How smart is your city?

Researchers have assessed the top ranking smart cities in Australia by evaluating each city against criteria based on the ‘four pillars of economy’.

A new study published by Queensland University of Technology, Australia, has ranked Australia’s top smart cities. Researchers found that high performance of smart cities is more likely in metropolitan regions with a higher population density.

The local government areas that were compared to four smart city indicator areas, performed strongly in the ‘livability and well-being’ category. Alternatively, these areas performed poorly in the ‘sustainability and accessibility’ and ‘governance and planning’ categories.

The study assessed 180 local government areas in Australia against the ‘smart city criteria’, representing more than 85% of the nation’s population.

The criteria behind a smart city

The method of evaluating these Australian regions was based on the ‘four pillars of economy’, which are economy, society, environment and governance. Using set indicators for each pillar, researchers were able to assess the extent to which a city is smart. Indicators for each pillar include:

  • Economy – Income rates, the amount of people participating in the labour force, percentage of professional workers and percentage of industries categorised as ‘knowledge-intensive,’
  • Society – Percentage of people with private healthcare, the number of crimes per 100 citizens, percentage of people paying less than 30% of their income on rent and percentage of low income individuals,
  • Environment – Percentage of people using public transport, percentage of electric or hybrid vehicles, the number of people with household solar power per 100 citizens and the sustainability of the area’s buildings based on NABERS ratings,
  • Governance – Urban sprawl index value, free Wi-Fi spots per 100 citizens, percentage of areas covered by the National Broadband Network of Australia and the area’s policy towards smart cities.

Which cities ranked better than others?

The team of researchers categorised all 180 local government areas into three performance categories. The team used the ‘leading’, ‘following’ and ‘developing’ categories to demonstrate which cities were among the best in Australia, which cities have potential to expand on their achievements and which do not have substantial progress. The top ‘leading’ regions include:

  1. Western Australia – Wi-Fi spots – Scored 14 points from the criteria,
  2. Victoria – Scored 12 points from the criteria,
  3. South Australia – Scored 9 points from the criteria,
  4. Northern Territory – Scored 2 points from the criteria,
  5. Queensland, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania – Each scored 1 point from the criteria.

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