Queensland University of Technology has recently released its Smart Cities Down Under report, revealing the top 60 ranking local government areas in the country.

North Sydney ranked number one in this list, with New South Wales accounting for the top six and a third of the overall top 60 rankings.

Western Australia and Victoria came second and third respectively overall, with many of their local government areas landing in the top 60.

The report assessed 180 local government areas, making up about 85 per cent of Australia’s total population, all of which were evaluated against the Smart City Assessment Model criteria.

Each city’s ‘smartness’ was measured against four main indicators; Economy, Society, Environment, Governance. Each of these indicators were made of several sub-categories, which included; innovation industries, safety and security, housing affordability, sustainability (commuting, vehicles, energy, buildings), and public WiFi.

The council areas were then categorised into three groups of 60: leading, following, and developing neighbourhoods.

 The top 20 ‘leading’ local government areas are:

  1. North Sydney (NSW)
  2. Willoughby (NSW)
  3. Mosman (NSW)
  4. Waverley (NSW)
  5. Lane Cove (NSW)
  6. Ku-ring-gai (NSW)
  7. ACT (ACT)
  8. Woollahra (NSW)
  9. Canada Bay (NSW)
  10. Port Phillip (VIC)
  11. Boroondara (VIC)
  12. Cottesloe (WA)
  13. Yarra (VIC)
  14. Nedlands (WA)
  15. Randwick (NSW)
  16. Peppermint Grove (WA)
  17. Subiaco (WA)
  18. Joondalup (WA)
  19. Cambridge (WA)
  20. Claremont (WA) 

Other key findings in the report include:

  • More than a quarter (about 27.5 per cent) of Australians are residing in a local government area that is classified as top-performing
  • Top-performing local government areas are those located in a metropolitan city-region with higher population densities
  • Relatively stronger performance exists in the Liveability & Wellbeing areas across the investigated local government areas
  • General weakness exists in the Sustainability & Accessibility, and Governance & Planning areas across the investigated local government areas
  • High performance in the Productivity & Innovation areas only exists at the top performing local government areas
  • 33 per cent of the top-performing local government areas are located in NSW, 23 per cent in WA, 20 per cent in VIC, 15 per cent in SA, three per cent in NT, and two per cent each in QLD, ACT and TAS—however, when the population of the local government areas is considered the state/territory performance ranking (based on population weighted coverage) becomes as follows: NSW, VIC, QLD, WA, ACT, SA, NT, and TAS

Lead author of the report and associate professor of urban studies and planning at Queensland University of Technology, Tan Yigitcanlar, said residing in a smart city enabled Australians to be better off.

“It’s critical. Those locations provide economic opportunities, better education systems and increased liveability and wellbeing,” Mr Yigitcanlar said.

Mr Yigitcanlar said that local governments work better together than in insolation.

“Any local government is only as strong as the other local governments within its vicinity. They must interact to share and access public resources.

“Australia, we believe, should consolidate its local governance and planning culture to lead the change.”

The report was prepared by the Urban Studies Lab at Queensland University of Technology in partnership with the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication.

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