Milton Keynes Council's strategy chief Geoff Snelson tells PublicTechnology why smart-city ideas and technology need to be an intrinsic part of planning for the short- and long-term future.
With an average of around 4,000 people moving to Milton Keynes each year, one of the ways that the town is preparing for this continued growth is by embracing smart-city ideas and technologies. Speaking to PublicTechnology last year, Snelson claims that this has been fuelled by both a desire to improve public services and boost the private sector economy.
“It is about addressing the problem of sustained growth, as well as creating jobs,” he says. “As a fast-growing place, we need to develop our high-knowledge jobs much more strongly – creating economic value – as well as find ways to cope with the pressure on infrastructure.”
He adds that the town wants to foster an environment where local government, academia, and commercial industry – both start-ups and large multinationals – work together to understand, define, and, ultimately, solve the challenges of being a fast-growing city.
“[We are looking at] how could universities be more active in technology and helping create employment in relevant sectors, as well as address infrastructure pressures in energy, transport, and water,” Snelson says. “We have integrated the smart-city programme in our city strategy, rather than it being just on the side. That [strategy] is looking at the long-term future, up to 2050. Things like the carving out of jobs, and the sort of jobs they are. We need to get ahead of that."
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