The Sunshine Coast is a metropolitan area that spreads across 2,291 square kilometers of Australia’s coastline about 100 kilometers north of Brisbane. A sub-tropical paradise of beautiful beaches and scenic mountains, the Coast has experienced boom times and almost doubled its population since the 1980s from tourism and retirement relocation, which drove the growth of construction and retailing. But the ebbing of the commodities boom that fueled Australia’s economy has revealed the fragility of the local economy. Population growth has slowed to below the state average and demand for tourist accommodation has fallen year after year, creating an above-average unemployment rate that hits particularly hard on youth.
Speed It Up Program
To help its population overcome these economic challenges, the Sunshine Coast government introduced the “Speed It Up” campaign. The campaign is designed to spread knowledge of the benefits of high-speed Internet access as well as how to obtain it. As part of the campaign, Digital Sunshine Coast has partnered with a variety of telecommunications providers in the area to display coverage maps of business grade broadband availability on its website (digitalsunshinecoast.com.au). The site also provides a free Wi-Fi Locations tool for residents to find sites with public Internet access. Finally, the Digital Sunshine Coast website includes as Want Faster Internet page with a short survey that residents can take to tell the government more about their Internet needs. The website is experiencing an average of 1000 page views per month as of 2016, with hundreds of submissions on the Speed It Up and Want Faster Internet pages. The city council is using the data gathered to negotiate better coverage areas with local telecommunications providers.
Based on the data gathered by the Speed It Up campaign, the city has installed 178 free public Wi-Fi access points throughout the city with a further 187 access points to be finished before the end of 2018. With the new Wi-Fi availability, the Sunshine Coast has set up beacons to provide localized information for the community and visitors, including guided walks and art sculpture and restaurant locations. The free Sunshine Coast Council app allows anyone connected to the public Wi-Fi to access this information as well as pre-order food and drinks at the stadium, book restaurants and obtain event guides. The Council has also developed a disaster hub that may be accessed through the app or via the web to provide safety information, important warnings and breaking news in the event of a local emergency.
Beginning in 2020, the Sunshine Coast will deliver the fastest telecommunications connection to Asia from Australia's east coast and the second fastest to the US through a new 550km submarine optic fibre cable which will connect to the 9600km Japan-Guam-Australia submarine cable. Construction of a cable landing station also began in February 2019 and is due to be completed by the end of June 2019.
Engaging the Next Generation Workforce
As of 2016, the Sunshine Coast has lowered its youth unemployment rate to only 5.4% with a series of programs and initiatives. The city held its first ever Job Show in August 2015, showcasing current and upcoming job vacancies throughout the Sunshine Coast. More than 2000 people participated in the Job Show, including 62 of the Sunshine Coast’s largest public and private sector employers. The Show also featured workshops by industry professionals to educated job seekers about the knowledge and skills they will need to enter those industries.
The Sunshine coast hosted the Future Careers+ 2025 Expo in August 2016 and again in May 2017, providing a wealth of information on careers in technology and innovation as well as the education pathways required for them. More than 60 exhibitors showcased products and prototypes at the expo with 1,600 students, parents and educators attending. After the expo, the Future Careers content was serialized in magazine form and distributed to 60,000 homes in the city.
The city also hosted hosted its first CoderDojo in June of 2014. CoderDojo is a global collaboration that provides free learning to young people, particularly in the area of programming technology. The Sunshine Coast CoderDojo covers a wide variety of topics including basic web, app, and game development. While the first CoderDojo was held at the Institute of Professional Learning, in subsequent years the program has been expanded to three Sunshine Coast libraries due to its popularity.
In addition to training programs, the Sunshine Coast has offered a series of innovation-focused programs over the past several years. These programs include the Mayor’s Telestra Technology Awards, the Startup Weekend for Youth, and the Generation Innovation Challenge. All three programs feature youth entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, providing a platform for students to share their ideas with potential employers across the Sunshine Coast. The Y Shop program is a similar project aimed to help young entrepreneurs create their own businesses. The program offers a series of workshops by local business professionals at many of the cities libraries.
