London demonstrates sustainable city innovations


Heating homes using the River Thames, electric bikes and smart parking bays are some of the innovations being put to the test in London as part of a Europe-wide technology demonstration programme.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, in partnership with the borough of Greenwich, has been chosen to take part in the European Smart Cities and Communities Lighthouse programme,

Initiatives taking place in Greenwich include:

  • Trialling 300 smart parking bays that aim to optimise parking spaces and help drivers find a space quickly and conveniently
  • Testing shared electric bikes to see if these support a shift from private cars, while electric vehicles will be piloted for local deliveries and car sharing
  • Using the River Thames as a renewable energy source to provide affordable heat for local homes
  • Installing solar panels on homes. The supply and demand of energy will be locally managed by energy partners involved in the programme via digital technology.

Similar projects will be put to the test in Milan, Lisbon, Warsaw, Bordeaux and Burgas in Bulgaria.

In London, a partnership has been created to accelerate the urban innovations to market. The partnership includes centres of expertise like the Future Cities Catapult and Imperial College, city network experts like Eurocities, Siemens and a number of engineers, designers, academics and business professionals. Since March 2013, the Smart London Board has worked to help London to integrate opportunities from new digital technologies into the fabric of the city.

Professor David Gann, vice president (development & innovation) at Imperial College London and chairman of the Smart London Board, said: “The Smart Cities and Communities Lighthouse programme provides a great testbed as we endeavour to innovate, harnessing the opportunities of the internet of things and data to sustain the capital’s leading position as the world’s smartest city.”

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