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Early experiments show a smart city plan should start with people first

Marcus Foth writes in The Conversation (1.6.16) about the federal government’s recent ‘Smart Cities’ urban development plan, and argues that missing from this urban policy is a focus on the contribution and creativity of the human residents of Australian cities.

‘The federal government’s recently released Smart Cities Plan is built on three pillars: smart investment, smart policy and smart technology. Yet, it also suggests that: “Cities are first and foremost for people” and “If our cities are to continue to meet their residents’ needs, it is essential for people to engage and participate in planning and policy decisions that have an impact on their lives.”

‘Despite this quintessential policymaking statement, the plan largely uses language that conveys a limited role for people in cities: they live, work and consume. The absence of a more thorough response is surprising considering the rich body of work calling for better human engagement in the smart city agenda.

‘ … Considering Australia’s staggering level of urbanisation – close to 90% of the population – it will be paramount to think carefully about how best to invest in the future of our cities. Governments and policymakers have to recognise and enable people as active agents of change towards more habitable and sustainable cities.’

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