Building an Innovation Hub in Australia
Between 2014 and 2016, the Sunshine Coast has grown from having only one innovation center and public co-working space to seven co-working spaces, a new business incubator and five coding programs. The city council has taken a leading role in digital engagement to make this possible, including setting up the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem mapping project to coordinate and grow the local network of co-working spaces and programs. The map shows budding entrepreneurs where they can find support and resources from the government and business community as they start their businesses and provides an easy way for businesses to communicate and collaborate throughout the region.
The Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre, established in 2002 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of the Sunshine Coast, serves as central hub for startups in the city with dedicated facilities, a prototyping lab, powerful online platforms, grants and seed funding connections and readily available mentors for new startup companies. Over 40 businesses are located at the Innovation Centre as of 2017, and more than 160 have graduated from startup incubator and accelerator programs since the center’s establishment with 89% still operating successfully.
The Sunshine Coast Council has also served as an advocate and facilitator for the Smart City Living Lab and Smart Centre, which is a public shop front in the city. The area serves as a testing ground for Smart City technologies to enhance community education and stimulate ideas on adaptation and growth. The government has provided free Wi-Fi in 82 public areas as part of this effort to help gather data on movements and usage.
The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm
The 15 megawatt Sunshine Coast Solar Farm was completed in 2017, making the Sunshine Coast Council Australia’s first local government to offset 100% of its electricity consumption across all of its facilities and operations with green energy. These facilities include administration buildings, swimming pools, performance venues, community centers, libraries, and recreation facilities throughout the city. The Sunshine Coast Solar Farm is the only city-council-owned solar farm in Queensland and the first grid-connected, utility-scale facility of its kind in Australia. The solar farm is expected to save the city approximately $22 million over the next 30 years due to the council’s lower electricity costs.
The Sunshine Coast expects its population to nearly double again over the next two decades, but that growth will be based on a diversified, digitally-powered economy ready for 21st Century success.
Smart21 2014 | 2015 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019
Like much of the nation, the state of South Australia has long depended on a mix of mining, agriculture and heavy manufacturing to sustain its economy. Today, all three are stagnant or declining in terms of job creation, due to slowing resource exports and the slow collapse of the Australian automobile industry. These global economy trends have put pressure on the small city of Prospect to the east of Adelaide, with its 1.3 million people.
High-Speed Access with NBN
Across Australia, the National Broadband Network Company is rolling out the National Broadband Network (NBN), replacing the old copper wire broadband infrastructure with fiber-optic, fixed wireless and satellite infrastructure that boasts download speeds of up to 100 Mbps. The city of Prospect has partnered with the NBN Company since 2012 to make the transition as seamless as possible and to make certain that all its residents and business owners know about the game-changing network now available to them. To further this effort, the Prospect City Council has posted numerous news articles about making the switch to NBN to its websites. The local magazine and newspaper have also published NBN advertisements aimed at local businesses. The City Council and NBN have held several community sessions at Prospect’s Digital Hub, and an NBN liaison has presented at multiple business networking events in the city to explain the process of switching to NBN.
While educating its citizens about NBN, the city of Prospect has also set up two other broadband projects to bring high-speed NBN access to the general population. The Broadband Cafés project offers public, high-speed Wi-Fi in a variety of cafés throughout the city. These cafés show videos about the project to their customers, which have been very well received; one particular broadband café had has many as 17,000 views since the project began.
The city’s other broadband project is the Public Wi-Fi project, which is currently under construction. The project aims to set up specific geographic zones throughout the city to provide seamless, free high-speed Wi-Fi access to the public. All buildings within the zones will have access to NBN’s 100 Mbps capacity fiber and will use a radio-based mesh network of access points with no connectivity black spots.
Prospect's Digital Economy Strategy
The city of Prospect has worked closely with the federal government and NBN Co to educate and support local businesses as well as residents. Together, they have implemented the “Next Generation” Digital Economy Strategy, which outlines projects and initiatives to encourage outside investment and local business use of digital technology. The city completed stage one of the strategy in 2016, launching the new Network Prospect brand and website (www.networkprospect.com.au) at the annual Tourrific Prospect Street Party. The Network Prospect website serves as a one-stop shop, promoting local businesses, investment opportunities, and economic development initiatives for the whole region. Hundreds of Prospect businesses have signed up for the site’s business directory, creating a network of local businesses with increased visibility to the community and abroad.
