Milton Keynes is a large town (technically – although it is often referred to as a city) in the middle of England with a population of around 230,000. It is a “new town” developed in the Sixties and designed to house the ever-growing London overspill population. From the start it was developed with telecommunications in mind – following a grid pattern based on modern American city planning techniques, and without the traditional “town centre” from which traditional, organically grown cities and towns had naturally evolved.
The idea was that telecommunications would do away with the need for citizens to commute in large numbers into town centres to work, where businesses would be grouped closely together, before returning home to the suburbs in the evenings. Telephones meant businesses could trade without having to meet face-to-face in the local market. This gave rise to out-of-town warehousing and logistics sites on cheaper, undeveloped land with good access to transport infrastructure such as motorways.
By the early 2000s, this idea was still evolving, and the rapid expansion of Internet communications gave rise to the concept of the “smart city”. This involves applying technology, including IT and Big Data principles, to every area of civic life, from waste management to public transport, with the aim of improving the quality of life for the people living there.
Thanks to its great links to other major ...