Global perspectives on liveability

Sydney’s aspirations to be a 30-minute city are part of a global push to improve liveability in cities. We sat down with John Skowron, Global Public Sector Consulting Leader and Global Deloitte Lead for Smart Cities to put global liveability under the spotlight.

 What does liveability mean to you?

There are multiple dimensions of liveability – ranging from mobility, environment, general living, the economy and education through to security. They are all important in their own right, and there are initiatives around each individual dimension. But when we tie them together in a smart city, we can unleash their power over time.

 What exactly is a ‘smart city’?

A smart city is one that uses technology to enhance each of these areas of liveability – think smart mobility, smart environment, and so forth. Disruptive technologies in these cities will streamline operations, accessibility, and liveability. Autonomous vehicles can reduce congestion and influence the future of travel, smart hospitals and buildings can improve quality of life, and smart education has the potential to drive economic development.

 What are other cities in the world doing?

Different cities have different approaches to liveability. Some countries, such as Singapore, Saudi Arabia and India have top-down approaches, based on a centralised government vision. Columbus, Ohio, is a great example of a city with a bottom-up approach, where the local council is driving its charge to become America’s first ‘smart city’. Through an array of public-private partnerships, Columbus has leveraged a $40 million grant from the US Department of Transportation into $500 million of funding to improve transportation, logistics, provide better access to jobs, drive economic growth, and ultimately improve quality of life.

 What can businesses and individuals do to drive change?

The private sector can continue to embrace the technology that changes the way people work. Deloitte’s Edge building in Amsterdam is possibly one of the smartest office spaces ever constructed, with around 28,000 sensors and technology controlling light, heat, working spaces, cleaning, office security and more. Individuals should be engaged to create the momentum for change – getting involved in developments in last mile transport as an example – from bike share schemes to on-demand public transport, in order to help businesses, understand what works best.

How can we create greater liveability for Sydneysiders? Read more blogs on how we can make Sydney a 30-minute city here, or visit our ImagineSydney: Live webpage.


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