Original Article by Catapult Connected Places

The Connected Places Catapult today, 8th June 2020, announces the appointment of a new chair, Professor Greg Clark CBE. Greg takes on his new role following Terry Hill CBE who is stepping down. A world-renowned authority on urban innovation, future cities and mobility, Greg joins the Connected Places Catapult at a time of demonstrable growth and progressive change accelerated by the global impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. He will serve on a renewable three-year mandate.

Connected Places Catapult is the UK’s centre of excellence for innovation in mobility and the built environment. It was formed by the merger of the Future Cities Catapult and the Transport Systems Catapult in April 2019 to grow UK businesses and accelerate smarter living and travelling in and between the places of tomorrow. It operates at the intersection between public and private sectors and between local government and transport authorities to help shape infrastructure investments, driving innovation and generating new commercial opportunities for UK Plc at home and abroad.

CEO of Connected Places Catapult, Nicola Yates OBE said “On behalf the staff, the Senior Team, and myself, we wish to thank Terry Hill for his dedicated leadership and service to CPC. With our refreshed strategy and working agreement with Innovate UK in place, we are ready to start a new chapter in the life of our organisation. We want to welcome Greg and the other new Board Members who will join shortly as we redouble our efforts to support UK businesses and pioneering places address the opportunities for innovation the current moment brings.”

Prof Greg Clark CBE said “I am delighted to join Connected Places Catapult at this important time. COVID-19 has been a tragedy for our society and a major shock for our economy, but it can also propel us forwards by encouraging the adoption of new modes and patterns of travel, as well as more efficient ways to use buildings and deliver urban services and public spaces”.

Sir Mark Walport, Chairman and CEO of UK Research and Innovation added “I thank Terry Hill for his superb leadership of Connected Places Catapult, and welcome Greg Clark as the new chair. Connected Places Catapult provides the centre of excellence in technology innovation and systems decarbonisation that our mobility industries and cities need to raise the bar for the whole of the UK and increase our trade with the world.”

Terry Hill commented, “I leave Connected Places Catapult in good health and in good hands.” He continues “It has been a great honour to serve as chair of both the Transport Systems Catapult and the Connected Places Catapult. We have delivered an effective merger that is now ready to bear fruit. Our built environment and transport systems are critical to how we recover from COVID-19 and rebuild momentum. I wish the new chair every success.”

Clark works with HSBC as a global executive leading their work on cities and mobility and with TFL as a non-exec board member. Both organisations welcomed the appointment.

Mark Tucker, Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings and ChairmanTheCityUK said “I am delighted to congratulate CPC on making the appointment of Prof Greg Clark as their Chair. Cities are the frontier in the drive for innovation and sustainability, and the UK can be the global leader by building dynamic partnerships between business, finance, science and government.”

Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor of London and Deputy Chair of TfL added “The UK needs to be a leader in 21st Century Transport systems just as we were in the 19th Century. Using new technologies to increase passenger satisfaction, reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and make shared transport safe for the riding public, requires us to adopt new business models and embrace collaboration.” 

The appointment has been welcomed by cities from across the UK including Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader, City of Manchester commented: “I am delighted to welcome this appointment. UK cities increasingly recognise the need to integrate transport and mobility with placemaking and city life. COVID-19 will require us to risk assure our cities and transport systems in new ways if we are win bac the confidence of the public. One way we can do that is to embrace new technologies to provide much better public information  about what is being done to keep people safe and to offer them clear choices about how to travel and to enjoy our cities.” 

Cllr Susan Aitken, Leader, Glasgow City Council, who will host COP26 meeting next year stated: “The City of Glasgow is working closely with Connected Places Catapult and Energy Systems Catapult to create a pioneering integrated plan for land, buildings, mobility, and services that will drive our path to net zero carbon by 2030. We will launch this plan at COP26 in 2021. I am delighted to welcome Greg Clark to his new role as chair of Connected Places Catapult. Greg has been an active friend for Glasgow for several decades and will bring great commitment to this important venture.”  

Dr Paul Orders, CEO, City & County of Cardiff remarked on how essential it is to resolve coordination problems in cities and how important transport is in making that possible: “Following numerous attempts at establishing a vehicle for the city-region, the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal established for the first time a formal governance structure for the ten local authorities. In partnership with the UK and Welsh Government, the City Deal kick-started investment in a new metro transport system and an integrated approach to innovation and economic development underpinned by a £1.2bn investment fund. Prof Greg Clark chaired the Growth and Competitiveness Commission that established the principles of the collaboration, bringing together a shared vision that required his unique skills to navigate and untangle the complex web of regional stakeholder interests. We are delighted to see him take on this new role for the UK.”

Suzanne Wylie, Chief Executive, Belfast City Council recognised the key role of technology in improving city finances:  “The City of Belfast worked with Connected Places Catapult to generate a new system that has dramatically improved our ability to track and collect business rates. For all UK cities moving towards greater financial self-reliance the ability to utilise new technology systems that capture the dynamics changes in business activities and the multiple functions of premises and other locations is key to fair taxation of activity. We ae delighted to see Greg Clark appointed to the role of chair of Connected Places Catapult. Greg led several OECD reviews of Belfast over the past 20 years that have guided our progress.”   

The new appointment has also been welcomed by key national and international stakeholders in the connected places market.


A new chapter for Connected Places Catapult and the connected places market

The arrival of Professor Clark marks the start of a new chapter for the Connected Places Catapult.  Even before the advent of COVID-19, the Connected Places Catapult had identified two key priorities for their work: to ensure that wider use of new technologies accelerating the path to zero carbon buildings and transportation in the UK, and the drive to level up the economic performance across all parts of the country.

COVID-19 has accelerated both the opportunity and the imperative to deliver those strategic goals. For example, it has instigated an immediate shift towards remote working which could transform the geography of labour and housing markets, potentially reducing congestion in the big cities and creating new opportunities for different parts of the country to attract or retain workers. Technology will play key roles in supporting and incentivising these new behaviours. Coupled with wider decarbonisation in the production of energy, food, construction materials, and consumer products through circularisation processes, these have the potential to support a better distribution of prosperity at the same time as reducing carbon emissions.

As Professor Clark says: “If we get this right, we can fashion a better spread of economic activity around our country, and we can reduce our carbon emissions at the same time. This requires new enterprises, and reformed business models, and Connected Places Catapult is here to help spark and nurture those changes, to write a new chapter for better connected places. I wish to thank Terry Hill for his exceptional leadership and continued gracious advice”.

The experience of COVID-19 and social distancing has also stimulated changes in the way people and goods travel, with implications for the planning and management of transport networks, new mobility services, and supply chains. Enabling safe, socially distant mobility is an immediate need. Longer-term, the trend towards shorter supply chains and reshoring of vital manufacturing roles, will demand an expansion of the connections between cities and regions, allowing new patterns of trade and productivity. Delivering such changes while reducing our collective environmental impact will involve progressively greater use of next generation technologies such as satellites, robots and new aviation models, as well as widespread adoption of system improvements like integrated payments, smarter traveller data, mobility-as-a-service networks, and dynamic road user charging.

At a time of unprecedented change to our society and the way we live, Connected Places Catapult looks forward to the next chapter and will help to pave the way for a better tomorrow.

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