01 Oct 2019
This last week two nuggets of news that say something about the progress Glasgow is making in its new phase of growth caught my eye.
Firstly The City Council submitted an application without any fanfare to the European Commission for Glasgow to be the Innovation Capital of Europe 2019. The award recognises cities that, in the words of the judging criteria ‘use innovation and new technologies to respond to societal challenges, engage broad local communities in their decision-making processes and improve the lives of their citizens’.
Glasgow’s application focused on three things; our experience of civic innovation including solutions for tackling financial exclusion or improving housing amongst those with low income or ill health; business innovation through support for establishing innovation districts around our universities; and infrastructure investment such as the Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre.
In total 28 cities applied, and Glasgow was chosen as one of 12 finalists, with Councillor Aitken leading a delegation across to Brussels to present to the Commission’s panel. Glasgow subsequently made the short list of six alongside cities like Antwerp, Rotterdam and Finland’s Espoo, which won the global Intelligent Community of the year award in 2018.
The winner was Nantes in France but Glasgow was runner up, bringing a prize of 100,000 Euros back to the city to expand innovation activities.
The statement of vision in Glasgow’s submission captures the essence of what is happening, with our innovation efforts being designed to overcome the legacy of our post-industrial past, create a world-leading low carbon, knowledge economy and generating solutions for our social challenges.
The city’s Digital Strategy, led very ably by Councillor Angus Miller, gives a good flavour of exactly what that means.
The second nugget is Glasgow’s inclusion in the short list for the World’s Leading Festival and Event Destination 2019, appearing in a list including major cities like London, Dubai, Moscow, Sydney and Singapore.
That is an astounding achievement for a city of Glasgow’s size and yet given our recent track record in holding a Commonwealth Games, the World Gymnastics Championships, the World Badminton Championships, the very first multi-sport European Championships in 2018 and the European Indoor Athletics Championships this year, it is entirely appropriate.
And we still have football’s Euro 2020 championship, the World Curling Championships 2020 and the World Cycling Championships 2023 to come.
Unlike so many other cities, Glasgow committed itself to a legacy from investing in a major event like the Commonwealth Games, and that commitment is being delivered at a quite extraordinary level. The impact this is having on, for example, the city’s hotel investment is obvious.
Please cast your vote for Glasgow here. You have until October 20 to do it.