Smart cities are THE two words on the radar of every planner, policy maker, designer, urban strategist, digital specialist, builder, owner, operator and investor!
I asked a handful of leading industry voices in the cities space the following question:
There is a justifiable focus on Smart Cities at present. Smart cities ought to support smart citizens – how might we assist that?
Executive Director at Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand
“The smart city catalyses more meaningful citizen engagement, greater productivity, enhanced competitiveness, higher citizen satisfaction, and costs less. The smart city is all about people – always has been and always will be.
Unfortunately, the past has shown we drifted off-topic at times, but this is undergoing correction. The emergence of local government as the primary platform for smart cities enablement demonstrates this, with smart cities solutions providers more finely attuned to the needs of citizens now more than ever.”
Follow Adam @adambeckurban. He is a huge advocate of sustainable cities and is currently spearheading a project to develop a code for smart communities. The code will ultimately “be a voluntary reference guide for urban development projects, helping them frame their approach to embracing technology, data and intelligent design to accelerate the best possible sustainability outcomes.” Said Adam.
CEO at Consult Australia
"Smart Cities ought not just support smart citizens – they will require them as part of their fundamental fabric. In the same way that a 5 star green star building can be undone by a “2 star” tenant, any city will only optimise it’s functionality and liveability through the active engagement of its people.
This is why it is imperative that we involve the broader community in an ongoing conversation about the built environment and the city building agenda. It will only be through a truly collaborative approach that the cities of the future will fulfil their smart destiny.”
Follow Megan @meganmotto. Megan is one of the leading voices in the professional services arena, and is a highly sought after contributor to public policy. Her strong agenda around sustainability, diversity leadership, infrastructure financing and government reform saw her named in the top 100 women of influence.
Cities Strategies Executive, Arup and former Member of Parliament
“The Smartest of Cities will be more inclusive … Applying Smart technologies through extensive collaboration, carefully considering context, and methodically finding solutions to the complex challenges of the Contemporary City.”
Follow Justin @JMadden2015. Now working with leading design firm Arup, Justin plays a key role in Arup’s cities strategy, leading the city operations portfolio. He often tweets about the latest trends and developments in strategic project planning and infrastructure development in Australia. His 15 years in the Victoria State Parliament, his former life as a 332 game AFL player, and his background as a registered architect keep his finger in the pulse in many other areas too.
“As we now look back on 20th Century urban planning, we can see that in many ways we did more harm than good. The major criticism is that we forgot about people, instead prioritising roads, automotive transport and iconic buildings.
As we dawn on a new century of planning, Smart Cities offers enormous opportunity but risks making the same mistake. In the rush to automate our cities with a host of IoT and interoperable platforms, we risk focusing on street lights and air conditioning and missing the point: creating places for people. There is a lot of data about 'things', and this is important. There is also enormous amounts of big data about people. This data offers the opportunity to gain local community insights, aspirations and behaviours in ways previously unthought-of of. It also allows the capacity to evaluate impact and track changes in use over time.”
Follow Lucinda @lucindahartley An award wining designer, Lucinda is passionate about cities and developing new approaches to urban revitalisation that are faster, cheaper and more fun.
Leadership Adviser, Advocate & Counsel
“Having taken an interest in companies delivering ‘smart cities’ solutions (through the Australian Leadership Project), there is a great emphasis on the internet of things, big data, machine learning, AI but not enough focus on leadership, trust and people.
We need more conversations and more focus on the positive stories of leadership, success and empathy in our cities. The conventional media focus more and more on delivering misery through the news and fiction. It is my mission is to give smart citizens greater access to the good stories of leadership at every level of Australian society. We can achieve this – in part - through collaborating with wise and passionate people, those working to improve our government and business leadership. Through this collaboration, this sharing of leadership stories, we can support those smart citizen leaders we wish to empower.”
Follow Victor @victorperton. Leadership – and improving leadership - in Australia is at the core of Victor’s current focus. Through his Australian Leadership Project, he is uncovering the stories of great leadership in this country.
Strategy, management and policy professional providing leadership to support better community and urban outcomes
“Making everyday tasks and processes in our cities more efficient can give citizens more time and capacity to focus on more productive and high order aspects of life. That said, it is important that people maintain the ability to function in no-tech environments, with Smart Cities becoming an enabler for a better life, not a replacement of life. Creating "smart but ambidextrous” citizens should be a focus in developing Smart Cities.”
Follow Kirsty @kkplanner. Kirsty facilitates change to create a good life and a better future for urban communities.
Chief Executive Officer at Moreland Energy Foundation
“The linking of traditional systems such as energy, transport and technology in cities creates an exciting future. Our challenge is to do this a socially and environmentally just and fair way and not forget our regions.”
Follow Alison @AlisonRoweAU. Her finger is well and truly on the smart cities pulse, thanks to her many hats including Chairwoman of Future Business Council, Advisory Board of Climate Alliance, CEO of Moreland Energy Foundation- a Melbourne-based organisation with a unique pedigree in community solar and social impact activity.
Organisation catalyst, urban strategist
“I believe there is a real issue around learned helplessness that pervades so much of the way we live. Life is just so complicated that people become overloaded and retreat into trivia. A smart city needs to empower its citizens so that they can engage effectively in the life of the city. Doing this will help drive helpful rather than unhelpful involvement.
This points to personal engagement of smart citizens with their (broadly defined) environment; smart cities need to give a good deal of attention to the processes and infrastructure that allow this engagement to occur effectively.”
Follow Andrew @MelbourneWisdom. He brings a unique perspective to cities, through helping individuals, organisations, project teams and groups of people look afresh at the opportunities in front of them and grasp them in ways that in many cases surprise them.
Principal Advisor – Smart Cities, SMEC
"Australian cities are some of the most liveable in the world - but based on huge per capita resource consumption - that's not smart given what we know about the ecological and climate change pressures facing the world today.
Smart Cities need to help our citizens break the clear nexus between liveability and resource consumption. Being smart will mean we embrace and deploy rapidly advancing technologies to become increasingly efficient and effective in delivering more sustainable and productive cities whilst enhancing our quality of life.
And prosperity and quality of life needs to be measured, not in what we consume, but in our levels of health and participation in the cultural life as well as productivity of our communities, in our appreciation of the wonders of nature and society and how we look after each other - that would be a whole lot smarter.”
Follow Dorte @EkelundDorte for terrific insights into topics including urban and regional planning, environment, water, climate change and smart, sustainable, prosperous cities.
Director of Innergise
“Smart cities must deploy technology to first-and-foremost meet social needs, providing for inclusive growth where all sectors of society participate in growing prosperity. We would be well-served to make unmet social needs more transparent so that govt and non-govt organisations can act and collaborate to meet those needs in novel and profitable ways.
Technology and financing issues are relatively easy to solve if they are geared into city solutions that people love and want to pay for.
Our education system needs modernisation to avoid competitive threats and produce the smart people we need … and leadership is required from non-government sectors (private, community and NFP sectors) to inspire new solutions and generate competitive spirits to emulate, and in the process create waves that politicians can ride.”
Follow Nick via linkedIN. Nick resolves complex problems to create vibrant communities and organisations and he is a regular contributor to Innergise’s blog site. Read his recent blog article which was inspired by the the question posed to him for this article!