London mayor sets out to make UK capital the world's smartest city
- At the start of London Tech Week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced plans to make United Kingdom's capital the world's leading smart city and tackle global problems like climate change, as reported by City A.M. and various other media outlets.
- Khan also unveiled a new £1.6 million ($2 million) incubator called Better Futures that will focus on green technology and help 100 small businesses in London make and deliver products to tackle problems that arise from climate change.
- Plexal, a new "innovation destination for entrepreneurs and corporations to build business that improves lives" in East London, was also opened during London Tech Week.
Despite Brexit, Khan said in his speech that London will keep its global competitiveness and continue to be a leader of innovation. Since the Brexit vote, London has attracted more than £1 billion in capital investments from technology companies likes Facebook, Google and Apple. According to a 2016 report by IESE Centre for Globalisation and Strategy, London is Europe’s leading smart city and is second only to New York for global rankings.
The snap election, called by Prime Minister Theresa May, has thrown U.K. parliamentary politics into chaos. In that chaos, it's become unclear just how committed to exiting the European Union the United Kingdom can be, and whether May, who many have called on to resign, still has the political capital to negotiate her country out of the union.
If the U.K. remains a part of the E.U., it would spell good news for Khan and London in terms of keeping the capital a leading smart city. It wouldn't need to renegotiate access to European trade markets and trade deals, giving the island nation — and London — a leg up in recruiting talent from the mainland.