A blog post from Navigant Research’s Eric Woods notes that Australia is catching up with other Western economies in the pursuit for smart cities.
“Recent U.S. government support for smart cities research and the announcement of the selected cities for the Indian smart city program are just two signs of the continuing momentum behind urban innovation across the globe,” he wrote. “Such developments only increase the pressure on other national governments and city leaders to clarify their own programs and ambitions around urban development. Australia is a good example of how that pressure is hard to avoid.”
According to Woods, Australia is a ripe environment for smart cities because it is one of the most urbanised markets in the world with around 90% of its population living in urban areas.
While Australian cities have so far neglected smart cities, the country is definitely catching up quickly, Woods noted. Cities such as Newcastle has already recognised the concept of smart cities with its smart grid project while Sydney and Melbourne are now adopting energy management and measurement initiatives. Melbourne has even appointed a chief digital officer to lead its smart city plans and presented those plans to the Australian parliament, Woods continued.
“The federal government is also taking cities more seriously. The new prime minister appointed the first Minister for Cities and the Built Environment in September, reversing the lack of focus on urban development issues shown by the current government so far,” Woods said. “Australian cities have the opportunity to pick up the baton and show there is a better way forward.”