Academics at the University of St Andrews are creating an innovative simulated model of a virtual city, which will be trailed nationally and internationally as the ‘ideal city’.
The model is being created as part of a three-year research programme being run by the University’s Department of Management and Aberdeen-based research consultancy, BusinessLab.
Both partners are involved with the e City Network, a collaborative project involving Scotland’s five major cities (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness), which explores how the best of the digital age can improve efficiency and collaboration between Scottish cities. The creation of the ‘virtual city’ is one of the main projects being undertaken as part of the three-year e City Network scheme, which was launched last year.
The idea of creating a simulated city to which the major Scottish cities should aspire to, was created at St Andrews by students on the Department’s successful Scenario Thinking course who were set projects based on the e City Network.
Professor McKiernan, Professor of Management at the University and member of the e-City Network management team, said:
“We set some senior students to work on the e City network scheme and came to the absolutely fundamental conclusion that there should be a league table to compare the performance of cities in various areas.
“Arising from this came the idea of creating a ‘virtual city’, using the latest demographic, educational, infrastructure and social trends.”
Professor McKiernan, an expert in strategic management and strategic foresight, believes that the project could have an impact internationally, as the way the five cities are working together has already stimulated interest abroad.
“I think there could be a next phase, backed by European money, which could see other countries involved,” he said.
Andrew Macias, a PhD student who has been working on the simulated city, said:
‘What we are doing is creating an ideal city, taking the best from cities around the World, like Barcelona in Spain and Baden in Germany.’
‘One city might be more innovative, another more creative, while others would have excellent transport facilities or have the best economic development record.’
‘Maybe now we think we have created the ideal city, but it will change in two or three months as cities in other countries change their strategies. Our ideal city will keep evolving.’
One of the main aims of the programme is to improve the e- readiness of Scotland’s cities, with the hope of: enhancing inter- city collaboration; improving public-private networking; shared understanding of world-class practices; a higher profile for the five city authorities and a recognised contribution towards a smarter, more successful Scotland.
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