7 Apr 2017

Last Thursday Urbis kick-started the PIA 2017 Emerge series, which establishes a platform for emerging planners to network with and learn from industry experts.

The challenge was set to ‘Decode the Smart City’. Industry experts, Nicki Hutley and Dr Sophia Maalsen provided expert opinion. 

Nicki Hutley, Urbis’ Chief Economist and Director, drew upon her experience of providing macroeconomic and social investment policy advice to public and private sector clients across Australia. In discussing the multi-faceted nature of smart cities, it became apparent our cities and communities have been embracing the innovative infrastructure of a smart city for decades.

Smart infrastructure can be as simple as pedestrian light count-downs improving road safety, to driverless cars reducing car ownership or robotic hotel concierge staff revolutionising customer experiences. However, cities and communities continue to embrace the technology and people power that drives the innovation of smart city infrastructure, policy-makers must be conscious of the real challenges, enablers and threats associated with implementing these initiatives. 

Dr Sophia Maalsen, the Ian Fell Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, drew upon her research of the digital transformation of cities and urban governance to address current and future environmental and social challenges nationally and internationally.

Dr Sophia articulated the aspirations, initiatives and success stories of a few of our Australian cities that are hungry to become smart and innovative metropolises. The key message was evident, a one-size-fits-all approach is not effective, smart city initiatives must respond to the unique needs and context of each city and community.

After a captivating evening decoding the smart city, we are looking forward to shaping Sydney’s future Aerotroplis in May.

The PIA Emerge series, presented by Urbis, is a series of workshops and seminars for the emerging planning professional.

PIA NSW is pleased to be partnering with Urbis to bring together speakers with recognised expertise in various aspects of the NSW Planning system, to deliver a series of seminars in 2017.

The Emerge Series provides a platform to inform and educate through in-depth analysis of practice and procedure for young and emerging professionals from both the public and private planning sectors. The series is for those looking to grow their career beyond the day to day and take it to the next level.