From street lights which help police solve crimes to apps that record pot holes and broken playgrounds, entrepreneurs are being urged to think outside the box.
The Smart Cities and Suburbs Program will encourage collaboration between local governments, private sector, research organisations, and not-for-profits to improve the liveability and productivity of Australian cities, suburbs, and towns, in a push to revolutionise city living.
— Angus Taylor MP (@AngusTaylorMP) December 12, 2016
Although some say it seems like a pipe dream, Lighting Council Australia Chief Executive, Bryan Douglas, said the program could expand on current technologies in as little as 12 months. This would alleviate some of the problems associated with urbanisation, such as loitering, graffiti, and burglary.
“Smart street lighting is already playing a vital role in smart cities – not only delivering energy savings of 30% to 40% from lighting that can be dimmed in periods of low traffic, but managing traffic flow, providing parking services, and in some parts of the world detecting the precise location, time, and characteristics of gunshots,” Mr Douglas said.
Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, hopes that bright-minded Australians will take inspiration from around the globe. New York City has replaced pay phones with Wi-Fi hotspots, and Shanghai’s street lights act as charging points for electric vehicles.
Creative crime prevention
This isn’t the first time that tools like these have been introduced in order to manage crime. Innovations are constantly being developed – sometimes on a global scale – to tackle specific issues. A few of these include:
|Installing more streetlights: Experiments in Britain have suggested that lighting up a dangerous area can significantly reduce crime. Tests have proven its effectiveness in reducing crime by up to 41%.|
|Spraying SmartWater: While this liquid may be non-hazardous, it will leave a long lasting stain on the skin and clothes of those exposed to it. Spray some on your valuables just in case!|
|Playing classical music: It has been proved that blasting classical music in dangerous areas can deter bad behaviour – in one study, it decreased robbery and vandalism by more than 30%.|
Source: Reader’s Digest
Barry Manilow + Pink Lighting = Proven Crime deterrent?
In the southern suburbs of Sydney, the town of Rockdale has taken local crime into their own hands on a number of occasions.
One of the most popular methods they used was back in 2008.
Research has proven that playing music outside a shop discouraged undesirables, so in order to tackle a local loitering hotspot, local councillors installed speakers in that particular spot and blasted Barry Manilow songs.
They also installed pink lights everywhere – which aren’t very flattering on the complexion – and before they knew it, the hoons were gone!
Fortunately for us, innovative technology has boomed over the last 5 years, and other preventive methods can now be taken that don’t include an endless stream of Barry Manilow.
If you are an eligible applicant with a bright idea, you have until January 20 to apply for up to $5 million in federal project funding with the first funding round expected to be opened in the first half of 2017. Stakeholders interested in the program can download the draft guidelines and provide input until 20 January 2017 through the Government’s Cities website.