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Vicky is programme director Connected Local Government, a regular host on CLGdotTV programmes and has served public sector IT for more than 25 years

@vickysargent

Cities should be bolder with tech and collaborate to meet urbanization challenges

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Stephen Blackburn of Leeds City Council and Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer for London, discuss how city governments can use technology to respond to significant growth in urbanization and other changes – some brought about by technology itself.

With a population more than ten times that of Leeds, 32 different local administrations, 48 universities and 50 NHS Trusts, and one of the largest urban transport providers in Europe, London might appear to pose a rather different set of issues.

But as this conversation reveals, many of the solutions to the stresses of city living are common. Better use of data to improve things for citizens (like anticipating problems with housing and fixing it ahead of time); applying smart systems to travel and transport to ease congestion; and providing ubiquitous internet connectivity to enable work-from-anywhere.

Collaboration is also key. In Leeds this is largely about the city council collaborating with other organisations that impact people’s lives, whether this is the NHS or other private and public providers. In London this may be better collaboration between London boroughs, which traditionally have dealt more with Whitehall or City Hall than they have with each other.

Through collaboration over shared challenges, these city authorities are more likely to solve the problems they face than waiting for solutions to emerge from national governments.

 

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