• Science & Technology

Smart Cities and Communities: Creating Sustainable, Efficient and Liveable Places

  • Thursday, 22 March 2018
  • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • 08:30 - 16:30
  • Overview

Large-scale urbanisation has created demands for new and more efficient technology to respond to citizens’ needs. Daily services we depend on such as transport, healthcare, housing, sanitation and lighting are being used on an unprecedented level. This has coincided with the mass use of the Internet and new technologies. Combining the rapidly-increasing size of cities and the rise of smart technology has become a top priority for many public and private sector bodies. As the Internet of Things becomes more of a reality, it is vital we know what this means for our services, our opportunities and our general society.


Smart cities aim to integrate this technology into the vital services within our communities. This is to respond more efficiently to citizens’ needs, improve safety and sustainability and generally make cities more liveable. Open Forum Events invites you to the Smart Cities and Communities: Creating Sustainable, Efficient and Liveable Places conference for an opportunity to discuss specific research and policy areas and reflect on how smart cities are developing across the globe. We will look at more established issues such as the Digital Economy Act, citizen engagement and waste and recycling. We will also consider more recent topics being discussed around smart cities. These include the sharing economy, ageing population, cybersecurity and the effect on rural communities. Moreover, we will assess multiple case studies that see smart cities in action.


Smart cities and the need to make our world more sustainable, efficient and liveable is an increasingly pressing concern for all areas of society. It is necessary that we come together to establish how best to develop technology to our advantage and help us preserve our habitats for future generations.

In recent times, there have been many initiatives to introduce the latest technology into cities and other communities. This has occurred with the aim of creating a more efficient resource allocation in response to rapid population growth, particularly in cities. The UN estimates that by 2030, 5 billion people will be living in cities across the world. This is creating a pressing need for better ways to manage such densely populated metropolises. Solutions, both proposed and enacted, include increased automation, larger data capacity for public services, the widespread use of sensors and allowing authorities and service providers to monitor and control resource delivery in real time.


Creating a truly smart city entails incorporating smart functionality into everyday objects and services, which is no easy job. It is therefore essential that the most innovative and hardest-working minds come together to create this technology and realise the most effective ways to integrate it into cities. Smart cities are still in their early stages, which makes a conference like this even more vital to the conversation. This will serve as a brilliant opportunity for thinkers and learners smart technology’s role in cities and communities to exchange ideas and learn best practices.


Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Sidewalk Labs (a branch of Google), once said: “You can never truly plan a city. Instead you can lay the foundations and let people create on top of it.” It is important not to forget that the people are ultimately at the centre of large-scale technological change and must be at the forefront of any conversations about smart cities. Citizen engagement and response is vital in this development. Many conferences on making conurbations smarter have focused a lot on the technology itself. Whilst this is important, it is also essential to discuss what this will mean for people in their everyday lives.


There are other barriers to the full realisation of smart cities. This includes the communication between businesses developing technology and the government who have the power to fully integrate such features on a mass scale. There are other issues around the practical implementation of smart technology and data protection of citizens. Some have also raised the issue that the investment put into cities, by both the private and public sector, often occurs at the neglect of more rural areas.


This conference will be a chance to reflect on the implications of recent technological developments in our lives and communities. Join us to listen to brilliant speakers and insightful experts. You will leave with an enlightened perspective on how smart cities are blossoming and where we are headed in the future.

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  • Confirmed Speakers

  • Benefits of attending

  • To exchange ideas, case studies and research with fellow stakeholders of smart cities
  • Explore the smarter and most innovative ways to support the complex needs of citizens and develop the infrastructure to overcome some of the grand societal challenges.
  • Get a better understanding of how Internet of Things solutions can solve urban challenges by encouraging healthier behaviour.
  • Receive practical advice and inspiration from a range of real-life examples from the leading authorities in smart city projects around the world and see how they are tapping their possibilities into the smart city revolution.
  • Boost your understanding of how services can be delivered better through technologies and data.
  • Develop new perceptions, experiences and ideas on what makes a city smart, and how we can sustain our places and communities to thrive for generations to come.
  • Implementing smart technologies to overcome the pressures on public services.
  • Network with a wide range of organisations all dedicated to explore the more efficient ways for smart city revolution.
  • Improve understanding of the role of government in encouraging collaboration between business and city leaders.
  • Explore new practices, new thinking and new contacts to support you taking the next steps towards a more efficient city.
  • Gain the maximum number of 6 CPD points.

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Event Sponsors and Supporters

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair’s Opening Address

Erin Walsh, Head of Cities Strategies, Future Cities UK (invited)


Keynote Address

  • Mike Pitts, Head of Urban Systems, Innovate UK (confirmed)
"Better Urban Living through Smart Infrastructure"

As we add more intelligence to our urban infrastructure the way we will deliver services to citizens in the future will be radically different. Innovate UK are helping business get to that future faster. This talk will describe how the future may be different and examples of the innovation we have supported.


Matthew Gould, Director General for Digital and Media, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (invited)

"Assessing the Digital Economy Act: One Year On"

The UK government passed the Digital Economy Act in April 2017. It included new rules on broadband connectivity, improved infrastructure for public services, protection of Internet users and greater government access to data. This talk will discuss the impact of the Act and how it is part of a wider plan to prepare for a digital future.

