Glasgow is Going to Be the UK's Smartest City (Updated)

By Chris Mills on at

Normally, when someone says 'Glasgow', you don't instantly think "smart city at the cutting edge of connected services and consumer technology". (I'll leave what really pops into people's minds to the imagination.) The government, however, wants a super-smart Glasgow to be a reality, so they're pumping in £24m to make it happen.

The money is intended to demonstrate how technology can make cities a better place. In this case, that mostly comes from extending services and making better use of existing data. For example, new apps will be rolled out: a traffic one, with real-time traffic info gleaned from traffic cameras; a live transport app, showing real-time status of buses and trains; and hopefully, an app that monitors footfall and informs shoppers where all the shopping congestion hotspots are.

There's a few other ideas as well, but I can't help but think that this is a bit of a waste of money. I mean, we're not talking any major upgrades here -- for the most part, they're just taking existing services and whacking them into council-built apps. (And I can't help but feel that any app built by a council is going to be badly written and featuring pop-ups every fifteen minutes telling you to take a break from the screen or something.) Why not spend the cash on something genuinely new, like a comprehensive network of electric-vehicle charging points, or hydrogen fuel stations or something. Now that would be visionary. [BBC]

Updated with note from Gizmodo UK Editor Kat Hannaford: This post has been edited since it was originally published, with an (admittedly) clumsily-written sentence referring to councils and their approach to IT as like "trying to polish a deep-fried Scottish turd." We've omitted that sentence, as commenters and readers mistook it as referring to Glasgow as a "deep-fried Scottish turd." (As you can read below, in the comments.)

While we're well within our rights to use comedic license where we sit fit (honestly, you should see some of the jokes we've made about Milton Keynes; Basingstoke, and even London, where the editorial team lives and works), we never meant to offend anyone. But here's something you must understand, if you're to continue reading Giz: We don't claim to be the BBC. We use wit; light-hearted jokes, and occasionally pander to popular notion of a subject, to entertain -- as evidenced in this post's first paragraph, which we haven't edited.

I appreciate not everyone can receive a well-intentioned joke about their city or country (believe me, hailing from Australia, I've had it all -- and chances are, I'm guessing everyone who's up in arms about these comments regarding Glasgow is hardly infallible when it comes to jokes about Australians), but please, put down the pitchforks, and go and watch some old Richard Pryor skits on YouTube or something.