Smart Cities: recent literature

data-stream-shutterstock_croppedby Laura Dobie

Recently, smart cities have emerged as a hot research topic, with cities, national governments and businesses exploring ways to exploit the potential of ICT to improve quality of life and achieve greater efficiency in service delivery.

Our new research briefing explores recent commentary and research in this area. It considers the definition of smart cities and highlights the characteristics of smart cities, and comments on issues which are being addressed in the built environment, such as the provision of appropriate digital infrastructure, decentralised energy and district heating schemes and energy efficiency measures.

The briefing takes a closer look at the deployment of smart technologies in the key area of transport and travel and discusses the commercial opportunities that smart cities present for businesses. It also considers issues with digital inclusion in smart cities, and the application of digital technologies in the co-production of internet-enabled services within emerging smart cities.

Our briefing, Smart Cities: recent literature, can be accessed here.

For more information on our products and services, and to access research briefings across a broad range of areas of public and social policy, visit the Knowledge Exchange website.

A story with a happy ending? The UK labour market and the future of skills

Skills, Knowledge, Abilities

by Laura Dobie

Last week the UK Commission for Employment and Skills published The Labour Market Story, a series of reports exploring how the UK labour market is working following recession. In this article, we take a closer look at the results and key findings.

The reports reviewed research from the UKCES, other UK organisations and international sources to investigate:

The research revealed that while the UK economy is returning to sustained recovery, this has taken longer than before. There has been sustained growth in self-employment, and a rise in precarious forms of work, such as casual and short term work, and zero hours contracts. Youth unemployment is four times the rate for those aged 24 to 64.

There has been a long term reduction in administrative and secretarial work in many industries, typical middle level jobs, which has led to increasing polarisation in the labour market. Those with higher skills and qualifications are more likely to remain in employment and have considerably greater earnings prospects, highlighting the importance of skills in individuals’ labour market outcomes.

Continue reading

Looking to the future: SURF Conference 2014

Bridge across river Clyde

by Laura Dobie

The SURF 2014 Conference, which took place yesterday, was a lively event which explored regeneration in Scotland from a range of perspectives, including the economy, social justice, and land ownership.

Following on from last year’s SURF Regeneration and the Referendum debate, and with the referendum fast approaching in September, this year’s conference discussed regeneration within the context of the debate for Scottish independence, considering the implications of potential constitutional change. SURF is also working on a regeneration manifesto for the next general election, and Chair Brian MacDonald and Chief Executive Andy Milne invited contributions from delegates to shape this manifesto.

Continue reading

Striking a social chord: music in community engagement and regeneration

by Laura Dobie

dj decksThe 2014 Commonwealth Games are drawing to a close in Glasgow, and in addition to all the sporting action that is taking place in the city, the Games have acted as a catalyst for a wide range of cultural events. Perhaps one of the most ambitious in scale was the Big Big BIG Sing, which took place on Glasgow Green on 27th July, with a day-long programme of varied events, from beatboxing to Gaelic singing. In this article, we take a closer look at the Big Big BIG Sing and a couple of other projects in local communities across the UK, which are putting music centre stage in community engagement and regeneration.

Continue reading

Love Parks Week: shouting out for green spaces

bluebell fairylandby Laura Dobie

This week is Love Parks Week (25th July-3rd August), an annual campaign to raise the profile of local parks and green spaces. The initiative, managed by Keep Britain Tidy and Love Where You Live, began in 2006 with the aim to encourage people to visit and take a pride in their local parks and highlight their vital contribution to healthy, happy and strong communities.

The campaign has been growing year on year, and last year there were 1,100 events across the country, with approximately 1.4 million participants. The quality of green spaces is an important concern for the campaign, and its Park Health Check questionnaire invites people to rate the quality of their local green spaces and contribute to a report assessing the health of the nation’s parks. With listings for a variety of events across the UK, and promotional materials available to help people to promote events in green spaces in their communities, it is clear that Love Parks Week is raising awareness of parks and green spaces and making the case for continued investment in these places in the face of funding constraints. Continue reading

Kick-starting regeneration: the role of football

foot ball stadiumby Laura Dobie

As the world cup draws to a close, Brazil’s 7-1 defeat in the semi-finals at the hands of Germany has become the most talked-about sports match in the history of Twitter, with 35.6 million tweets worldwide. With the media spotlight on Brazil’s poor performance on the pitch, we take a brief look at the World Cup’s economic development performance, and the role of football in regeneration here in the UK. Continue reading

Integrating green and grey: green infrastructure projects and approaches in Glasgow

Mighty oak.

by Laura Dobie

Architecture and Design Scotland’s This Friday Presents… Integrating Green and Grey talk on 16th May provided much food for thought on approaches to green space in urban areas. Rolf Roscher, the director of landscape and urban design consultancy ERZ Ltd, gave an engaging presentation focused on both the individual project level, through the Multifunctional Green Space projects, and the wider strategic level, through the Integrated Green Infrastructure study of South West Glasgow. Continue reading

Improving the built environment: how to tackle vacant and derelict buildings

a derelict ruined building with pigeons perched on

by Laura Dobie

As the built environment plays an important role in creating a sense of place and community identity, vacant and derelict buildings can have a damaging effect on local areas, hampering regeneration efforts. They create a sense of neglect in neighbourhoods and communities, and, if located in prominent areas, can have a considerable negative effect on surrounding households, businesses and amenities. Continue reading

Going hungry? The growth of food poverty and food banks in the UK

storehouse food bank, southend

by Laura Dobie

Food poverty is a social issue which has been the subject of much media attention in recent weeks. The BBC 1 Sport Relief programme, Famous, rich and hungry, in which celebrities spent time with families experiencing food poverty, while controversial in its approach, has prompted concern and discussion around those who are struggling to afford life’s essentials. Continue reading

Using service design for user-focused, cost-effective public services

business people reviewing plans

by Laura Dobie

Faced with growing demand and reduced budgets, public services are increasingly looking for innovative ways to meet user needs with declining resources. Ahead of this weekend’s Global Service Jam, here’s a quick look at how service design can transform public services. Continue reading