Developers play critical role building world-class Smart Cities across Australia
Any of us who has sat in gridlocked traffic on our way to the airport, faced a long train commute between home and work, and regularly struggles to find innovative young talent to employ, is unlikely to question the need for smarter cities.
Australia needs cities – both metropolitan and regional – that are productive, accessible, liveable and sustainable. We need our universities and industries to be able to attract and retain world-class talent. We need our people to have affordable housing that doesn’t demand they spend hours commuting to work so that their families become fractured. We need businesses to have access to world class infrastructure and the opportunity to cluster, collaborate, co-locate and grow.
Exactly why we need that was spelled out eloquently in the Federal Government’s National Smart Cities Plan designed to position Australia for success in the 21st century global economy. That plan explores new ways in which Governments (both Federal and State/Territory) and the private sector can work together to unlock the value proposition of smart cities.
New planning, new financing, new thinking – all play a role in creating the development foundations for a smarter, brighter and environmentally sustainable future.
The Federal Government’s investment in the National Broadband Network is establishing important communications infrastructure that will allow smart cities to evolve outside the capital cities, leveraging more affordable land and regional universities for talent and innovation. The NBN also forms the national communication fabric linking smart devices and sensors that can be used to optimise traffic flow, and provide the insights for better, evidence based decision making in both the public and private sectors.
The Commonwealth has also committed $50 billion to land transport projects, essentially creating new development corridors so essential to the success and sustainability of smart cities. This investment is critical if Sydney is to realise its ambition to become a “30 minute”, and Melbourne a “20 minute” smart city – where access from home to schools, universities, work and critical amenity is within that commute radius.
While Government may propose and foster the frameworks for smart cities, the foundations will be laid by developers. Access to more up to date and granular data and clarity regarding Government investment initiatives is allowing developers to plan where and how to invest, and the sort of housing and commercial stock that will meet smart city needs now and in the future.
Savvy developers seek out partners prepared to create innovative funding models that treat funding as a long term and important investment in the future. They work closely with governments prepared to innovate on developer charges, stamp duty, land tax and local rates in order to liberate smart city value for future generations.
They collect and access new data reserves to get a better understanding of where to locate new developments, and how to deploy technology so that new housing estates or business parks operate efficiently and sustainably.
There is no reason why Australia and Australian developers should not achieve world best practice in smart cities, learning from global initiatives such as the UK’s newly released Environmental Industries Commission platform that shares best practice from around the world, connects people, promotes collaboration, and provides intelligence and leadership on how the smart city of the future will evolve.
Opportunity abounds for savvy developers to carve out their place in creating the smart cities of the future, ensuring Australia’s continued success in the global economy.