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A Message from the Executive Director

Submitted by Adam Beck on December 17, 2016
This month marks the end of Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand’s initial start-up phase. In our first six months we have been busy - developing partnerships and alliances, building our brand, running event's and ‘getting out there’.

Since our launch in July, the interest in SCCANZ’s activities has been overwhelming. I have travelled extensively throughout Australia to meet with stakeholders in sectors as diverse as economic development, infrastructure, planning, research, and policy. I have been connecting with smart cities leaders across public, private, and non-profit sectors, working to understand their needs and shape the next phase of SCCANZ’s work here in the region.

We have kicked off some important conversations, including a critical opportunity around our streets of the future. Working in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, SCCANZ presented some provocative questions to city-building leaders earlier this month at a half day forum in Sydney. Streets 2.0 was the title of the event, and its purpose was to start a conversation about how our streets can become critical public spaces that are green, complete, and smart. Our srteets could be come the real trojan horse for the smart cities movement.

I travelled to Barcelona, Hong Kong and multiple cities throughout the United States in the past six months to mobilise interest in smart cities opportunities for Australia and New Zealand. There is much to learn from those who have gone before us, and indeed much opportunity to export our expertise, talent, and entrepreneurship elsewhere. This sharing of experiences has been central to the support I have been providing to the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as they shape the guidelines for the $50M Smart Cities and Suburbs funding program.

In 2017 we will advance further collaborations to ensure a greater diversity of smart cities dialogues are had within the region. For example, we are partnering with Consult Australia to facilitate an event on smart cities standards in March, covering everything from building information modelling, to Internet of Things interoperability. The digital transformation of our planning, design, construction and management of the built environment is stronger than ever, and it is critical we harnesss the opportunity that rechnology, data, and intelligent design can play.

Phase two of our start-up activities began this month, as we finalise our action plan for developing the Smart Cities Readiness Guide for Australia New Zealand. As the world’s most comprehensive resource on smart cities readiness, it continues to be used by government and industry in more than 40 countries. It is a case study-based resource, that is practical and applicable to numerous sectors. 

The diversity of opportunity, and thus potential impact created by the smart cities movement is extensive here in the region. The movement's contribution to accelerating sustainable outcomes in our cities is its greatest strength. In 2017, as government, the private sector, and the third sector continue to fulfil their aspirations of creating sustainable cities and communities, serve those in most need, and build our regional prosperity, SCCANZ will continue to be a willing partner in helping build our readiness and realise the opportunity that comes with embracing technology, data, and intelligent design.

I hope you enjoy the other snapshots of what’s been happening in our world in 2016, and we look forward to working alongside you in 2017.

Best wishes for the festive season,

Adam Beck

Executive Director, Smart Cities Council New Zealand