To further support the Digital Economic Strategy, the city rolled out Prospect Fast Wi-Fi in 2017. Prospect Fast Wi-Fi is a free public Wi-Fi system with 12 access points and 3 backhaul radio stations that offers some of the fastest free Wi-Fi available in Australia over a 500m area along Prospect Road. Plans are already in place to expand the coverage with an additional 3 access points and one more backhaul radio station, which would provide full coverage to the area around the new cinema development. The city makes anonymous usage data available to local businesses as well to let them track local retail trends.
The Digital Economy Strategy also includes a busy schedule of bi-monthly events geared toward the professional services sector. The events aim to foster local business-to-business transactions, particularly for the many local businesses run from residents’ homes. In addition to networking opportunities, these events provide marketing education and guidance, including search engine optimization and social media training.
The Connected Cities project, proposed by the city of Prospect and the University of Adelaide in 2017 and funded in February 2018, aims to collect data on park usage and movements in Prospect to support future IoT infrastructure. Connected Cities will set up sensors in local parks and connect them to the LoRaWan network to monitor the use and maintenance of city council assets. The sensors will allow the council to understand what is happening in local parks and tailor maintenance to specific need rather than a fixed schedule. In addition, the information will assist the facilities booking system project in finding space and time availability.
Prospect has recently completed a pilot project with ConnectedParks, a local IoT startup to measure footfalls on its main street with sensor technology. Based on this success, Connected cities will also use sensors to track pedestrian movement on mainstreets in Magill and Port Adelaide to provide information to the council, main street committees and local businesses. This will allow businesses to adapt opening hours to foot traffic patterns.
A Collaborative Workspace
With the City Council’s support, a pair of Prospect entrepreneurs has set up a co-working space on Main Street called Little City Studio. Known locally as “a city within a city,” Little City Studio is a collaborative working space for residents who have outgrown their home offices or who want to build networks in a relaxed and affordable environment. Little City resident businesses have access to high-speed broadband, a boardroom, training events, and a Council-sponsored accelerator program.
Little City Studio has been so successful that the space is now full, and the City Council is currently considering plans for a new innovation center incorporating the Prospect Library, the Prospect Community and Civic Centres, and the Digital Hub and Gallery. The Digital Hub program was established in 2013 and funded initially by the Australian government to provide a community-centered technology hub at the Prospect Library. The hub offers a wide variety of free technology courses to residents, educating them in the opportunities provided by NBN broadband. As of August 2016, the Digital Hub has had over 7,300 registered customers.
These programs strengthen Prospect's appeal as a bedroom community for Adelaide while equipping its people and businesses for independent economic success in the digital economy.
In the News
Read the latest updates about Prospect.
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Prospect was featured in the Intelligent Community Forum book Brain Gain.
Smart21 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2017 | 2019
Melbourne is Australia’s second largest municipality and the capital of the state of Victoria. A leading financial center, this city of 130,000 is at the center of a metropolitan area of 4.5 million people and is hub for the Australian film and television industries. In 2016, The Economist named Melbourne as the world’s most livable city for the sixth year in a row.
Filling the Gaps
Australia, however, ranks 48th in the world for the speed and services available over broadband, due to a long history of monopoly and duopoly markets. That has put Melbourne’s people, institutions and businesses at a disadvantage in reaping the economic and social benefits of the digital revolution. As a midsize city, Melbourne has many competing service providers but also significant gaps in coverage outside its central business district. A group of frustrated Internet users teamed with a community-led pilot project in Melbourne to create Lightning Broadband, which uses a mix of optical fiber and wireless to connect high-rise apartments and business customers at 100 Mbps. Rolling out in Melbourne suburbs now, it is targeting a national build-out in areas underserved by private carriers and bypassed by Australia’s National Broadband Network.
The Melbourne metro region is home to hundreds of two-year colleges and more than a dozen universities. Nearly 47% of its population has a graduate or undergraduate degree. City government and nonprofits have therefore targeted programs at segments of the population that are not participating fully in the knowledge economy. Code Like a Girl runs a series of tech-focused events around the city. Targeting females from 13 to 45, events like Creative Coding and The Internet of (Girl) Things teach basic programming skills while awakening girls and women to new career opportunities.
