Belfast Urban Innovation Framework 2022-2027

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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 to reflect the challenges and opportunities presented by this pandemic era and to incorporate the practice and learning of the past few years.

The framework 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.

This framework is the product of a series of extensive engagement activities with stakeholders and a review of global best practice research over the past 12 months.

We ran a public consultation on the framework from 18 January to 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.

We aim to publish the final framework in May 2022.




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 to reflect the challenges and opportunities presented by this pandemic era and to incorporate the practice and learning of the past few years.

The framework 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.

This framework is the product of a series of extensive engagement activities with stakeholders and a review of global best practice research over the past 12 months.

We ran a public consultation on the framework from 18 January to 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.

We aim to publish the final framework in May 2022.




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    CLOSED: This ideas has concluded.

    Share your ideas on potential projects that could be developed in the Belfast Smart District.

    Our aim is to develop projects through a co-design process with partners shaped by the following criteria:

    • The project should contribute to the aims of the Bolder Vision for Belfast.
    • The project should be ‘challenge-led’, addressing issues where digital innovation can make a significant contribution.
    • The project should have the potential for replication elsewhere in the city and region.
    • The project should require a collaborative approach with private, public and academic innovators.
    • The project should be able to demonstrate a route to commercialisation or contribute to city’s wider economic objectives.
    View All Ideas
Page last updated: 16 Mar 2022, 01:34 PM