Envisioning Bowden Development as a Smart City

Smart City initiatives in different parts of the world are gaining momentum and such initiatives are inspiring governments, councils, private sectors, and citizens everywhere – As the Lord Mayor of Amsterdam once said that Smart Cities are just like “Football teams” that every city wants to have one its own. Since starting our Smart Cities initiative at the University of Adelaide and joining the steering committee of the Adelaide city initiative, I have been observing more and more initiatives and activities about smart cities at different  levels. Last week, I was approached to make a presentation about Smart City during a workshop of It services team of Charles Sturt City council. The purpose of the workshop was to have the staff envisage Bowden, a relatively new development in Adelaide, as a smart area of quality living for people in different demographic categories. Despite being extremely snowed under with several tasks with hard deadlines, I accepted the invitation of making a short presentation on smart city and ICT driven innovation to inspire the participant before their brainstorming session on coming up with smart city services.

I also accepted the invitation to serve as a judge for selecting the winning team based on the outcome of the brainstorming session. The event was organised in the Adelaide Smart City Studio, which was launched at the beginning of November last year (2015). I must say that it was really exciting and wonderful gathering where staff were very motivated and inspired to envision Bowden as a smart city. There were three short presentations before the brainstorming session. First Paul Daly provided a brief background and objectives of the Adelaide Smart City Studio, then Renewal SA manager for Bowden development described the objectives and strategies for making Bowden development carbon neutral and having all the building to achieve 6 star rating. After these two presentations, I presented the smart cities  ideas and the role of ICT in socio-technical innovation that underpins smart city initiatives around the World – I specifically used examples from Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

The presentation were followed by a very interesting brainstorming session in which the participants were divided in four teams and each team was asked to brainstorm smart services for people belonging to different types of demographic categories. I was really impressed by the innovative and inspiriting ideas that were generated during this workshop and was tempted to ask them to share with me us the flip charts so we can analyse the ideas generated during the workshop. I’m looking forward to helping analyse that ideas and benchmark them with the smart cities services being developed and offered in other parts of the World. I’m sure that such a comparison will be quite useful for the Charles Sturt City Council, key stakeholders of the Bowden development, different councils and government agencies and researchers and practitioners interested in smart cities initiatives in Australia and elsewhere. I am looking forward to getting the work started on this activity pretty soon.