Civic leaders face significant challenges in positioning their locations for the future. Long-term strategy is crucial. Currently much policymaking in the UK only looks five years ahead. This is nowhere near enough. To make a real difference leaders need to be looking further into the future to ask: what do we want our place to look like in 30 years’ time?

A second challenge is to ditch siloed thinking. Issues such as transport, health, education and business have traditionally been planned in isolation. No longer. A critical overview of all policy areas and their inter-dependences is the only way to set a clear destination for overarching sustainable transformation which fits the needs of all the city’s users.

Taking a System of Systems approach should enable cities to understand the complexity of interactions between delivery areas, and develop integrated plans and holistic architectures to deliver wide ranging benefits. 

This approach starts by reviewing the local authority’s existing asset base, assessing how best to maximise the performance of existing infrastructure to meet long-term demand by improving its resilience. Better asset management data can bring significant economic benefits, while technology can improve the performance, capacity and yield of the infrastructure.

Technology also plays an important role in collecting sensor data from different assets to optimise capital planning and programmes to make important decisions about capital and operational spending, enabling proactive asset management to direct resources in the smartest way.

There are numerous challenges to using technology and smart data, from regulation, cyber security threats, limits to data sharing, to funding, finance, skills and supply chains. The good news is that innovative thinking can help local authorities navigate many of the challenges. KPMG brings our expertise to bear in helping forward-thinking leaders make sense of the complexities involved in reimaging their locales and securing funding for place-based transformation through innovative devolution deals to help them realise their vision for their city for the benefit of its different users.

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