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The CitySmart Leader’s Lunch took place on 17 August with over 350 of Brisbane’s leaders coming along to discuss the topic Smart Sustainable Cities. Guest speaker, Gordon Feller, didn’t disappoint, outlining how many cities around the world who are not as advanced as Brisbane.

Gordon’s keynote address topic ‘Smart Sustainable Cities – how will technology change the way we build cities and improve liveability’ gave the city’s key business leaders, government and institutions, insight into what it will take to realise Brisbane’s smart city ambitions of a $217 billion economy and 1.5 million jobs by 2022.

“As the world continues to urbanise, with 180,000 people a day moving into cities, the competition between cities will continue to grow – economically, environmentally and even socially,” Mr Feller said.

“A smart sustainable city transforms the way that people interact with a city and attracts increased capital investment and human talent.

“By creating more connectedness between people and things, a city creates richer experiences, improves people’s everyday lives, and presents unprecedented economic opportunities for its people, for its businesses and for its partners.”

It is estimated that 40% of congestion in a city is caused by cars trying to find car parks.

“People living in a smart sustainable city can forget the glow of brake lights and traffic jam frustration,” he said.

“By integrating sensors in car park spots throughout a city and having this information communicated directly with in-car devices, drivers will be told in real-time where available car parking exists closest to their destination.

“The result is a constant flow of traffic, as well as reduced congestion, noise and pollution – improving a resident’s or visitor’s experience with the city.”

Gordon explained that city’s adopting a singular network as an underlying platform for urbanisation – allowing people and things to be connected – enables real-time data for city decision-makers and increased responsiveness to managing a city’s waste, pollution, infrastructure and energy consumption demands.

“A singular network with a city-wide network of sensors acts as a central nervous system, providing real-time data on the pulse of the city,” he said.

“Decision-makers are better equipped to streamline operations, reduce costs and transform city’s into a place that people want to live, work and play.”

Gordon said that cities embracing technology will surface as the winners in the race to attract unprecedented capital and human talent – but explains it requires a coordinated and collaborative approach to introduce pioneering technology solutions into already established cities.

“If Brisbane is to take out one of the top 10 sustainable smart cities in the world, the answer will lie squarely in how well it embraces smart technology solutions and how willing private business and local institutions are to working collaboratively with Brisbane City Council in achieving its 2022 ambitions.”

Gordon applauded Brisbane’s centralised cooling system – a first for an Australian city – which will be implemented by the private sector following Brisbane City Council modelling in early 2016.

The centralised energy system works by replacing individual chillers and cooling towers on city buildings with a central water chilling plant, where water is cooled during off-peak periods. A network of underground pipes then provides air-conditioning to connected buildings throughout the day. The centralised cooling system is expected to save up to 24,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, or the entire annual energy output of more than 2300 homes.

CitySmart Leader’s Lunch is an annual event that hosts some of the best and brightest minds in sustainability, combining insights from international experts with local business and networking opportunities.