London for smart cities

A billboard that reads "rapid electric charging point, cleaner air for London" and a lorry in the background
As one of the world’s great cities, London has evolved over centuries to deliver the housing, transport and infrastructure it needs. Here are six reasons why urban is thriving in the city.

1. London's ecosystem

Against a global backdrop of accelerating urbanisation and revolutionary digital transformation, the Mayor of London has set out his ambition to make London the world’s smartest city.

The Mayor's Accelerated Green pathway aims to introduce 2.2m heat pumps, a 40% reduction in the total heat demand of buildings and more advanced technology on the journey to net zero by 2030. Meanwhile the city continues to make great strides to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with London reporting the lowest CO2 per capita emmissions of any UK region.

Today, London is already a hub for smart mobility, cleantech, proptech and govtech, with many more opportunities for further cross-sectoral development in this capital of convergence. London is ranked third in Schroders Global Cities Index 2023, behind San Francisco and Boston.[1] 

Just some of the transformation happening across the city includes uninterrupted mobile coverage across the TfL Tube network, a new city data platform and the development of advanced digital infrastructure to further cement London's future as a smart city.

As we plan for our sustainable, connected future, we welcome you to join us on this journey and work with us to build a city as smart as its citizens. London remained the leading hub for tech investment in Europe, attracting $19.8bn in venture capital (VC) funding in 2022. 

2. The future of transport

London is a leader in smart mobility, with an ambitious goal: by 2041, the capital aims for 80% of journeys to be made on foot, on a bicycle or on public transport.[2]

Nearly 27m trips are made every day in London, a figure expected to grow to 33m by 2041. Currently, more than half of these trips are made by public transport, cycling or on foot. The Mayor’s Transport Strategy outlines Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s vision for a greener London and the policies and actions needed to achieve it.[3]

As of December 2023, London has more than 18.000 electric vehicle (EV) charging points, making up 34.7% of the UK market share.[4]

The city’s transport agency, Transport for London, has a unique and ambitious approach to innovation, as exemplified in the London RoadLab initiative.[5]

London is also home to the Smart Mobility Living Lab (SMLL), a real-world tech-enabled environment for testing and developing future transport and mobility solutions.

3. A cleantech leader with further market potential

The Mayor of London wants to ensure London is a zero-carbon city by 2050.[6] The value of London’s low carbon goods and services sector was worth £39.7bn in 2017/18, having grown by more than 9% over the last two years and expected to continue at more than 7% to 2021/22.[7]

London cleantech saw £1.9bn of venture capital (VC) investment from 2016 to 2021. Over these five years, investment grew 17 times, much faster than the global average.[8]

Further supporting businesses of the future, CleanTech London brings together the community to accelerate innovation and support the growth of the sector in the capital. 

Find out more about London's cleantech sector.

4. Where real estate meets tech

As the largest commercial real estate investment market in the world[9] and home to a globally renowned tech centre, it’s no surprise that London is a hotbed for proptech.

From dedicated accelerators and incubators, such as Pi Labs and Geovation, to London success stories including Zoopla and Purplebricks, the capital is building the foundations for an exciting future.

The Mayor of London has launched the Future Neighbourhoods 2030 funding programme to help London’s most disadvantaged areas define environmental challenges and transition to a low-carbon circular economy.

British households are making more green energy upgrades than ever before according to MCS. On monthly average in 2023, 17,000 households installed solar panels and a further 3,000 households installed heat pumps – up 62% on the previous year.[10]

Find out more about London's proptech sector.

5. Renewable energy

London was ranked in first place on the Global Green Financial Index (GGFI 11) in 2023. In total, there are 217 renewable energy companies in London.[11]

The capital is also home to two renewable energy unicorns in London, Octopus Energy and Newcleo.[12]

London has seen a huge pool of investment in the renewable energy sector with £2.5bn VC investment between 2017 and 2022. This equates to £751m in VC investment across 40 funding rounds in 2022. Newcleo saw the largest investment of 2022 with a £258m early VC round during the month of June.[13]

6. Accessible, responsive, citizen-oriented public services

London is transforming its public services to better meet the needs of its citizens. The city has long been recognised as a leader in mobilising open data for public benefit, as evidenced through the London Datastore and Transport for London’s open data policy.

In 2022, the Mayor of London set a target to supply 100% of TfL energy from renewable sources. This is in addition to 15% of London’s overall energy supply from renewable, local sources by 2030.

All Tube stations and Underground tunnels are set to have internet access by the end of 2024. Transport for London is installing more than 2,000km of cabling in London’s Tube tunnels to provide full fibre connectivity across the city.

The London Office of Technology & Innovation (LOTI) is set to build common capability and drive the opportunity to collaborate and scale digital innovation across the capital’s local authorities.[14]

28 clean energy projects have been funded for 2023/24 by the London Community Energy Fund.[15]

Find out more about sustainable business in London.

London has become a hub for sustainability, as well as innovative startups pioneering the latest in technology, so this makes it a great peer environment and that is why we prefer London as the place to be.
Aarvee Associates

See London's smart city facts

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