Rebooting our cities is an urgent task for policymakers as we emerge from the pandemic.

The challenge with how to inject life back into our urban spaces has prompted proposals including Ipswich’s “15-minute” town.

In many cities, it has also accelerated the move towards harnessing technology and using the abundance of data now available to us, to better serve the communities who live there and respond to the changed needs of the post-Covid population.

Typical of these initiatives is the testing and development of technology in three UK cities that will enable traffic lights to “see” approaching cyclists and change to green to allow them to ride straight through. The proposed system, follows a national ‘travel attitudes’ survey by the Department for Transport which suggested that the increased travel by bike or on foot seen during lockdown would continue in the long term.

Brisbane: Building a slicker city 

Last month, Brisbane, Australia, Orange County, Florida, USA and Nashville, Tennessee, USA, were named by the Smart Cities Council ANZ as its three ‘global readiness challenge’ winners.

The cities submitted projects in 2020 that the council judged would “make a difference regionally and be replicable by other cities, globally.”

Brisbane’s efforts to harness data and emerging technologies to improve the lives of its citizens and the sustainability of its city have included the establishment by Brisbane City Council of a city analytics team. Sitting within Brisbane City Council’s Economic Development Team, the analytics experts are helping the council to leverage the value of data and understand its use in improving organisational efficiency and informing policy decisions.

Other measures introduced in the city include an IoT network, spanning 200 square kms, which supports data collection for mosquito monitoring, water quality and soil moisture detection.

You can learn more about the Brisbane approach here.

Sustainable cities

PCSG is closely involved with work to support cities in the development of digital, data-driven strategies. Our Australia-based practice, launched in 2016, was designed to help meet the demand for BIM, IoT and smart cities services and the growing need to converge these data-led strategies so as to plan, deliver and operate our cities and built environment more effectively and in a more sustainable way.

Colin Mann, part of our Australia team, wrote in a recent blog post about how we can better understand the value of a smart city.

We recently worked with the Smart Cities Council ANZ to produce a Digital Twin, Data Leadership Guidance Note which seeks to help deepen understanding around twins and their role in optimising the delivery and operation of assets – and entire cities.

For more information on PCSG Australia’s data management and digital twin services please contact Gavin.Cotterill@pcsg.co.uk