A small-scale program called Life Experience Skills Sharing pairs young people of post-secondary age with socially isolated older people in sessions where the youngsters teach digital skills. While older citizens learn to navigate the digital world, their younger companions gain in self-esteem, empathy and communication skills. The annual Melbourne Knowledge Week Festival, launched in 2010, consists of conferences, workshops and demos that showcase a smart and innovative city and brings the future city to life today.
Two projects, one in production and the other in development, are equipping Melbourne with new innovation districts. The Advanced Manufacturing Precinct at RMIT, a public research university, creates collaborative projects between researchers and industry, and equips them with technology and equipment to speed up prototyping and design of the manufacturing process. Early results include a 3D printed spine implant and an improved car seat for the Tesla Model S.
The Carlton Connect Initiative (CCI) aims to bring together people from diverse disciplines to one precinct, where CCI will create and curate partnerships between research and industry locally, nationally and globally. It has established the Melbourne Accelerator Project, whose 24 startup teams have already created 150 jobs and generated A$10 million in revenue. LAB-14 is CCI’s first small-scale demonstration site, where 270 people are at work on projects from computing through artistic creation. When CCI is complete, it will be Australia’s largest innovation district and home to the Melbourne School of Engineering.
Helping the Homeless Online
Like many successful cities, Melbourne faces sharp increases in its cost of living and a shortage of affordable housing, both of which contribute to the problem of homelessness. Though the city offers a wide range of support services finding is difficult for the homeless because information can be outdated, waiting lists long and the rules complex. Melbourne’s answer is Ask Izzy, a new mobile website that connects the homeless, or those at risk of homelessness, with essential services. Research showed that 80% of people experiencing homelessness in Melbourne own a smartphone. Ask Izzy is a free location-based directory that helps them find food, shelter, health and other critical services. It was developed by a partnership among a Melbourne nonprofit, Google, RealEstate.com.au and News Corp Australia.
Sustaining the Community
Melbourne makes sustainability strategy a community affair. Its Smart Blocks Solar Rebate program helps apartment owners and building managers install solar panels to reduce energy costs. The installation of a solar system on common property requires the owner or executive committee to work together to develop the concept, build a business case, and engage tenants, apartment managers and suppliers. The Smart Blocks program provides advice throughout the process. It had installed 144 KW of solar through the end of 2015 and is saving apartment owners an average of A$25,000 in energy costs per year.
Melbourne’s top score for livability is partly the product of a community plan called Future Melbourne. In 2016, the city began to refresh the plan, renaming it Future Melbourne 2026, through meetings of a Citizen’s Jury made up of residents, workers and business executives. To broaden participation, it created a digital forum called Participate Melbourne, which lets members of the community contribute to decision’s shaping the city’s future. The result has been 970 ideas for projects and a program of events that engaged participation from 2,000 people. Meanwhile, the 250,000 registered users of Participate Melbourne logged more than 50,000 sessions in a single year. Working together, the people, businesses and institutions of Melbourne are building a future that leverages the city’s strengths while working to close the gaps left by the past decade of development.
Intelligent Community of the Year 2017
Smart21 2006 | 2017
In 2011, the city of Ipswich published a 20-year economic development plan for its population of 195,000. It forecast the addition of 292,000 new residents, who will require an additional 120,000 jobs, and will live in a network of distinct communities interwoven with centers of employment, recreational facilities and green space. The plan responded to future challenges but also to past ones. Because Ipswich offered affordable housing and an attractive lifestyle, its population has grown rapidly in the booming economy of 21st Century Australia. Yet the decline of industrial employment in the 70s and 80s had left the city with legacy of long-term unemployment and bred unacceptable levels of crime and social dislocation.
