What is a smart community?

A guide to creating a smart community in Australia

Case study

Council's ambitious Smart City Initiative is influencing a city-wide revitalisation and regional transformation aimed at establishing Newcastle and the Hunter Region as an internationally recognised centre for technology innovation.

This initiative maximises opportunities in sectors including technology, advanced manufacturing, the digital economy and creative industries. It leverages the smart city movement to improve the city’s liveability, sustainability and economic diversity, develop local innovation, build international profile and attract talent and inward investment.

The Newcastle Smart City Strategy is fundamental to the Initiative and outlines its long-term objectives around six smart city themes: Smart governance, smart economy, smart people, smart environment, smart living and smart mobility.

Council’s partnership with University of Newcastle, Newcastle NOW and Hunter DiGiT secured $9.8 million funding from the State Government's Hunter Infrastructure Investment Fund for the Hunter Innovation Project. With Council and the university contributing $8 million, this $17.8 million collaboration is providing services and infrastructure instrumental to a smart community:

  • Sector leading smart city infrastructure - Digital connectivity through Wi-Fi and LPWAN (low power wide area networks) will link sensors and integrated technology to provide detailed real time city data, facilitating an open-ended range of services and applications to improve the ease of access, efficiency and liveability of the city.

  • Globally connected, regionally focused innovation hub - a dedicated facility that will bring together researchers, students, developers, entrepreneurs, investors, technical specialists and business advisors to facilitate the launch of spinoffs, startups and mature companies; attract investment and businesses to the Hunter Region; encourage innovation and commercialisation; and produce the next generation of entrepreneurs, business leaders and inventors.

  • A revolutionary designated digital precinct - with high speed fibre broadband (fttp). This concentrated capability will give the Hunter Region a key competitive advantage in attracting and retaining high-tech, digital and creative industries to stay or locate in the region.

Continually harnessing community and business feedback has enabled Council to substantiate that a smart community is not only about local craft, community and locally-sourced food. It's about transitioning the way we interact and do business, how we attract investment and bring about urban and environmental efficiencies through applications such as smart parking and intelligent lighting and waste management, about strong collaboration and partnerships, and about embracing cutting-edge innovation and technologies.

Image: Newcastle aerial © Newcastle City Council/Mark Allen, Sunshine from a box