SCP E44: Holistically Smart Cities, with Dan Barr

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In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I had a great conversation with Dan Barr. Dan is the director of the Better Cities Group and is passionate about making cities more liveable. Dan has a wide and varied background, and most recently embedded Smart City concepts into the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Dan and I also discovered that we’ll both be going to Japan in early July on the Future Leaders, Future Cities mission, which is super exciting. Dan also covers some of the emerging trends that he thinks are important but aren’t being talked about enough.

Listen here:

What we covered in this episode:

– Dan’s background in population health, development and environmental health, and public space project management
– How working on the urban planning of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games sparked his interest in the Smart City space and led to starting his own consultancy
– Some of the ways the city of the Gold Coast was managed in real time, 24 hours per day, during the 2018 Commonwealth Games
– Dan’s definition of a Smart City
– Why the Smart City and Collaborate City concept is so important
– The opportunities and challenges facing Australia in the future
– Projects that Dan is currently working on
– Zoe and Dan’s hopes for their upcoming trip to Japan as part of the Future Leaders, Future Cities mission
– How Australia is embracing the Smart City concept as a whole
– How Dan believes we can better integrate across different disciplines, government, industries and academia
– The advance in VR and gaming technology for interactive communication of potential new infrastructure and developments

Quotes

“I really got interested in how the way we design and build our cities, and how that affects population health and even individual health.”

“Recognising that cities are really complex ecosystems and making sure that we don’t look at it just from a land use or a transport or an economic perspective, but really holistically.”

“When we [the team working on planning the city for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games] started to look at it, it became really clear that it wasn’t the technology that was holding us back, it was our inability to use the technology well.”

“We know that there’s plenty of challenges ahead for Australian cities, and I think obviously technology and data is one of the opportunities in front of us.”

“It’s about the appropriate application of technologies and data depending on what issues you’re trying to resolve or which opportunities you’re trying to optimise.”

“I don’t think it’s whether or not the Smart Cities concept is important, it’s just about how each city best gets on board and applies it for their own benefit.”

“I think that Australia is adopting [the Smart City concept] as fast as it has to at the moment. It’s human nature and potentially the Australia way to just carry on until we need to find a solution to a problem. Certainly I don’t think that we’ve been looking to optimise opportunity through the Smart Cities concept, but potentially that will change. The cities in Asia and Europe that have really advanced have done so out of necessity…”

“I suspect we’re 5-10 years away from Smart City thinking becoming integrated in our business-as-usual activity.”

“We’re so good at doing our business-as-usual and staying in our lane, that the integration of ideas within organisations is difficult, outside organisations even more difficult, and then across disciplines is just incredible. I think that that’s an incredible challenge.”

“As [the pilot studies] become more popular around the country and people can see the tangible benefits of these, I think it will become more of a mainstream conversation about how we use technology in cities for the benefit of communities and individuals.”

Links and Resources Mentioned:

Gold Coast Light Rail Project
Gold Coast Comm Games
Smart Cities Council Task Force Centre for Civic Innovation
Smarter Cities and Suburbs Project from the Federal Government
ASCA Smart Cities Conference
V2I Group and Luke Brannely

Connect:

Connect with Dan on LinkedIn or via the Better Cities Group Website

Connect with me via email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com

Connect via Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene

SCP E43: Changing the World One Podcast at a Time, with Zoe Eather

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In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, you’ll hear from me again. I was reminded by an avid listener that I didn’t share about how this podcast has change my life. So here it is…

Listen Here:

Connect:

Connect with me via email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com, Twitter or Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E42: Top 5 Themes, with Zoe Eather

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In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, you’ll hear from me about some of things I’ve learnt so far from having some amazing conversations with really awesome Smart City people.

