the future of
our smart city
of Sunderland

From glass making and shipbuilding to a world leader in digital technologies, Sunderland has evolved to embrace the knowledge economy via a high proportion of skilled workers across various sector specialisms.

Presently leading the way in numerous research initiatives and with sizeable investment projects already underway, we are proud to be ahead of the curve as we pursue an even brighter future.

With prioritised initiatives spanning our three key themes for a dynamic, healthy and vibrant city; our smart City Plan will build the foundations for our new smart city ecosystem.

Our smart City Plan will empower our citizens, communities and stakeholders by encouraging and enabling their active participation in our transformational journey.

our smart city transition

Transforming our city into a smart city to take on tomorrow’s urban challenges, including: digital transition, transport innovation, housing, health and demographic growth; will ensure that Sunderland achieves a strong local impact, whilst raising our international profile.

We are already a leader in urban innovation through our use of new technologies to stimulate culture, the economy and tourism. As we continue our smart city journey, we will continue to create dynamic opportunities for individuals and business alike.

With great pride in our history and heritage, our extended community resources will build upon our vibrant, diverse cultural and commercial landscape with dynamic, healthy and vibrant opportunities for all.

Sector strengths and employment trends

Back in July 1986, Sunderland cemented its position as a choice location for advanced manufacturing and automotive investors as Nissan became the first Japanese carmaker to set up a production facility in Europe with the opening of its new plant in Sunderland.

Maintaining a leading role internationally in the field of automotive engineering excellence, Sunderland’s vision will see us deliver automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies including autonomous vehicles.

As a centre of excellence for industry 4.0 and influencers in the field of advanced manufacturing, we can unlock the city’s potential and explore diverse platforms for investment and employment.

Home to a rich and vibrant software sector, Sunderland boasts the second fastest growth in digital turnover outside of London.

By building on the strengths and assets we already have, including: advanced manufacturing expertise, cutting-edge digital proficiencies, thriving port, contact centres and dynamic creative industries alongside a growing cultural hotbed of leisure and entertainment attractions; we can improve social, health, work and cultural outcomes for our smart city.

With our revolutionary outlook of a vibrant city centre, attractive to new residents and investors, we facilitate not only the growth of existing businesses, but also ease access for new ventures and business start-ups.

Our established systems accommodate tailored business support and mentoring, whilst facilitating changing employment trends and upskilling needs. In this way we can raise aspirations and change the lives of thousands across our vibrant city.

Education and enrichment

With a realisation of Sunderland as an international destination of choice for education, through leading learning institutions and the prospect of future-ready skills availability, Sunderland can play host to exciting new ventures and experiences for individuals and businesses.

From basic level skills to higher level learning, we have the infrastructure to support individuals to excel and businesses to thrive in a global marketplace.

Investing in digital skills via our education partners, provides a real point of difference for individuals choosing to expand their talent here in the city. For example, Sunderland College specialises in the provision of numerous industry sectors such as, creative industries, health and life sciences, advanced manufacturing and engineering; and prioritises the development and application of digital skills as a key feature across all learning programmes. Digital literacy is also supported through a range of adult courses many of which are delivered in and for the community to maximise accessibility.

Equipping our people with the skills they need to compete and excel is critical to improving their quality of life and future prospects.

Connected communities

Connecting people with social care and support means that patient care, assisted and independent living are prioritised for our communities.

With the deployment of smart homes throughout our neighbourhoods, we have a clear pathway to providing chronic patient management, assisted living, social care support and energy efficiencies for smart living of the future.

Supporting ageing populations whilst nurturing the developing needs of future workforces, means happier, healthier people with improved health and social outcomes.

From a business perspective, the provision of gigabit fibre and 5G connectivity as standard – connecting industries and mobilising people will provide a catalyst for further growth.

Events and lifestyle

Creating a vibrant city centre to grow the 9.2 million visitors that we welcomed to Sunderland in 2018, will attract visitors, businesses and individuals to enjoy enhanced shopping, cultural and leisure experiences.

With our world-class sporting facilities and expertise, we can welcome large events, such as the World Transplant Games and international football matches, as well as numerous cultural opportunities to unite and attract audiences from across the globe.

Attracting and retaining talent into our smart city is crucial to continue our projected growth and to meet the demands of our inward investors. By embedding and promoting positive perceptions of Sunderland, we will drive economic growth, but also importantly instil confidence across the generations from individuals to business leaders.

Our Partners

We work with a number of partners to help deliver Our Smart City.

  • Gentoo logo
  • Northumbrian Water logo
  • Sunderland City Council logo
  • Sunderland College logo
  • University of Sunderland logo