Ipswich has been quick to seize multiple opportunities to carry out the plan. The Australian government’s National Broadband Network (NBN), announced in 2009, opened the possibility of attracting significant investment into the region. Ipswich City Council partnered with surrounding city and regional councils to build a case for NBN rollout of what it termed the Western Corridor National Broadband Network. The governments mapped current and proposed broadband infrastructure, developed joint policies and solicited support from business and industry groups. Their work was rewarded in 2010, when NBN announced that two locations in the region would receive the first deployments of fiber to the premise. Work has progressed rapidly since then with over 39,000 premises now able to connect to the NBN fixed-line high-speed broadband network as of September 2017. Another nearly 34,000 premises are currently in build-commencement for FttN, FttDP, HFC, and Fixed Wireless connections. Ipswich is projected to have 100% city-wide connection by 2019.
A similar strategy has driven 3G and 4G mobile deployment. Governments combined to conduct independent testing of availability throughout the region, which sent testing vehicles across more than 2,300 kilometers of roads. The effort paid off by letting governments bring objective data to their negotiations with carriers about where towers should go to provide the broadest possible coverage. But Ipswich has been as ready to partner with the private sector as to pressure it. Acting as intermediary, Ipswich has coordinated between property developers and NBN to direct NBN investment in conduit to areas where property developers or the city are launching construction, which saves all parties time and money. The Ipswich City Council has simultaneously worked to raise awareness of the NBN deployment within the community by facilitating community education sessions, providing presentations to city stakeholder groups about the benefits and adding NBN construction impacts and rollout timings to Council e-newsletters, social media posts and advertisements. The city’s awareness campaign has already produced results with NBN’s latest report estimating that 51% of premises in Ipswich with NBN fiber connection have opted for the service, well over the state and national averages.
An Innovation Hub
Ipswich faces an unusual growth situation, having both the fastest growing population in Queensland and the youngest on average. This has put pressure on the City Council to ensure many new jobs are available when its young citizens join the workforce. Enter Fire Station 101.
Fire Station 101 is a hub for startups and innovators that provides education, mentoring and even potential funding. The hub has been open since March 2016 as a place where entrepreneurs come to build new ideas around digital technology. By raising the profile of entrepreneurship and innovation in the community, Ipswich aims to foster economic diversification while developing a skilled, knowledge-based workforce and jobs.
And it’s working. Fire Station 101 gained 50 member startups in its first six months of operation and has hosted over 150 startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses as of 2017.
In 2016, the hub began serving as home to Ipswich’s Application Studio. The Application Studio is a formal framework for city service experts, open data analysts, and innovators to collaborate in developing new city services and projects. In its first year, the program has brought in over $190,000 in new public-private funding of projects by the Ipswich City Council, the Queensland State Government, Ipswich and West Moreton Hospital, the University of Southern Queensland, Queensland Urban Utilities and Motor Trade Association Queensland. Due to this success, the Queensland State Government has allocated a further $500,000 for a new Application Studio initiative to build a schools-focused entrepreneurial program and a variety of accelerator programs.
The Ipswich Smart City Program
Building on its first twenty-year plan, the Ipswich City Council has created the Smart City Program. The program has adopted a human-centered design approach, focusing on the needs of citizens, local entrepreneurs, city workers and even tourists. The Smart City Program has three core goals: jobs, growth, and livability for Ipswich.
To meet the goal of jobs, the Council has extended Fire Station 101’s mandate to researching civic challenges in partnership with local industry and universities. Ipswich has also created a Digital Skills Initiative for all Ipswich residents, working with schools and adults in the community. The Digital Skills Initiative includes a wide range of digital skill and technology demonstration classes with many delivered for free in the city’s libraries and innovation hubs. Finally, the Council hosts the Build and Learn Fair, an event that encourages residents and visitors to build and showcase creations like robots and wood works. This event aims to give residents a hands-on experience of the new possibilities available in the Ipswich jobs market.
The City Council has adopted multiple green initiatives to help Ipswich sustain its current and future growth. These initiatives include Eco-Village Micro, a grid program with solar energy, batteries and energy trading technologies currently in development, and also a smart lighting program for the city with LEDs, sensors and data analytics for maximum efficiency. The Council is investigating converting some of its fleet to electric vehicles and is in the trials phase of autonomous public transport for the city.
