http://su-notes.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/higher-educations-role-in-building.html