• Country: United Kingdom
  • Population: 500,000
  • Member of Covenant of Mayors?: Yes
  • Politician Who Signed: Rt Hon Donald Wilson, Lord Provost
  • Website: www.edinburgh.gov.uk

City Introduction

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland with a population of 0.5 million (city region 1.6m). A UNESCO World Heritage site, a thriving, elegant metropolis and a leader in cultural and academic excellence for centuries, Edinburgh is the UK’s most popular tourist destination after London, and is a world renowned festival city receiving 4 million visitors each year.

Edinburgh is the UK’s second financial centre and Europe’s fourth financial centre by equity assets. The city has a growing population and was awarded Best Large City of the Future for fDi and fDi Strategy by The Financial Times Foreign Direct Investment Magazine 2012 /13. Leading the field in informatics, stem cell research, biotechnology and microelectronics, Edinburgh is home to 4 universities and an internationally recognised centre of excellence in climate change expertise, training and energy technology innovation.

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Smart City projects and initiatives

As one of the world’s leading capital cities, ranked second for quality of life in 2017, Edinburgh is experimenting with a number of smart city approaches to improve city sustainablility, while driving innovation.

Edinburgh is experimenting with smart waste sensors to better understand patterns of litter across the city. An initial project focused on on-street litter bins, and looked to improve the placement and number of bins, and improve routing efficiency. This would help reduce fuel consumption, as drivers stopped making unnecessary trips to bins that did not need emptying, as well as raising awareness on waste volumes produced in Edinburgh to provide useful data for strategic decision-making about waste-management in the city. Edinburgh is currently expanding this smart approach to investigate the potential benefits of upscaling to city scale, and potentially to other waste types.

Edinburgh is also currently investing in lighting upgrades, that will replace every lighting column in the city with an energy efficient LED over the next 3 years, as well as providing improvement such as contollable dimming. This infrastructure will also provide an Internet of Things network where additional devices such as traffic or air quality sensors to further improve the city’s data-led approach to sustainability and innovation.

On 30-31 May 2017, Edinburgh hosted a tripartite ‘work-shadowing’ visit organised in partnership with GDC/GuiDanCe team. Get insights from the visit on storify.

Sustainable Edinburgh 2020

In June 2011, Sustainable Edinburgh 2020 was adopted as the Council’s vision for the sustainable development of the low carbon, resource efficient city, setting out a range of ambitious targets including a reduction in carbon emissions by 40% by 2020.

The city’s new 5-year economic strategy aims to attract £1.3 billion of physical investment in Edinburgh; create and safeguard 20,000 jobs and help 10,000 people get into work or learning. Current and future plans include a new tram system, the redevelopment of Haymarket and Waverley Stations, the expansion of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and the development of the Edinburgh Waterfront, including the creation of a deep water port for offshore wind turbine manufacturing.

City of Edinburgh Council is undertaking an ambitious programme of transformation, with digital technology at its heart. The Council is actively working with its ICT supplier (CGI) and with other partners across the city on a number of projects to improve green outcomes for Edinburgh, as well as improve the sustainability of digital provision within areas of influence.

Projects undertaken by the City of Edinburgh range from small-scale trials centred on research and innovation, right up to implementing large-scale ‘business as usual type’ changes such as the energy-efficient ICT provision across the Council’s estate, and behaviour change campaigns.

Aligned with this, a programme of energy efficiency initiatives mainly focused on existing buildings is looking to reduce energy consumption in a ‘smarter way’. This includes new Building Management Systems, pilots with sensors and new energy efficiency technologies.