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Smart Cities - Sustainability and Best Practice

Unit(s) of assessment: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning

Research theme: Sustainable Futures

School: School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment


Local authorities cannot afford to tackle climate change alone

In the context of sustainable “Smart Cities”, many local authorities need to innovate in order to better integrate the functions of their city – low-carbon transport, the built environment, and information and communications technology (ICT) systems. It would be prohibitively expensive for individual cities to pilot each development, so they must learn from one another. However, there are no mechanisms in place to allow the sharing of best practice in these and other areas.

Addressing the Challenge

Learning to share best practices

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) researchers are working with local authorities to develop methods and processes in leadership and management. These models of inter-city learning encourage the sharing of best practice, and the methodology is being tested in five EU cities.


A European Enterprise

Dr Muhammad Mazhar is supporting this work at NTU. This is funded through the EU’s REMOURBAN Smart Cities research project, a partnership between the municipalities of Nottingham (UK), Valladolid (Spain) and Tepebaşı (Turkey). Five more cities are piloting the best-practice sharing models to learn from the experience of the first three: Seraing (Belgium), Miskolc (Hungary), Oxford (UK), Kadıköy (Turkey), and Segovia (Spain).

Making a Difference

Leading by examples - reducing carbon emissions

In the UK, NTU is leading the development of the methodologies while Oxford pilots the methods. Representatives visited Nottingham in 2017, led by the councillor who is their head of sustainability.

They came to learn from Nottingham on how to invest in and scale-up the low-carbon retrofitting of housing stock.  Houses are responsible for 20 to 25% of a city’s carbon emissions, and the aim is to reduce that by 80% before 2050.

Thanks to its ongoing innovations, Nottingham is expected to meet that target much earlier.