Sunday, May 01, 2016

Australian Government Smart Cities Plan

The Australian Government released a "Smart Cities Plan" (29 April 2016). This has three components: Smart Investment, Smart Policy and Smart Technology. There is only $50 million in expenditure proposed, for Infrastructure Planning. However, this could have a major influence on Australian investment in cities, as local and state governments would be able to obtain an Australian government guarantee for borrowing if they obtain federal approval for projects.

The Smart Cities Plan also mentions use of smart technology and Regional cities. An example mentioned are high speed rail through "innovative funding and financing" (that is by capturing the increase in land value along the route).

One way I suggest technology could be used is to accelerate the development of new cities on new high speed rail routes and reduce the cost. People will be reluctant to move to a new city until it has a hospital, university, business center, entertainment, shops and transport system. These could all be provided cheaper and more quickly by using new technology. That will enable the sale of residential and business land more quickly in the new city, thus reducing the cost of finance.

However, there is a risk that the new "Infrastructure Financing Unit" (IFU) will become a real world version of the fictional "Nation Building Authority" (NBA) in the TV comedy "Utopia". The NBA is constantly frustrated in its plans for long term development, by the short term political aims of the elected politicians.

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