Future Peterborough

When Peterborough was chosen as one of just four UK Future City Demonstrators in 2013, the city council and Opportunity Peterborough immediately set about testing innovative ideas that would help the city work smarter and become more sustainable through the Peterborough DNA demonstrator phase. 

The most effective projects were scaled up through Future Peterborough. These were: 

  • Circular Peterborough 
  • Smart City Leadership 
  • Digital Innovation 

The project’s achievements and ambitions have helped make Peterborough an international leader in circular economy and Smart City leadership. The Future Peterborough team was instrumental in establishing grass roots projects that used smart technology to improve quality of life for the city’s residents. 

The Future Peterborough programme was delivered jointly by Opportunity Peterborough and Peterborough City Council. 


Circular Peterborough 

Peterborough is one of the UK’s fastest growing cities but we don’t want our growth to come at the expense of the environment. The Circular Peterborough initiative aimed to develop a fully circular economy in Peterborough by 2050, a target to which Peterborough City Council is still committed. The programme’s Circular City Roadmap and maturity model sets out the city’s long term plans. 

The programme embedded the circular economy into Peterborough’s economy to move us away from the take-make-dispose model to one where resources are used to their full potential. This concept has helped the city and its businesses reduce waste and reliance on raw materials, and find new uses for waste streams.  

While the programme was running, local businesses could pledge their support to working sustainably with the Circular Peterborough Commitment. The Future Peterborough team also launched an innovative resource sharing platform, Share Peterborough, where individuals and businesses could share, swap, and request underused resources free of charge. 

Our inclusive approach set us apart from other cities. Our achievements were recognised by international bodies – click the links below to see some examples:  

PIRI Project

The Peterborough Integrated Renewables Infrastructure (PIRI) project is the largest smart-city wide, low carbon, smart energy scheme in the UK .

Peterborough City Council is partnering with SSE Enterprise, Element Energy, Cranfield University, Smarter Grid Solutions and Sweco UK to help drop carbon emissions by 2030.

Partners are planning a low carbon, smart energy system for the city’s growing business base and population.

Read more here


Smart City Leadership 

After winning the World Smart City title in 2015, Peterborough went on to share its Smart City expertise across the world. This cemented Peterborough’s position as a leading smart city authority and opened up international opportunities for local businesses. 

Building on our Future City Demonstrator legacy, Peterborough worked in partnership with the British Standards Institute (BSI) and UrbanDNA to test and develop a Smart City Leadership Programme (SCLP). Cities will play a vital role in addressing societal challenges, and the SCLP helped to unlock the potential of city leadership around the world to better facilitate and champion smart technology to improve public services and wellbeing. 

Highlights on the impact of the Smart City Leadership Programme: 

  • Played a lead role in the development of British Standards Institute’s (BSI) suite of Smart City Standards 
  • Chair of the BSI’s Smart and Sustainable Cities Committee (SDS/2) 
  • A founder member of the Cities Standards Institute 
  • Attends the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smart Cities 
  • A member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Cities Network
    Delivers a DFID-funded Smart City Leadership Programme for the Indian city of Amaravati and for the state of Madhya Pradesh 
  • The team presented at over 50 international conferences and continues to acquire local, national and international media coverage peaking with the ‘World Smart City Award’ in 2015 


Digital Innovation 

Peterborough is one of the UK’s first fully gigabit cities with the rollout of CityFibre’s full-fibre-to-the-premises gigabit network. Working closely with Peterborough City Council, there has been a push to share data transparently online, and to make use of the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve residential quality of life, improve resource allocation and identify vital savings for stretched public budgets. 

An IoT trial was conducted with social housing provider, Cross Keys Homes. The Future Peterborough team worked closely with the landlord to put together use cases for smart technology to improve resident wellbeing and reduce unnecessary costs. An IoT trial was conducted with CityFibre and Comms 365, installing sensors that would monitor humidity, condensation, heat and noise, as well as alerting staff to illegal parking. The findings resulted in serious savings in staff time and maintenance costs for one of the city’s largest social landlords. 

Peterborough was keen to make more data available about the city to residents and businesses. Working in partnership with academic colleagues from Cranfield University, the Future Peterborough programme drew on multiple collected and analysed open datasets to develop a profile for Peterborough on the web-based software platform called Urban Observatory. Urban Observatory is an interactive web-based software platform that allows users to compare and contrast city-oriented maps. It has been developed as an initiative between ESRI, Richard Saul Wurman, and RadicalMedia. Its main aim is to make the world’s (city) data both understandable and useful. The Urban Observatory’s main functions are to compare maps on similar themes from multiple cities and to compare differently themed maps within one city (ESRI et al, 2014).  

If you’d like to discuss the Future Peterborough programme, please email: info@opportunitypeterborough.co.uk