As part of the Smart City Program, Ipswich has partnered with the Department of Transport and Main Roads to run the Cooperative and Automated Vehicle Initiative (CAVI), Australia’s largest cooperative intelligent transport system program. The initiative focuses on analyzing the safety and benefits of cooperative vehicles, publicly demonstrating the technology to increase awareness and adoption and increasing technological readiness for new vehicle innovations. CAVI’s eventual aim is to facilitate a dedicated study and trial of autonomous electric vehicles for public transport through partnerships between the public and private sector.
To enhance the livability of Ipswich as a city, the Council has adopted the Safe Precinct initiative: leveraging its city network to create a safe precinct via video analytics, smart lighting and noise detection. The Council has also helped to develop a healthy living lab with wearables and other technologies designed to capture real-time data about the health and activity of residents in order to better meet their needs. Perhaps most importantly of all, the Ipswich City Council has created new platforms for delivering its services online, making it easier for citizens to learn about and utilize all the city has to offer.
Beginning in 2015, Ipswich commenced a major redevelopment of its city center, where digital technologies will be used to attract commercial and residential tenants and to improve public safety through video monitoring, license plate and facial recognition software. Green standards will make the city center one of the most sustainable in Australia. When it is completed in 2031, it will mark the emergence of one of the nation’s model cities.
In the News
Read the latest updates about Ipswich.
Smart21 2011 | 2012 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018
Top7 2015 | 2017 | 2018
Gold Coast (a 2008 Smart21) is a regional city, under a single Council, grouping beach towns along 60km of coastline. Once an agricultural economy, it became a tourist haven only to see visits fall following September 11, 2001. Since then, Gold Coast has executed against an ambitious development strategy. A Broadening Broadband project succeeded in extending ADSL service to 80% of the city while planning has begun to develop an open-access FTTP network. The Pacific Innovation Corridor program seeks to build globally competitive businesses throughout the city while the Gold Coast Innovation Center incubates technology start-ups. The Gold Coast Knowledge Precinct is being developed to create, attract and support knowledge-based businesses throughout a 200-hectare area surrounding Griffith University.
Located on Australia's eastern seaboard, Coffs Harbour is a tapestry of mountains, national parks, sandy beaches, quaint villages and marine reserves. Its natural bounty and busy regional airport have made it a highly desirable tourist and retirement destination. They have also granted Coffs Harbour less desirable gifts: a population that skews older than the Australian average and an economy dominated by healthcare, social assistance and seasonal accommodation, food services and retailing. As a result, the city has a markedly smaller proportion of high-income households and higher proportion of low-income households than the Australian average.
In 2009, the Council established a 2030 Strategic Plan, based on yearlong community consultation, to create a more vibrant future for this city on the sea. More than a decade earlier Nineties, Council made the decision to invest in a fiber-optic network to connect all governmental facilities. This proved persuasive to the national government, which named Coffs Harbour as one of 19 second-wave deployment zones for the National Broadband Network. Service to the first 2,600 homes was switched on in February of 2013.
To prepare Coffs Harbour for a broadband future, the community launched a Digital Enterprise program to train local businesses and institutions in digital technologies. It launched pilot programs in telemedicine, with a special focus on at-home care of seniors with chronic health issues. An Innovation Centre opened to provide office space, mentoring and incubation of new businesses, and the city focused on building working partnerships with its university and technical schools to engage students and graduates in local opportunity. It also launched art and cultural festivals that had the dual effect of strengthening the tourist economy while enriching quality of life. These steps are laying an impressive foundation for an economy that attracts and retains creative people and innovative organizations who will build a stronger future.
The third-largest city in the state of Victoria, Ballarat once was a mineral and agricultural boom town, but global market changes decimated its economy in the 1990s and drove unemployment to nearly 20%. In response, city government, community leaders and the state collaborated on a long-term economic development plan focusing on attracting ICT companies, leveraging higher education and fostering digital inclusion. Today, Ballarat has the largest technology park in Australia, home to 30 companies employing 1,400 people. Broadband penetration, at only 53% of homes, is poised to accelerate through early roll-out of Australia’s National Broadband Network. Local ICT champions, working with the city’s universities, have helped spawn a wave of startups and research institutes. The community has also invested in its at-risk youth and indigenous population with specialized training in skills and digital literacy to equip them for success in the new economy.
