The City of Greater Geelong Council has announced the adoption of the region’s first Smart City Strategic Framework, which will help the region better harness emerging technology to improve livability for residents.

In addition to the adoption of the framework, the Council also endorsed an accompanying four-year action plan, which outlines activities and targets to meet in order to achieve the objectives of the framework.

The draft framework and action plan were on public exhibition throughout December 2020 and January 2021, providing the community the opportunity to give feedback and help refine the documents.

Seven principles form the foundation of the framework and these principles will be used to guide Council’s decision making and City operations and programs.

The seven principles are:

  • People first
  • Inclusive and accessible
  • Evidence-based
  • Connection and value
  • Co-design and collaboration
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Trust and transparency

The framework emphasises how Council can capitalise on emerging technology, data and innovation to help improve community life, as well as manage sustainable growth and development in the region.

This includes a plan to further refine and enhance the award-winning initiative, Geelong Data Exchange, with a focus on developing the 3D city model.

This digital twin of the city is being used to spatially design and visualise new development, as well as giving the community an opportunity to be more involved in planning and urban design.

Geelong’s network of internet-connected things (IoT) will also expand to enable better management of assets and resources. Pedestrian sensors will help Council understand foot traffic and the use of public spaces, soil sensors will enable better water management, climate sensors will provide localised weather data and parking sensors will provide a detailed picture of parking behaviours and requirements.

Work to lessen the digital divide will continue, including a plan to expand the free public WiFi network and a fast broadband trial with the roll-out of an additional 49 Smart Nodes.

Ensuring all community members have the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to access and utilise digital services and tools will also be prioritised.

City of Greater Geelong Mayor, Stephanie Asher, said the framework provided a safe and transparent decision-making protocol for the City’s use of modern technology and data.

“Having this framework in place helps us to keep a balance between adopting progressive technology to improve our services while also ensuring the community feels totally safe and supported,” Ms Asher said.

“The adoption of this framework marks a major step towards achieving our community’s 30-year clever and creative vision.”

Councillor Peter Murrihy, Chair, Innovative Solutions portfolio, thanked the community for contributing to the development of the framework and action plan.

“The community input has been invaluable and has helped us to deliver a framework that genuinely responds to community visions and expectations,” Mr Murrihy said.

“The Smart City Framework paves the way for Council to implement technology, data and innovation to meaningfully improve the day-to-day lives of everyone in our community.”

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