Smart Cardiff and Successful Wales
This Wednesday I attended an event where we undertook work to visualise the future of Cardiff out to 2040. The aim of the workshop was to consider how the current trends and pressures might play out in the future and what decisions we need to make to help us to better manage the city of the future, particularly in the context of rapid population growth and severe financial pressures.
Part of the work involved discussing what liveability really means, what would be the consequences of inaction and understanding how technology and integration of infrastructure could help ensure that Cardiff remains a city that offers the highest quality of life.
A number of speakers, each with expertise in different areas of city management and development, were in attendance, supporting over 50 attendees. For instance, the digital and utilities sectors were represented, as well as transport providers, a range of public service delivery partners and importantly the Youth Council. We were also delighted to have Mark Watts, Executive Director of the international C40 cities share good practice with us.
The adoption of smart technology has the potential to make an important contribution to reducing Cardiff’s carbon footprints, ensuring more efficient use of resources and improving connectivity. All these are important in shaping a liveable city. Many examples of good practices from cities across the UK and internationally were considered and work was agreed to develop some very interesting proposals for Cardiff with key stakeholders like the health board, youth council and Cardiff Business Council. The principles and ideas will also feed into the Cardiff Convention.
Commonwealth Games Homecoming
Following on from Wales’ success at Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, Thursday saw our Welsh Sporting Heroes receive the recognition they deserve at their Homecoming Ceremony. It was a real pleasure to meet some of the extraordinary athletes who have dedicated so much of their team in the pursuit of sporting excellence.
A video package highlighting the efforts of the Welsh team was broadcast on the big screen in Cardiff Bay, and we all listened as we were reminded of the 36 medals- 5 gold, 11 silver and 20 bronze- won by the athletes at the Games. Families, friends and officials were all in attendance, and it was good to see that so many of Cardiff’s residents had made the effort to travel to the Senedd to cheers on Team Wales.
The success of the Games in Scotland demonstrates how important these events are in promoting cities and helping to draw talent and investment into the area. Cardiff’s own track record of success in hosting sporting and cultural events has established the city on the world stage, and we aim to build on this
As I’ve mentioned previously, we are continuing to explore with the Welsh Government and Sport Wales the potential for Wales to bid for a future Commonwealth Games. Wales is also bidding to host the UEFA European Football Championship tournament in 2020. Euro 2020 represents the third largest sporting tournament in the world- after the summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. Becoming a host city would be a huge boost to Cardiff, potentially bringing an estimated benefit of £40m to the city and region economy.
Further Devolution to empower Cardiff
In less than a week’s time Scotland will be going to the polls to make one of the most important decisions in the country’s history. Regardless of the outcome, a further devolution of power and responsibility will follow. So what does this mean for us in Wales?
The RSA’s City Growth Commission recently published a report entitled ‘Powers to Grow: City finance and governance’. The report sets out a case for devolution and the rebalancing of the UK economy away from London and the South East of England in order to make cities more successful.
It’s not hard to understand why. Cities already account for 80% of global GDP and, looking ahead, growth won’t be wholly concentrated in global centres like London and New York, or in the emerging mega-cities of Asia, as many people assume.
In fact, medium sized cities are forecast to generate 19% of all global GDP growth through 2025. Cities like Cardiff.
In Cardiff we have an impressive track record of success. Around 62% of the net new jobs created in the Capital Cardiff Region were created here, in the city. Put simply, for every 3 new jobs created in South East Wales, 2 of them were created in Cardiff.
In a region where far too many people are still suffering from the after-effects of deindustrialisation, Cardiff must be seen not as a competitor for scarce public funding from the Welsh Government, but as an opportunity to draw investment in from outside Wales, to the benefit of Wales.
In England the important role that cities play has been recognised by central government.
City Growth deals worth billions of pounds are being struck between metropolitan business and political leaders and the Treasury. Given the importance of this agenda, we in Wales can’t be left behind.
Best quality of life – Cardiff beats all other major cities
According to the report, based on range of key economic indicators such as; house price growth and rental costs, salaries and disposable income growth, living costs, unemployment rates and “life satisfaction”, Cardiff scored well.
This demonstrates that Cardiff is well positioned to deliver our vision of becoming Europe’s most liveable capital city.