Armidale, with its population of 25,000, was the first mainland city in Australia to be connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN) and experience the impact of fiber speeds to the premise. That was an impressive achievement for a small city 200 km inland from Australia’s east coast, home to the Intelligent Communities of the Coffs Harbour, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Getting to that point required substantial planning, lobbying and the creation of community-wide collaboration. In 2011, Armidale formed the Digital Economy Implementation Group with representatives from city, state and Federal governments, local technology firms, the local university and technical school, the chamber of commerce and community ambassadors. Through community education and facilitation, the group helped NBN achieve an 80% connection rate to commercial and residential properties.
NBN has allowed Armidale to build a business community that might be expected of a much larger and more central place. It includes WhiteHack, a network security company; RMTek, a cloud services provider to industrial and mining facilities; Quadrant Australia, developer of special interest group travel programs; and Enertek, which brokers green energy solutions. The local school system and university Smart Farm are enthusiast adopters as well, because of high-speed broadband’s ability to bring to Armidale the best of what the world has to offer.
Preparing for a Digital Future
City leaders are determined that NBN make a major contribution to the local economy and quality of life. The city established a Digital Hub providing hands-on access to technology as well as free technology courses, technical advice and digital literacy training. A complementary Digital Enterprise program focused on the small-to-medium enterprise sector with workshops and customized training. More than 6,000 people have received training at the Digital Hub, and Digital Enterprise sessions have attracted 700 local business people. One company benefiting from the technology focus is ICT International. With the city’s help, it won a grant for business expansion and development of a new water-measuring technology that can estimate the total amount of water available in a watershed. The company is now exporting to 45 countries.
Engaging the Community
Community engagement is fundamental to the city’s progress. A community-owned composting system called City to Soil has diverted 60% of municipal waste from the landfill and produces high-quality compost that is sold back to the community. Residential take-up is high enough, at 75%, that Armidale has introduced a commercial version of the service. The city is also engaged in development of a 20-year master plan and invites community participation through a communications program called CREATE 2350. The program posts potential development projects to its Web site and invites comment and suggestions from residents. One example is a proposed A$50 million Airport Precinct Master Plan, which is the subject of online exchange and meetings with Council at locations around Armidale.
By 2035, Armidale will have been a fiber-based community for 20 years, and will be the Australian test case for how small cities in rural locations can build dynamic economies while preserving the quality of life their people treasure.
The best acts of defiance are made in pursuit of a greater good. History is complete with tales of passive resistance, armed rebellions and legends of a person or group of dedicated souls who refuse to sell-out, cave-in or toss-down the towel, no matter how overwhelming the forces stacked against them or the depth of corruption from a perverse civil order. You and I honor the private inspirations in our lives who get us out of bed and roll us forward, somehow putting in us a deeper psychic mark and recalibrated moral settings. Those whose actions are given the stamp of the “heroic” or “visionary” after their time of persistence are seen to have been clearly on the right side of the cause, while most could only see through the glass darkly. They are, in the words of my father, not deliberate and intentional provocateurs, but people who simply “stuck by their guns.” At ICF we have 145 of them.Read more
The Smart21 announcement is the first stage in ICF's annual Intelligent Community Awards cycle. Based on Intelligent Community Index questionnaires submitted by communities large and small from around the world, ICF selects 21 finalists with the potential to become one of the Forum's Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year. The Smart21 list is announced at least 60 days before the selection of the Top7 and promoted to the world's media by ICF and the communities involved. Gaining a place among the year's Smart21 is considered a badge of honor as well as the first step greater recognition as an Intelligent Community positioned to prosper in the broadband economy.
Smart21 of 2020
|Adelaide, South Australia, Australia||Newmarket, Ontario, Canada|
|Binh Duong Smart City, Vietnam||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Chiayi City, Taiwan||Prospect, South Australia, Australia|
|Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil||Rochester, New York, USA|
|Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada||Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia|
|Hamilton, Ontario, Canada||Tallinn, Estonia|
|Hudson, Ohio, USA||Wellington, New Zealand|
|Issy les Moulineaux, France||Westerville, Ohio, USA|
|Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom||Whanganui, New Zealand|
|Markham, Ontario, Canada||Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada|
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