Belfast City Council has launched its draft Belfast Urban Innovation Framework 2022-2027.

In 2017, Belfast City Council published its first Smart Belfast Framework: Supporting Urban Innovation. It set out the guiding principles and foundations needed to harness innovation, technology and data science to contribute to the success of the Belfast Agenda, the city’s community plan.

Five years on, and the world is a very different place. The council has refreshed the Belfast Urban Innovation Framework for 2022-2027 (PDF – 1.8MB) to reflect the challenges and opportunities presented by this pandemic era and to incorporate the practice and learning of the past few years.

The ‘Smart Belfast’ framework aims to support innovators from across local industry, our universities and the public sector to work better together in addressing Belfast’s major urban challenges. It also considers how digital innovation can best contribute to the council’s priorities for city growth, economic recovery and our response to climate change, and the growing impact of new technologies on urban policy and planning.

The new urban innovation framework has two key sections:

  1. Urban innovation in the post-Covid world
    This section outlines:

    • Our plans for a Belfast ‘Smart District’ which will enable new technologies to be developed, tested and deployed to help address city challenges
    • How the Smart District will contribute to the new Bolder Vision for our city centre
    • Key thematic areas where digital innovation can offer the most value to the city
    • Seven key ‘enablers’ that are needed to make the Smart District a success.
  2. Enhancing Belfast’s urban innovation ecosystem
    This section outlines:

    • The key drivers of urban innovation
    • Eight underlying supporting ‘pillars’ to maximise urban innovation in Belfast
    • Key tasks that partners need to complete to strengthen these pillars.

Draft framework

Consultation and launch of framework

An eight-week public consultation on the draft Belfast Urban Innovation Framework took place between 18 January and 15 March 2022 to get constructive contributions and feedback from stakeholders and citizens to ensure that the final framework is robust and helps to deliver our city’s urban ambitions.

Thank you to those who took part in our consultation. We plan to launch the final framework in summer 2022.