  • Julie Snell, Managing Director, Bristol is Open (confirmed)
"Bristol as a Smart City"

Bristol was voted 2017's leading smart city by the UK Smart Cities Index. The south-west city has made significant progress in its innovation programmes. Finer details of this work will be discussed in this talk.


Main Sponsor


Question and Answer Session


Coffee in the Networking Area


Case Study

  • Pierre Jean Coulon, President, Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructures and the Information Society, European Economic and Social Committee (confirmed)

Case Study

  • Tim Gregson, CTO Local & Regional Government , Microsoft (confirmed)
"CitizenBot for UK Public Sector"

With Bots and cognitive services more accessible than ever before, now is the time for all organisations to start thinking about introducing these services to drive efficiencies, reduce costs and engage citizens & employees. In this talk we will discuss what a Bot is, what makes a great Bot, and how they can support citizens in accessing local government services.


Question and Answer Session


Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair's Afternoon Address

  • Dr. Malachy Rice, Founder and Managing Director, Kokomo Healthcare (confirmed)
"Ageing Population"

An increasing ageing population is a global issue. Due to the huge improvements in healthcare over the last century, people are living a lot longer. Nations all over the world are innovating ways to cope with growing elderly populations. This talk will discuss the importance of considering the elderly in the creation of smart cities and the technologies being developed for them.

  • Steve Pyer, UK General Manager, Mobike (confirmed)
"Where does the sharing economy fit into smart cities?"

The phenomenon of the sharing economy has been an unexpected success story. AirBnb and Uber are now two of the most widely-used services for accommodation and transport. Many companies like these adopt a social-network style of communication and rely on reviews and trust between users. They are heavily reliant on technology and are often involved in some of the most cutting-edge developments. This talk will look at how the sharing economy and smart cities fit together.

  • Sarahjane Widdowson, Procurement and Waste Operations Business Manager, Ricardo Energy & Environment (confirmed)
"Waste and Recycling"

How we deal with waste is an indication of how much we are considering our future and the generations who will succeed us. This talk will look at the uses of technology to create more efficient and, most importantly, more sustainable ways of dealing with waste.


Question and Answer Session


Coffee in the Networking Area

  • Tom Hunter, Innovation Consultant, Open Data Institute (confirmed)
"Security and Data Protection – Is there such a thing as privacy anymore?"

The more that smart technology is used, the more that data is required for all sorts of information flows. This brings into question how people really own their privacy anymore. Governments and business often view or use data often unbeknownst to most citizens. Some argue that most citizens have nothing to worry about whilst others see it as an invasion of basic privacy. There is also an issue of over-reliance on technology in public services, as seen by the recent NHS cyberattack. This panel will discuss what data and security mean in smart cities.


Simon Gough, Co-Founder, Open Data Institute Devon (invited)

"Smart Everywhere: How can smart technology be used in rural communities?"

It has long been argued that major investments are often put into cities and large towns much more than smaller, more rural areas. Technology is no exception and rural areas are often left behind in the latest gadgets and best quality connectivity. This session will explore how the smart city model can be adapted for rural communities and how technology can be utilised in less populated areas


Q&A Session


Chair's Closing Remarks and Event Close

  • Register for event

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Colette Hodson
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Contact Details


  • Smart Cities – Ambitions for the Future

    • Posted on 31 March 2017
  • Data Platforms to Unlock the Potential of Smart Cities

    • Posted on 09 March 2017
    • by CACI Ltd




The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Construction of The Bridgewater Hall commenced on 22 March 1993, but the idea of a new concert hall for Manchester dates back to the reconstruction of the Free Trade Hall in the 1950s after wartime bomb damage. The Free Trade Hall was home to the city’s famous Hallé orchestra and also hosted rock and pop concerts. However, despite holding great public affection, the 1850s Free Trade Hall was ill-equipped to respond to the rising standards of service and acoustic excellence demanded by performers and audiences.

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  • Smart Cities and Communities: Creating Sustainable, Efficient and Liveable Places

    • 22 March 2018
    • 08:30 - 16:30
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Downloads & Resources

  • Open Forum Events Sponsorship Brochure
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  • Who will attend?

·         Academics

·         Asset Managers

·         Central Government

·         Chief Information Officers

·         Councillors

·         Development Managers

·         Directors/Heads of Enterprise and Innovation

·         Directors/Heads of Technology

·         E-government Leads

·         Executive Directors and Chief Executive Officers

·         Heads of Economic Development

·         Heads of Growth and Regeneration

·         Heads of Innovation

·         Heads of Inward Investment

·         Heads of Planning

·         Heads of Policy

·         Heads of Research and Innovation

·         Heads of Sustainability

·         Heads of Transport

·         Health and Social Care

·         Higher Education

·         Investors

·         LEPs

·         Local Authority Officials

·         Local Businesses

·         Local Enterprise Partnerships

·         Managing Directors

·         Project and Programme Managers

·         Project Director/Programme/Portfolio Managers

·         Senior Managers

·         Strategic Directors