Collaborating for Smart City Success

14 Feb 2019

Around the world, towns and cities are turning to digital technology to respond to the evolving needs of growing populations. Ubiquitous connectivity and data-driven automation are set to make our cities more resilient, responsive and intelligent.

Jack Clements

Technology Consultant

Over the next few years, investment in these ‘smart cities’ is predicted to almost double, from $81 billion in 2018 to $158 billion in 2022*. This is testament to the advancement of technology and its potential to improve people’s lives and assist cities in their response to urban challenges. 

Larger, more complex cities often have the most to gain from smart city technology, but deploying city-wide solutions can be extremely complex and costly. It is also often impractical, as new technology replaces existing solutions before they’re fully established. An alternative approach is to break cities down into smaller domains and focus instead on urban precincts. 

Start Small and Grow

Urban precincts can be found scattered across our cities, from urban regeneration projects and university campuses to business parks and urban fringe communities. They typically contain all the diversity of a city - retail, commercial, residential, public domain, multi-transport links - but operate on a smaller, more manageable scale. They offer the perfect opportunity to explore smart city technology within a controlled environment and, in time, these precincts can grow to become the building blocks of future smart cities. 

This approach is being put to the test at several Lendlease communities. Lendlease’s Yarrabilba community in Queensland has deployed multiple smart city solutions across a number of prominent locations, enabling them to be trialled on a small scale and assessed in a real-world setting. From smart streetlights and sprinklers to weather stations and garbage bins, technology is bringing intelligence and automation to almost every element of the community. The smart city solutions are underpinned by open architecture and a robust communications infrastructure, enabling solutions to be easily replaced if new technology becomes available.

Share Knowledge and Learning Outcomes
Lendlease is sharing learning outcomes from Yarrabilba with government bodies and industry partners to support the broader smart city movement. This commitment is illustrated by Lendlease’s involvement in the Smart Cities Council’s Code for Smart Communities. The code was launched in October 2018 and as a lead partner, Lendlease’s Yarrabilba community is one of two lighthouse projects where its principles and benchmarking tools will be put to the test. 

“Our Smart Community flagship, Yarrabilba, has provided us with a platform to test and evolve a range of technologies to optimise people’s lives to create healthier, safer and more sustainable communities,” says Matthew Wallace, Managing Director of Communities, Lendlease. “We look forward to working closely with the Smart Cities Council to test the code at Yarrabilba and provide feedback to further enhance its development and application.” 

Create Partnerships and Collaborate

Fundamental to the success of any smart city project is cross-industry collaboration. Smart city solutions are often multi-disciplinary and benefit greatly from a diversity of thought and expertise. 

At Lendlease’s urban regeneration project at International Quarter London, environmental sensors capture data on a range of parameters including local weather, noise levels and air quality. By collaborating with University College London, researchers have been able to analyse the data and understand how the environment and other external factors impact the way people engage with the public realm. 

At Lendlease’s Calderwood Valley community south of Sydney, Lendlease partnered with the University of Wollongong and Illawarra Shoalhaven Councils to submit a successful application for smart city federal funding. The project, due for completion in 2020, will use sensors developed by the university to provide real-time information to people in flood risk areas during extreme weather events. The data will also support councils with their response to various storm water challenges in the region. 

By starting small, sharing knowledge and forming cross-industry partnerships, Lendlease is exploring new ways technology and innovation can respond to the needs of customers and the broader community. Smart city technology is no longer emerging, it’s maturing into a fundamental component of city-wide infrastructure. Lendlease, together with its partners, looks forward to continuing its smart city journey and creating more intelligent, digitally connected places. 


* https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS44159418