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[1] 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[2] 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.

[1] https://​cities​.dpmc​.gov​.au/​s​m​a​r​t​-​c​i​t​i​e​s​-plan

[2] www​.sus​tain​ables​martc​i​ties​.org