In March 2017, Manchester City Council (MCC) was selected to make a bid to the EU World Cities project. The invitation came on the back of our strong track record in European projects and in collaboration with other European cities.
The programme is part of the EU’s urban agenda and foreign policy aimed at developing stronger connections between EU and non-EU cities. We had a choice between seeking a city match in Australia, South Africa, South Korea or Vietnam. With MCC having sent representatives to Australia in October 2016 to speak, amongst other things, about CityVerve and Hypercat, we chose Australia.
The World Cities programme, working with Ramboll and RMIT, matched Manchester with Adelaide for a 12 month collaboration project. Part of this involved setting aside one week for a delegation from Manchester to go to Australia, as well as a return visit from the Australians to Manchester and Brussels in October 2017, and a final exchange visit for a Manchester delegation to go to Australia at the beginning of next year.
For this first trip to the other side of the world, a team of Manchester representatives was pulled together, including myself as the lead, Helena Tinker of Manchester Metropolitan University, Siemens’ Ivan Hewlett, Simon Navin of Ordnance Survey, the University of Manchester’s Dr Joe Ravetz, and my MCC colleague Rebecca Heron.
As “the hottest driest city, in the hottest driest state in Australia,” climate change mitigation and adaptation features high on the agenda in Adelaide. So too does the smart city agenda, and interest was high in the CityVerve project to see how this might be adapted to our Australian counterparts' specific needs.
To read more about the trip to Adelaide and about the EU World Cities project, follow the link.