In 2017 the Smart Cities Council embarked on a journey to create a blueprint for smart urban development. The goal was to provide scope and definition to the concept of using technology and data as accelerators to sustainability outcomes in land development and real eastate and infratructure projects.
After more than a year of workshopping across Australia and New Zealand the Code for Smart Communities was released, articulating five principles for smart urban development and over 30 metrics to guide the planning, design, construction and maintenance of next generation precincts, masterplanned communities and campuses.
And in 2020, we extend this work even further.
As part of the work being undertaken through our Bounce Lab initiative - a private/public think tank - we are creating a Playbook for Digital Benefit Districts.
So, what's a Digital Benefit District?
They are in response to the challenges expereinced by government, the community and buusinesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, seeking to address shortfalls in traditional urbanism, which is not digitally-enabled (for all) and equipped to generate real-time insights on what is happening, or what should happen.
For the next six months a group of cities, state agencies and private sector city shapers, technologists, data enthusiests and social and economic advocates will seek to define the Digital Benefit District.
The present thinking is that Digital Benefit Districts will:
- be placed-based urban renewal precincts, main streets and neighbourhood centres
- leverage the Code for Smart Communities and its blueprint for smart urban development - ensuring the imperatives exist - such as great placemaking, collaboration and sustainability targets
- specify a minimum level and type of connectivity that serves everyone - especially our communities most vulnerable
- include a sensing package that ensures data on the fundamental conditions of a neighbourhood are gathered for conversion into insight
- be supplemented with community generated data
- provide opportunities to accelerate community innovation through inclusive spaces, places and programs
- include a neighbourhood data dashboard that visualises and facilitates insights-driven decision making at a neighbourhood level
- help build stronger digital relationships between the community, local council's and small business owners/operators
- ensure the principles of equity, inclusion and engagement are built into the neighbourhood development process
- be a driver in reducing the digital divide across our most vulnerable communities
- be underpinned by new metrics, indicators and performance reporting processes
- be the ‘places’ for accelerating smart cities scaling and replication of solutions that promote outcomes in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals
- embrace the fundamental principles of resilience.