Smart Cities: Will they be smart enough?

Smart Cities need to be sustainable and scalable to be smart enough to become integrated, sharing economies.  They also need to be capable of supporting robust and resilient community ecosystems.



The Australian Government  Smart Cities Plan has 3 pillars

Smart Investment

Smart Investment means:

1. Prioritising projects that meet broader economic objectives

2. Treating infrastructure funding as an investment wherever possible

3. Getting involved early to ensure rigorous planning and business cases

4. Increasing investment

Smart Policy

Smart Policy requires:

1. Delivering ‘City Deals’

2. Leading regulatory reform

3. Measuring success

Smart Technology

Smart Technology means:

1. Thinking of technology solutions first

2. Leveraging open and real time data

3. Driving use of energy efficient technologies

The 3 pillar excerpts above are explained in depth in a download available from the Australian Government’s Smart Cities website where they welcome comment.

Learn more about the Australian Government Plan

The Australian Government wants to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of urban service delivery, infrastructure and planning.  The aim is to improve the liveability of our cities and suburbs.

The question is .. Will this make our Smart Cities smart enough to become sustainable and scalable sharing community ecosystems?

Enabling technology through policy and investment will establish a solid foundation for the Smart Cities plan.  This then presents an opportunity to build on this foundation to establish self-sustaining economically empowered community ecosystems.

Before technology  – B.T. 

Local economies created their own community ecosystems that were heavily reliant on government to support and subsidize. Local media, business leaders and community co-existed and supported each other.

How did they do this?

Local business would leverage local print media to promote their business, brand and influence and leading businesses would in turn subsidize local community, charity and sports.  This simple, yet effective ecosystem reinforced local parochialism and gave communities identity, a sense of belonging and ownership.

This is a very simplistic snapshot of the B.T. ecosystem but it does illustrate that although the local ecosystem had an intra-community support network that offset government dependency it did not create self-sufficiency.  The local economy was still vulnerable and lacking. Technology itself was the disruptor that exposed this.

Post technology  – P.T. 

The local ecosystem has become somewhat disparate as we  have entered into a world where  ‘technology as a solution’ has accelerated and is fast becoming the norm.  This has meant that we now live in an environment of continual change. The consequence of change is a disconnect in the local ecosystem.

The channels that used to be the default to support the local ecosystem now no longer work effectively.  This means the reliance on government funding and grants has become even more of a dependency than it was B.T.  This environment is now, more than ever before, counterproductive to self-sufficiency.

The investment and changes in government policy to embrace technology to realize the opportunity data sharing and delivery presents through the Smart Cities plan is the enabler.

To achieve sustainability as a solution, we must be able to quantify, qualify, and then, contexualise and commercialize shared data.

The ‘missing link’ or ‘fourth pillar’ is a ‘Smart Community’.

When this fourth pillar is integrated into the Smart Cities blueprint you are then able to commercialize validated and contextual data to create self-sufficiency.

The ‘how’ can only happen when the administration of a four pillar Smart City design is altruistic.  The administration body is a facilitator that is independent and impartial for the betterment of the communities it serves holistically.

A ‘Smart Community’ supports and sustains local business, community groups, sporting clubs, charities and nurtures startups.

The notion of  ‘support local first’ in regional towns and cities is not new. The reinvention of what local parochialism looks like and how communities can embrace this in the P.T. world is failing.

The wave of technology and the change it has bought to consumer’s behaviour has eroded our local economy’s resilience.  The sad reality is that a dysfunctional local economy is not cohesive or productive, let alone self-sustaining.

‘Smart Communities”  as a ‘plug-n-play’ into the Smart Cities Plan delivers a:

  • self-sufficient ecosystem
  • sense of belonging
  • shared vision
  • scalable platform
  • viable commercial solution for all stakeholders

How can we make it happen?   If you want to discuss this further please leave a comment below or contact me


Originally posted 2016-10-17 11:03:25.

Please share and like us: