Researchers determine Australia's smartest cities
Student researchers discover Australia's smartest cities for capstone project

Canberra is Australia’s leading ‘smart city', providing its residents with top ratings for a range of quality indicators, including housing affordability, public transport, employment, and community participation, according to new Victoria University research.

By examining Australian Bureau of Statistics and other government data linked to 90 indicators under broad headings of economy, governance, environment, liveability, mobility and people, researchers rated Canberra Australia’s ‘smartest’ capital city, closely followed by Sydney then Melbourne. Adelaide, Brisbane and Hobart rated lowest.

But while Canberra showed outstanding performance in levels of post-secondary education, physical activity and income, it was worst in certain environmental indicators such as home solar installations and other renewable energy initiatives.

How other cities rate

  • Sydney’s highest indicators included entrepreneurship, dwelling worth, and languages spoken, but it had low ratings for employment opportunities, road networks, renewable energy, and was the worst for affordable housing.
  • Melbourne was above average for most indicators, but its performance was marred by low scores for rates of government assistance and government expenditure per capita, as well as inferior bus networks.
  • Perth performed well in some liveability factors, but was poor in train networks, green gas emissions, and mortgage rates as a percentage of income.
  • Darwin had low performance in safety and renewable energy initiatives, but was strong in employment opportunities.
  • Adelaide had better train networks than Melbourne and equal best air quality with Perth, but fell down on rainwater use and post-secondary education levels.
  • Brisbane performed below average compared to other cities with low rankings in many areas, including cultural tolerance and a heavy reliance on locally generated revenues.
  • Hobart was Australia’s worst smart capital city, with low indictors in almost all areas apart from environmental management, affordable housing, and road networks.

The report suggests that by improving certain smart city indicators and factors that are important for city dwellers, Australia’s capitals could level out their current imbalanced population growth.

In the next phase of research, the team will work to identify the gaps between smart city benchmarking and the priority of residents. Another study will focus on embedding smart city criteria to town planning of the councils.

Research part of final-year study

The researchers, Bachelor of Engineering students, Maha Hussein and Alavaiola Fuamatu, produced the research as part of a final-year capstone project under the supervision of Dr Muhammad Atiq Tariq and Dr Nitin Muttil of VU’s College of Engineering and Science.

Dr Atiq said while student capstone projects were normally entombed on library shelves, this research was an example of students contributing to science and society under a successful teaching-research nexus.

Smart City-Ranking of Major Australian Cities to Achieve a Smarter Future’ was recently published in the high impact journal, Sustainability.

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