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Future places

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sponsored by Future Cites Catapult

Winner: Barnsley MBC – TechTown Barnsley

TechTown is a local stakeholder group that has become a source of action and energy for Barnsley’s ambitious plans to develop more digital jobs and businesses and develop a digital-first culture and infrastructure. The local group was formed as part of the URBACT-funded TechTown Action Planning Network, which Barnsley MBC has led via its Digital Media Centre and Enterprising Barnsley team for the past three years. This network comprises 11 small and medium-sized cities, led by Barnsley, all wanting to develop action plans to grow digital jobs and businesses. 

Judges’ comments: A great story that shows what can be done to transform a post-manufacturing landscape by bringing together local people, European learning and technology partners. The journey from coal to code is in great shape. We liked the clarity of getting on with it rather than spending a huge amount of time creating strategy; nevertheless the actions are very strategic.

This great start should now become the foundation stone of a broader plan. We appreciated the learning from European partners. This learning from doing approach should be embedded for it to build on success. It is great that local businesses are growing, and that young people are getting hands-on with technology.

future cities

future cities

A word from the award’s sponsor

Backed by the UK government, Future Cities Catapult helps UK firms develop and sell innovative products and services to meet the changing needs of cities.

As cities around the world grow, solutions are required to tackle productivity-sapping congestion, unlock space for housing, improve the efficiency of public services, and create inclusive urban environments that allow all citizens to participate, contribute and flourish.

We help cities articulate these needs to the market, and we work with suppliers to respond to them. We develop ambitious, impactful projects that leverage our established strength as a neutral convenor. Engaging academic leaders to translate the latest R&D into applications, we encourage creative disruption in services and systems overdue for innovative transformation.

In short, we are dismantling barriers such that cities can harness the rapidly emerging benefits of data and technology to increase efficiencies in their organisation, unlock new economic prosperity and improve the quality of city life.


Greenwich LBC: A demonstrator for future urban living

Merton LBC: Rediscover Mitcham

Shropshire Council: The Broseley Project


Neil McInroy, chief executive, CLES

Alison Mckenzie-Folan, deputy chief executive, Wigan MBC

Denise Park, deputy chief executive, Blackburn with Darwen BC

Max Wide, associate director, Future Cities Catapult

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