Smart Devolution, a new report from the Policy Exchange, makes the case that the success of city devolution will depend on city regions adopting smart city data techniques. City devolution equips mayors with extensive new powers. But those powers will fail to have impact without the tools to use them effectively; tools which smart cities can provide. Smart cities, meanwhile, offer a suite of remarkable technologies that can improve cities. But those technologies will deliver little without the right people, powers, resources and skills; things that city devolution can put in place. In short, each provides what the other needs.

Chapters 2 and 3 demonstrate exactly how smart cities can give the new generation of elected mayors the data tools and insights they require to deliver city devolution’s objectives of boosting regional economic growth and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of local public services. Chapters 4 and 5 explain how city devolution can address the political, leadership and funding barriers that hinder the development of smart cities.

Overall, the report makes the case that if the UK wants its cities to thrive, they must have both brains and brawn. Tools and powers.

Photo credit: Confirmation by Thomas Hawk