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Australia - Smart Cities and Smart Councils

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Last updated: 21 Jun 2017 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 13

Analyst: Phil Harpur


With most of the population now living in cities, a clear power shift is taking place – from national, state and provincial governments to city governments. It is at a city level that the current international and national problems end, be it climate change, energy issues, migrants and refugees, affordable housing, traffic congestion or job creation.

It is clear that in order to facilitate these massive changes cities and communities will have to reinvent themselves.

While on a national level many governments find themselves gridlocked in partisan politics, local governments generally have a much better working relationship, at both a political and a citizen level.

However, in order to prepare their cities for the future very significant transformations will need to take place before cities are ready for these developments.

Over the last decades many cities have launched so-called smart city projects, but none of these were backed by a strategic smart city plan, and, while most of them were successful, they ended up in ‘death by pilot’.

Over the last few years the leading smart cities have learned from this and they are now putting strategic smart city plans in place. These leading cities, which still constitute a very small fraction of all the cities, also have strong leadership in common – from their mayors in relation to policies, citizens and business engagement, and at a council level from their CEOs, under whose leadership silo-based councils will have to be transformed into smart councils.

With these structures in place those cities are also well-positioned to effectively engage with their citizens. Smart cities will need to be co-created with the citizens at a planning, design and project level.

This report addresses the issues that local councils are facing and signposts the way forward.

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