Listen Here:

What I covered:

  • Change is coming
  • The Human Smart City Movement
  • Tech for Good
  • Collaboration is Key
  • Doing Things Intentionally and Designing your own Life/City/Work

Connect:

Connect with me via email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com, Twitter or Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

 

SCP E41: Engaging people with Smart Cities, with Oliver Lock

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In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I interviewed fellow member of the Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators, Oliver Lock. Oli and I had a lot to discuss and had a great conversation about what Smart Cities means to him, what he’s doing in the space (including a PhD) and where we’re moving forward in the tech and data space. With a background in architecture, Oliver has cross pollinated with programming and all things tech and data, which we dive deep into. As always, I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Oliver’s background and the various disciplines he’s studied
  • How he became involved and interested in the Smart City space
  • Oliver’s PhD and the other projects he’s involved with
  • The importance of education in the Smart City space
  • Why efficiency is not necessarily the most important consideration when looking at Smart mobility
  • Balancing Smart mobility with active mobility
  • How Australia is embracing the Smart City concept
  • The importance of communication and integration in Smart Cities, so we don’t end up with technological incompatibility
  • Why we need to be making sure the people with all the power have the knowledge to be making the right investments and the right decisions
  • The emerging trend of situated analytics that Oliver would like to see discussed more
  • What Pokemon Go taught us about the human side of Smart Cities

Quotes:

“I think it’s important because it adds more computational and quantitative rigour to a lot of the work that is being done in planning. It makes it a little bit more scientific, and I think in a lot of ways that we’ve been doing the Smart Cities stuff for a long time. But the brand of Smart Cities is doing really well in advocating this.”

“That technology is changing very quickly and the skillset to create that technology is actually becoming quite achievable for someone with a planning background to learn in a few weeks and apply it really well. I think having a strong baseline of skills and a strong continuing development in these skills is really important in a space that moves as quickly as Smart Cities and technology.”

“If we have one organisation using one set of technical skills, or one professional using a different set of technical skills to another, we’re going to have these really strange issues of technological incompatibility, with all these embedded technologies. So it’s important to educate people and make sure …we’re all on the same page.”

“What we should be focusing on with autonomous vehicles in particular is the safety element…rather than the efficiency element. I think once you start designing a system to be efficient and respond to demand as quickly as possible, you’re also pushing aside a lot of other social, environmental considerations with that as well.”

“I’m hoping that there will be some kind of integration [between Smart mobility and active mobility] otherwise we’re just going to reduce the kind of door to door walking which will inevitably reduce everyone’s amount of steps, which is quite concerning.”

“I almost think that at the end of the day, Smart Cities should just be planning…so maybe moving towards a time and place where we might not need the term anymore and it will be an embedded part of the planning process.”

“I think there is going to be a growing space in showing data and analytics about the city while you’re actually in that spot…and you could have that experience tailored to your particular interest.”

“So many people were saying so many positive things [about Pokemon Go] that I’m sure for a brief moment there was a little spike of virtual happiness permeating throughout the world.”

Links and resources:

Connect:

Connect with Oliver on LinkedIn.

Connect with me via email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com

Connect via Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E40: (Part 2) Education and Life Design for Smart Citizens

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In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I finish off my conversation with teacher turned entrepreneur, Ellen Ronalds Keene. Part 1 of our chat is in episode 39, where you’ll hear about what Ellen’s passionate about and why she thinks the Smart City Concept is so important. In this episode (Part 2), Ellen shares a really interesting perspective on integrating across the different disciplines. We also have an insightful discussion around being the CEO of your own life and how this fits into the Smart City Space. As always, I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • What Ellen believes is preventing integration across disciplines, industry, government
  • Why we should take care of our human workforce the same way we do our valuable vehicles
  • The concerning emerging trend of worker burnout
  • The importance of making life changes gradually over time
  • Using technology to make lives slower, which in turn can make them better
  • Why working less and living more is an emerging trend we should be talking about
  • The problem with ‘it will never happen’ thinking and the power of life design
  • Being the CEO of your own life
  • How the flexible work options facilitated by the internet allow people to tailor work options to suit their needs

Quotes:

“I’m yet to find a person that has a job that doesn’t feel like they’re at capacity…The problems with burnout are not exclusive to teachers. It’s becoming a modern disease.”

“It’s really hard to keep adding to people’s plates, and saying ‘you’re already at capacity, or just trying to survive. Now we expect you to do this next level thing of integrating and communicating more.’”

“I think it’s very difficult to do that integration piece without intentionally taking other things off the plates of the people that are trying to do the integration piece because it requires so much thinking, and mental and emotional and physical energy to do that communication.”

