Updated: Mar 18, 2019
Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators provided feedback for the City of Canterbury Bankstown's draft Smart CBCity Roadmap. The Smart CBCity Roadmap will guide the city's efforts for future-focused actions. Read the document here: https://bit.ly/2udNGSd
The submission asked 'what does smart cities mean to you?' and to provide comment on the draft Smart CBCity Roadmap. SCCEI's submission to these questions is below.
What does smart cities mean to you?
A study of the literature reveals numerous definitions of the term ‘smart city’ (Albino et al., 2015). The term has been broadly associated with the narratives of technology, connectivity, sustainability, efficiency, human capital, and governance. These narratives have been emphasised in different ways depending on the term’s application across a growing array of professional and academic disciplines. It is therefore considered that there is no one definition of a smart city, including its tenets, role and attributes.
Taking into consideration the above, Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators (SCCEI) take a broad view of the term and understands that a smart city is an urban area that leverages technology, human capital and governance models to improve the experience for its occupants.
This means that a smart city is one that actively tests, creates and implements new initiatives to improve the quality of life for its occupants, its sustainable growth, governance structures, and built and natural environment.
Albino, Vito & Berardi, Umberto & Dangelico, Rosa. (2015). Smart Cities: Definitions, Dimensions, Performance, and Initiatives. Journal of Urban Technology.
Please provide your comment on the draft Smart CBCity Roadmap
The Smart CBCity Roadmap is aspirational and creates a bold vision for the future of the city, however, it does not sufficiently link these aspirations with the city’s current reality. This disconnect risks alienating the policy from the more ‘on the ground’ Council policies and officers who are tasked with managing the city in the day to day and, perhaps most importantly, may be implementing the Smart CBCity Roadmap. To improve the Smart CBCity Roadmap we propose the following variations.
The section titled ‘What will the future of Canterbury-Bankstown look like?’ requires greater detail on exactly what pressures are facing the city and where and how these pressures will impact it. These details could come from Council’s long-term growth documents for the city and region, forecasts of new technology and demands that are applicable for the city, and local and regional environmental data. These city-specific pressures and their impacts need to be identified early in the policy to enable the document to focus on outcomes that are more meaningful and measurable. The following sections of the policy should refer to these pressures and provide a roadmap to solving them through smart city initiatives. The 12 CBCity Smart Principles are well-informed and show awareness of the many issues and fields that are relevant to a smart city. An important concept to integrate into these principles is the understanding that being ‘smart’ may mean different things to different people and sectors. Being ‘smart’ may also require different complexities and types of technological, human, and governance solutions. The policy should therefore address the variety of expectations and solutions that may be experienced in its delivery.
The Smart Community Strategic Plan identifies the key tranches of smart city sector; people, places, and process; that contribute to creating a smart city. Other tranche classifications to consider are technological, institutional, and human; and Smart Economy, Smart People, Smart Governance, Smart Mobility, Smart Environment, and Smart Living (Giffinger et al., 2007; Nam and Pardo 2011). Depending on the final definition of ‘smart city’ in the policy and the purpose of the document, consideration of these other classifications may be useful.
In regards to the formulation of the new City Smart Team we note that the strategy focuses primarily on the compilation of a senior management team. Alongside these measures we believe that it is important to recognise the innovation contributed by younger professionals within their existing roles at Council or wider community who, as ‘digital natives’, may have very practical ideas about how to deliver better services. It is important to provide opportunities for this type of bottom-up innovation to happen. The proposed community engagement risks being superficial and we recommend further consideration of more horizontal decision making methodologies including co-creation and participatory design.
Finally, we would like to promote the greater use of open source standards and technology as a default position of smart initiatives. With documented failures of previous implementation of ‘mega-tech systems’ in various local governments we believe the industry is moving away from this service model to lightweight, modular systems that can be collaboratively designed. We recommend that Canterbury Bankstown focus on development of any new systems openly and in collaboration with other local authorities to ensure interoperability across Council boundaries in Sydney.
Overall, the policy is well balanced and offers clear direction to the city’s smart city efforts. We encourage the city’s initiatives and wish to be kept updated with its progress.
Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators is an emerging professionals network across Australia and New Zealand in association with Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand. Our vision is to connect and empower emerging innovators to deliver world class leadership for smart cities. You can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giffinger, R., Fertner, C., Kramar, H., Kalasek, R., Pichler N., & Evert Meijers (2007). Smart cities: Ranking of European medium-sized cities. Graz, Austria: Centre of Regional Science, Vienna UT.
Nam, T., & Pardo, T. (2011). Conceptualizing Smart City with Dimensions of Technology, People, and Institutions. Paper presented at the 12th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research, Maryland, USA.