BACK TO THE FUTURE: DEVELOPING A SMART CITIES STRATEGY

Imagine this: it’s the year 2025, someone has just arrived in town after accessing real-time information on multiple transport options, while someone else is remotely monitoring their driverless tractor and resource and water consumption on their farm. Both people are getting directions to a shop via the electronic information board located near the Cyrill Flood Rotunda. It seems far-fetched to be happening in the near future, but it isn’t. Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) is preparing a Smart Cities Strategy, and is asking the community to come up with some ideas to lay the foundations for making the region an even better place to live, work, visit and invest.      

A smart city incorporates technology and data to enhance performance and wellbeing, attract knowledge and investment, reduce costs and resource consumption, and engage more effectively with the community. By utilizing smart infrastructure, data can be collected, measured and analysed for use by Council, local businesses and the community in meaningful and beneficial ways.

“A smart city isn’t necessarily smart because it uses technology. It is smart because it uses technology to make citizens’ lives better, and that’s what our Smart Cities Strategy will aim to do. We want to address current and future opportunities by changes in technology, and deliver services that will allow all members of the community to participate in the digital age,” said Mayor of the Dubbo region, Councillor Ben Shields.

The strategy will focus on the whole region, so ideas put forward by the community could include something as simple as an app to help them find parking spaces in the CBD easier, installing sensors to monitor environmental conditions, or advocating for better NBN services in rural areas.

“We want the community to provide input into the development of the Smart Cities Strategy via a survey and general feedback, and understand what a smart city is, and what the benefits of it will be. That feedback will be used to develop the Smart Cities Strategy,” said Councillor Shields.

Manager Growth Planning, Steven Jennings, says the strategy will then go on public exhibition for a minimum of 28 days, where the public can review the draft strategy, and have their say.

“After the strategy has been adopted, Council will work with stakeholders and the community to ensure its successful implementation. Many of the items suggested might be easier than others to implement immediately, but all suggestions put into the draft strategy will be achievable within five years. Technology evolves quickly, so the strategy will continually be updated,” said Mr Jennings.

The survey is available on DRC’s website, under the public exhibition section, until the middle of February 2021. Residents are urged to complete the survey online, or they can come into the Council Administration Buildings in Dubbo or Wellington, where a friendly staff member will be able to help residents access the survey through our self-serve kiosks.

Last Edited: 25 May 2021

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