Long gone are the days when urban planners operated in a vacuum. No longer can a higher authority simply instruct an ‘expert’ to plan a place and expect the community to lump it if they don’t like it.
We’ve also moved past the era of simple consultation. We’ve well and truly woken to the fact that the public must be involved in planning decisions. The community universally expects to be engaged, and consultation requirements are entrenched in public policy for urban planning.
We’re now breaking into a new, post-consultation world where the connectedness of people is entwined with the rising connectedness of things (think refrigerators, televisions, cars, vending machines). In this new world, not only are communities and stakeholders integrally involved in forming urban places, but the city itself – its systems, its infrastructure, its processes – has found its voice.
It’s a new frontier, and we’re only beginning to understand what’s possible. City systems grow more connected every day. They’re telling us ways to better direct resources, optimise traffic flows, manage heat and smog, keep people safer, even empty our bins faster. They can save water and energy, help plan more effective transport options, and manage emergency responses better. The concept of a smart city is about using technology to improve liveability for citizens, and make life easier for authorities and agencies running the show. In a world where almost 70% of us will live in an urban environment by 2050, smart cities will be imperative.
And we’re crossing a horizon where governments are now asking technological and engineering specialists what’s possible. What are our big dreams for the cities we want to live in? What do these innovations look like? What are the solutions that will help us ride the wave into a technologically revolutionised urban future? In Australia, the Federal Government is delivering a $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program as a starting point.
They’ve recently announced the first round of approved grants for projects throughout Australia totalling $27.7 million. Some of the projects include:
Beyond the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, the Australian government has positioned an approach called the ‘City Deal’ as a vehicle to deliver the vision behind their Smart Cities Plan. City Deals are intended as a place-based strategic plan to deliver integrated urban development (including regional cities). Importantly, City Deals are customised to the place they represent, and bring together Federal, State and Local Governments, the community and private enterprises to sign off on how a city will be developed in the smartest way possible.
This means technology and engineering firms who understand what Smart Cities are, what their clients need, and how they can sell their innovations will be at the forefront of spinning the revolution. They need vision, know-how and people-power to deliver the innovations that will build Australia’s Smart Cities. Most importantly, they need to tell – and sell – their story to the right people, at the right place and time, in a way their audience wants to hear it. This is where Struber comes in.
We help shift the future for our clients, grow their market share in new and innovative ways, and connect them with audiences who want to understand what their future looks like. We are riding the Smart Cities wave and we want to take our clients with us.
Visit www.struber.com.au to find out what we can do.