SCP E45: Connectivity and Collaboration for Smart Communities, with Daniel Fletcher

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In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I had some great discussions with Daniel Fletcher. Daniel is the General Manager of Communities for the Central Highlands Regional Council in Queensland. He is very passionate about supporting and nourishing regional communities. As you know, I am also very passionate about the regional areas, so Daniel and I had some great conversations about this. Daniel also shares about what Central Highlands Regional Council is doing in the Smart City space, and how he is trying to close the technology gap for the community.

Listen Here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Daniel’s background in psychology and criminology, and local government
  • How his experiences in Slovenia and Europe shaped his thinking around and passion for communities
  • What sparked his interest in the Smart City Space and Smart Communities he’s witnessed
  • Daniel’s definition of a Smart City or Smart Community
  • Why it’s important to make intelligent decisions on behalf of the community, now more than ever
  • Projects Daniel’s currently working on
  • The impact of the digital divide on regional communities and why Council is going to get involved in facilitating citizens with their banks
  • How and why projects and infrastructure are now including digital components built it in
  • The digital and other challenges faced in regional, rural and remote areas, not only in keeping current people but also in attracting people to the area
  • How to better integrate across the industries, and the city/regions
  • The problem with Australia’s competitive sporting nature in collaborating on Smart Cities projects
  • Why it’s so important that we place the value on the connection between people while we continue to embrace ever increasing technological advancements
  • The emerging trend of decentralisation of major cities in Australia
  • The challenges facing Australia from cryptocurrencies

Quotes:

“All of my work in some way shape or form has been connected to the community or a community approach to things. I’m definitely really keen to maintain that within my career and I’m very passionate about liveable, attractive and economically sustainable communities.”

“I’ve had the opportunities to see lots of different communities, lots of different cultures, lots of different ways that they embed what is a Smart City [and] Smart Community Approach.”

“A Smart Community is digitally connected to its infrastructure, citizens and future.”

“At any moment we should not fear losing what we once were as a community and be able to embrace something different which is going to be able to provide benefit for all. There’s a real balance between that fear of the technology and the warp speed at which it’s taking over some of our lives, but I think that’s probably why it’s so important that we start to embed that in our decision making. It’s happening whether we like it or not, and we just need to find a way for it to be an essential part of decision making.”

“Regionally we’re certainly disadvantaged. There is a digital divide, whether we’re able to quantify it or not…and we’re suffering in regional areas from the advancement of other commercial businesses.”

“Our investment as a local government into those small communities is going to be critical to not only maintaining the actual community itself, but also to keeping the regional communities up to speed with the advancement of technology in the digital economy.”

“The attractiveness of an area is now highly dictated by the fact of it being connected to the internet.”

“It’s amazing what can be achieved when you do not care who gets the credit.”

“As a country, we’re inherently competitive…internally we really struggle to see the benefits from collaborating.”

“I’m hoping that the continual conversation around collaboration as opposed to competitiveness is going to see some changes in [integrating across disciplines.]”

“We [in Australia] have an abundance of land and space. Some of the challenges include water security and being able to allocate that appropriately for communities. But I think one of the really big trends that technology will help solve in some way is manifesting itself in the decentralisation of major cities in Australia.”

Connect:

Connect with Daniel 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.

 

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