“You need to put petrol in your car for it to keep going (until we have electric cars) and that’s the everyday maintenance. But you also need to be taking the car to a mechanic every six months to get it serviced. That’s the extra level maintenance. If you skip that piece, you can keep putting petrol in the car but eventually the car’s going to break down…[Cars] need maintenance, and human beings do as well. We don’t want to ruin these amazing assets that are our human brains and human bodies simply through a rush to get something done more quickly or a lack of awareness [about burnout/wellbeing].”

“I think burnout is something that we’re not talking about enough. I do see it as an emerging trend in many industries, and it’s not the good kind of trend.”

“People are choosing slow living, choosing to have less, live with less, and that includes less stress and less workload and less commuting because they’ve made some intentional, proactive choices that are a bit counter-cultural at the moment but they are in response to the emerging trend of the rate race that life has kind of become.”

“Rather than using technology to do more, we could actually use technology to chill out more…Technology can create leisure for us.”

“[People say] ‘It seems a long way off, so we won’t even try. That’ll never happen.’ It might happen but it might take you 5 years of gradual changes to get there. But we’re so addicted to the quick fix idea.”

Links and resources:

Connect:

Connect with Ellen via email: ellen@ellenronaldskeene.com or ellen@selfcareforteachers.com.au or via Facebook @ellenronaldskeene or @selfcareforteachers. She’s also on Twitter and LinkedIn, but not very active on either platform!

Connect with me via email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com

Connect via Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E39: (Part 1) Education and Life Design for Smart Citizens

SmartCityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode39_EllenRonaldsKeene_Part1In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I interviewed teacher turned entrepreneur, Ellen Ronalds Keene. Ellen is passionate about education, health and wellbeing, and podcasts, and we had so much to talk about. This episode is split into two parts, so you’ll be able to hear the rest of our conversation in Episode 40. In Part 1 we talk about what Ellen has learnt about the Smart City concept, and why she thinks it’s important, as well as how she herself is embracing the Smart City concept from non built environment, planning or engineering background. She’s coming at Smart Cities from a different angle, so I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen Here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Ellen’s background in education and her passion for health and wellbeing
  • What sparked her interest in the Smart City space and what she’s learned from the Smart City Podcast
  • The projects she’s working on now, including Self-Care for Teachers
  • How Ellen uses data in her professional and personal life to improve health and wellbeing
  • How we can learn from the gig economy and why it’s working for Ellen right now
  • The pros and cons of being a freelancer and why not everybody should work for themselves
  • The link between schools moving away from ‘one-size-fits-all’ approaches and the Millennial desire for flexibility at work
  • The opportunities and difficulties in creating a high trust, high respect environment that allows for flexibility and individuality at work
  • The challenges of educating Smart citizens in Australia, in schools, in workplaces and in homes
  • The need to be intentional and proactive about creating the future that we want

Quotes:

“You can’t purchase health later in life, you need to really look after it all the way through.”

“It’s about using tech and data and all the other “Smart” options, but really it’s about human beings. It’s about society and community and making life better.”

“I think it’s important because hopefully it’s the way that we as humans can go to the next level, improve the lives of the top 1%, but also the rest of the world, and not ruin the environment in the process, and not spend all our lives chained to a desk in the process. Hopefully, improve the lives of all the creatures on the planet and the planet as well.”

“Data is absolutely a part of education, although getting stuck in data for data’s sake is a big concern for a lot of teachers.”

“Now that I’ve adjusted to it, I quite enjoy the gig economy, and the freedom that being a freelancer has given me. The freedom to run my day and look after my health and wellbeing in a way that works for me instead of against me.”

“[Millennials] were given a tailored approach [at school], and then we get out into the workforce and it’s still that industrialised model of conformity; everybody must do the same thing, even if it’s inefficient for everybody to do the same thing. And it’s wasting time and money and energy for everybody to be doing the same thing, because everybody doesn’t work in the same way.”

“In the previous episode you were talking about citizens, consumers having control of their data. I don’t really think Australians are there yet with that conversation at all. There’s a level of maybe our government and our industry isn’t driving it but I also think that Australian citizens are a bit oblivious to the Smart City concept.

