As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says, “liveable, vibrant cities are absolutely critical to our prosperity.” But how do 21st century cities become liveable, vibrant and productive? How can our urban centres live up to their full potential as economic assets and leverage the vast wealth of human capital within them? These questions and concepts are not new to Americans, as over the past six years, the Obama Administration has pursued a place-based approach to working with communities as they tackle a wide range of challenges, from investing in infrastructure and working with open data, to strengthening community services through technology and running local government more efficiently. New advances in technology have the potential to accelerate these efforts and create the liveable, vibrant, and prosperous cities that are so crucial to national economies, and the people who call these smart cities home, and Australia has much to learn from our trans-Pacific partners.

The Future Cities Collaborative presented this free public discussion on smart cities by two global leaders in this field, John Tolva, former Chief Technology Officer from the City of Chicago, and Frans-Anton Vermast, Senior Stategy Advisor from Amsterdam.

At a time when cities are back on the national agenda, and with the Obama Administration committing $160 million to a new Smart Cities Initiative, there has never been a better time to think about how to make our cities smarter.

The Tale of Two Smart Cities: People, Data, Technology, and How to Make Cities Smart