18/01/2022

Consultation Launches On Proposed 'Smart Belfast' Framework

Belfast City Council have launched a public consultation on their draft Urban Innovation Framework 2022-2027 – which aims to support innovators from across local industry, universities and the public sector to work better together in addressing Belfast's major urban and economic challenges.

Chair of the council's Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, Councillor Áine Groogan said: "Digital innovation is key to our future. It's central to Belfast's economic transformation. And, in this pandemic world, it is also a crucial resource in helping us address the major climate and urban challenges that we face in the next decade.

"Smart Belfast is about making sure we have the conditions in place to maximise the positive impact of technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and robotics for the good of everyone in the city.
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"Belfast City Council has brought together partners to determine how we nurture these conditions for innovation. We've also analysed what has worked well in other cities worldwide. We now need to test these ideas with everyone with an interest in this area, whether you're in business, work with local communities, an innovator, a resident or an academic – your feedback is valuable to us."

To support the approach in the framework, the council is developing a Belfast Smart District that will enable industry, researchers, and government to rapidly develop innovative solutions that directly address challenges associated with climate change, travel, health and the impact of new technologies across our economy.

As part of the programme city partners propose to invest over £30 million in advanced digital infrastructure and to establish a £20 million urban challenge fund to encourage collaborative innovation, with funding provided by the Belfast Region City Deal. The council expects that this approach will attract substantial private sector investment.

The eight-week consultation is open now and will close on 15 March 2022. Everyone with an interest in new technologies, innovation and urban regeneration is encouraged to provide feedback.

The consultation is available on the council's engagement platform Your Say. Further to this public engagement, online information sessions will also be taking place.

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