Being a smart city isn't all about technology

Most parts of south-east Queensland are considered to be “smart cities”, but it’s not all about technology.

The Cities of the Sunshine State report, authored by three members of the Queensland University of Technology’s Institute for Future Environments, looked at the status of Queensland’s 78 local government areas and evaluated their overall smartness.

Just 10 were considered high-performing, with a majority in south-east Queensland.

The lead local government areas were identified as Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Logan, Ipswich, Townsville, Moreton Bay, Gold Coast, Noosa and Scenic Rim.

Co-author and social scientist Laurie Buys said the report took a holistic approach.

“There are a lot of rankings out there around smart cities and what we wanted to do was something a little bit different, she said.

“You can’t have a smart city and just talk about tech, which is usually where the smart city discussion has gone traditionally.

“What we wanted to do was look at it from a much more holistic perspective.”

The performance of the cities was based on four smart city categories – economy, society, environment and governance – and the performance was ranked as either leading, following or developing.

Professor Buys said the liveability of the different urban areas in Queensland was very high.

“If you take in digital and the tech, but also take it into looking at it within the environment and also the social, we’re actually doing pretty good,” she said.

“I think for all cities it really is around making sure the city is driven by economic and social needs and not by gadgets and technology.”

Looking to the future, Professor Buys said cities needed to hold firm to what they did well.

“We need to also make sure we create cities for the 95 per cent who are behaving well as opposed to always focusing on risk management,” she said.

“We actually need to focus a lot on liveability and great places. Really focus on the creation of great spaces, which they do do, but they need to hold firm to that and that focus.”

Professor Buys believed the criteria developed by herself and the co-authors Tan Yigitcanlar, Md Kamruzzaman and Sajida Perveen would still be applicable for measuring the smartness of cities in the future.