Planning for Smart Cities

OpEd – Chris Hanger (Chief Executive Officer Greater Cities Commission)

Smart cities improve the way we live, work and play by empowering communities through personalised data, technology and information. Responsive lighting, waste management sensors and real-time traffic light systems are a few examples of the technological solutions that reduce pollution and traffic congestion and make cities safer, more inclusive and enjoyable.

The city of Zurich demonstrates what might be possible, with ‘smart streetlights’ that only illuminate when necessary. They supply power to electric cars, collect environmental data, measure the flow of traffic and act as a public Wi-Fi antenna – enabling energy savings of up to 70%.

In recognition of the growing relevance of smart cities, the NSW Smart Places Customer Charter has been established to protect and promote data, transparency, accessibility and equity in smart places.

As a key player in the coordination of public spaces and infrastructure, the Greater Cities Commission is trialling technological solutions to lessen the effect of urban heat in new and existing buildings in the Westmead Health and Innovation District. This includes using smart sensors, the Internet of Things and mobile applications to reduce heat and create a more climate-responsive city.

The digital divide is the key barrier to the development of smart cities. According to the Digital Inclusion Index, 11% of the Australian population are highly digitally excluded.

The Commission is collaborating with communities and all levels of government to drive equitable digital access across our multi-city region to ensure that everyone benefits from smart cities.

Chris Hanger
Chief Executive Officer
Greater Cities Commission

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