Experts discussed the matter at a recent Prospect roundtableby Duncan Weldon / November 1, 2016 / Leave a comment
Prospect’s Future of Cities report was launched in May this year, in collaboration with the civil engineering consultancy Atkins and the Government Office of Science. Cities are a crucial driver of economic growth and whilst London remains the economic centre of the UK, there’s an increasing recognition that other urban areas can play a much bigger role in driving the economy forward. With Whitehall serious about devolving more powers to localities and with technology advancing rapidly, Prospect has held a series of roundtables and events bringing together the public, private and voluntary sectors to map out the road ahead.
Last week’s discussion, in conjunction with Atkins, called “Data as infrastructure: how can data drive growth in devolved regions?”, was the final event in the series and also a part of Atkins’ intelligent mobility week. The discussion opened with Jason Pavey, Market Director for Local Transport at Atkins, setting the scene. There is an increasing recognition—he argued—that transport and other infrastructure is no longer just about the physical world. Although physical infrastructure remains obviously crucial, there’s a growing role for data infrastructure alongside this and it needs to be taken into account at the early stages of planning and policy formulation.
The “vision” is clearly there in policy circles with all the talk of connectivity and the power of big data, but it remains to be seen if the steps can…