A living smart and circular urban laboratory

City Award Winner
2015 World Smart City Awards


Peterborough, one of the 4 UK Future City Demonstrators, aspires to become the UK Environment Capital and its first Circular City. Its smart city Programme Peterborough DNA runs since 2013 to implement its Growth, Innovation and Sustainability interlinked end-goals through bottom-up collaborations.

As a UK Future City Demonstrator, Peterborough, through our Smart City programme Peterborough DNA - is creating a step-change in how the city works, delivering integration and synergies between partners to make urban systems more effective. Our ambition to become a Circular City demonstrates our innovative thinking. Our work reflects the integrated nature of Peterborough's assets, and provides a linking and holistic mechanism for mutual and exponential benefit for all in the city.

The starting point was to assess the key challenges the city faces and embed long-term change by working from the inside out. Two priorities are central to Peterborough's approach – integration and grassroots collaboration. Effective human interaction complements the power of data and information and all initiatives work together to empower our residents and businesses, thus sustaining the change. It enables the city to think creatively and take risks. It has accelerated a broader understanding of how different sectors can work together and focus their efforts to reach the fundamental goal of growth, innovation and sustainability.

The programme focuses on delivering what people wants through four interlinked strands of activity: Living Data; Innovation; Smart Businesses; Skills for our Future. Some example of delivered outputs: Brainwave and Smart Fengate provide online intelligent matching services.

Brainwave offers an open forum where challenges can be shared and solutions found, giving entrepreneurs, experts and innovative businesses a platform to put forward their solutions to city-scale challenges. Smart Businesses trials the sharing economy concept at a community of businesses level. It offers to share services and under-used goods locally, with businesses sharing Products, Places and People. It has already diverted a stream of waste out of landfill and transformed it into a stream of resource for a local start-up with social and gender focus.

To value the potential of the city's young people, we created Smart Supper's where school teams present their business ideas for solving city challenges to a paying audience of 60+ people. A series of hackathons and the current installation of weather stations across the city are feeding our Open Data objective and trigger community participation.



Peterborough City Council,
Public Administration

United Kingdom


Peterborough DNA generates new partnerships and ways of thinking and doing amongst its residents, bring together diverse stakeholders and built strong economic and social ties. We are already empowering our citizens to collectively create and own a future-proof city with low environmental impact.


Built on our city specific challenges, Peterborough has developed a comprehensive feasibility study with its public, private and third sector to impartially assess its smart programme, and transparently monitor and display its results since 2012. It is available online – see our references.

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