“Before I was involved in this project I considered myself reasonably aware, and I still didn’t really understand it. I had heard the term [Smart Cities] but in my mind it was The Jetsons.”

“If we can’t even fairly fund all our public schools, you’ve got Buckleys of getting ageing teachers, burning out teachers to teach something like coding, which they don’t know themselves, and entrepreneurship which is a whole new world from the world that most educators live in. There’s a long way to go for us to be creating those Smart Citizens….The education of the adults, let alone the kids who are going to be tomorrow’s leaders, is so important.”

“We have to be intentional about creating the future that we want, otherwise that science fiction dystopian future that we’ve all been taught to fear by our entertainment, is more likely to happen.”

Links and Resources:

Connect:

Connect with Ellen via email: ellen@ellenronaldskeene.com or ellen@selfcareforteachers.com.au or via Facebook @ellenronaldskeene or @selfcareforteachers. She’s also on Twitter and LinkedIn, but not very active on either platform!

Connect with me via email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com

Connect via Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E38: The Practical Future of Smart Cities, with Andrew Grill


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In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I interviewed the Practical Futurist, Andrew Grill. We discussed a number of interesting topics that fit into the Smart City space. We talk about the future of work, and how it’s not all about the millennials — much to my disgust! We also discussed what digital diversity is and why it is important on our decision making boards, and also why the new GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, should actually empower us to use our data how we want to, and to our advantage. I really enjoyed this futuristic yet practical chat.

Listen Now

What we cover in this episode:

  • What a practical futurist actually means
  • Andrew’s background in engineering, telcos and startups
  • How Andrew’s skills fit into the Smart City space
  • Andrew’s definition of a Smart City
  • Why focusing on tech that makes life better (as opposed to tech for tech’s sake) is so important
  • The projects Andrew is currently working on
  • What the future of workforce will look like
  • What digital diversity is and why it’s vital
  • Why Andrew uses a scary slide in every talk he gives
  • How the regulators and disruptors can communicate collaboratively and informally
  • The reason we will have to start writing ads for robots
  • The power and opportunity of personal data ownership

Quotes

“Whatever you can measure, if you can measure it and put it on a screen and see what’s happening in real time, you can get a sense of your ecosystem. If that ecosystem is a city, and you’re managing a city like Sydney or Brisbane, and you can augment and instrument as many things as you can, you can then see real time what’s going on.”

“I think a Smart City is a city that makes it easier to work, live or play, without technology getting in the way. You don’t see tech right in front of you…you just know that it makes your life easier.”

“Smart Cities have so much data that’s there, and the challenge is how do you make sense of that?”

“We may see that the millennials are forcing us to work one way, and then there’s a backlash, and the generation after millennials say, ‘we want to have an office with a door.’ I think we need to be flexible [with the place of work and how we get work done.]”

“The problem is, the people making the decisions about attracting the talent, aren’t of the age and flexibility of the talent.”

“It may be that the digitally diverse person isn’t on the board full time, because frankly they get bored with some of the stuff that’s discussed, but you need to have the diversity of thought…so they ask the sort of questions that need to be asked.”

“The perfectly formed board would not have people that are all the same. They’d have more than one person that has the digital perspective so that that one person isn’t just the digital dude and gets picked on. And they’d also have people…that have really strong International experience and can bring that to the table. So the notion of digital diversity means you have a well-formed board that can navigate and negotiate any issue that comes at them.”

“You need regulators thinking like disruptors, you need disruptors thinking like regulators and you need citizens being able to provide advice as well. That is the future.”

“I see GDPR as a huge opportunity. Beyond the regulation, it now allows consumers to put a value on their own data.”

“I think we are on the cusp of consumers like me, who are empowered, starting off, and then the late majority in maybe 10 years literally waving a flag saying, “I want my data back.””

Links and resources

Arthur C Clarke (author of 2001: A Space Odyssey interviewed by Australian ABC Journalist in 1974 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXxyCyDEaEg

Andrew’s TedX talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE0wEVT95MM

Connect

Connect with Andrew Grill on Twitter @andrewgrill, on LinkedIn and on his blog which is LondonCalling.co

Connect with me via email: zoe@thesmartcitypodcast.com, Twitter or Facebook@smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.