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Big WiFi project underscores Adelaide’s endless quest for livability

Submitted by douglas cooley on August 27, 2014

The Australian city of Adelaide in June launched AdelaideFree, a wholesale makeover of its free citywide WiFi network. This public-private joint venture involved installing nearly 200 new wireless access points from SCC Lead Partner Cisco. Another 100 existing access points located in cafes and business were upgraded and fiber optic cabling was added as well.

In the end, the city had more than doubled the coverage of its old network, reports The Australian. Moreover, it can now claim that it operates one of the largest free WiFi networks in the country, with about 30,000 people using the network on a daily basis. In the future, the network is also expected to support real-time transit information, smart sensors in parking garages that point drivers to off-street parking, and interactive digital maps.

“The options based on open data entrepreneurially and the ability to use geospatial technology on our phones connected to this network are almost endless,’’ notes Adelaide Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood.

Boosting the livabilty factor

“Almost endless” is also a good description for the ongoing efforts to make the capital city of South Australia a place to be. Adelaide’s whiz-bang WiFi project is just the latest instance of the city’s penchant for proactive policies and ambitious technology solutions to boost the livability factor. Here’s a bit more of what’s happening in Adelaide.

  • Adelaide’s expanded WiFi network neatly fits into the city’s current strategic plan that focuses on making the city a virbrant place where people want to live or spend more time. Located in a large metro area with 1.2 million people, many simply work in or pass through the city.
  • Image removed.To help revitalize the city, Adelaide officials have embraced the idea of placemaking. Placemaking involves creating well-planned, connected and distinct areas where communities and businesses can grow and culture and creativity are promoted.  One strategy to make that happen is Splash Adelaide, a community effort to bring streets and public spaces to life by encouraging events and projects in under-utilized spaces in the city. Another is Adelaide’s Smart Move initiative, a 10-year plan that aims to create great streets that are safer, more connected and easier for people to access and use.
  • Adelaide is looking to make technology tools accessible to its citizenry. A new city library provides an Innovation Lab where residents can learn 3D design and printing and experiment with cutting-edge technology and design software. The city planning department uses a 3D modeling tool that citizens can also download to better understand and provide feedback on proposed developments.

And then there are the smartphone apps. The Adelaide city council has published several. For instance, the Splash Adelaide app offers city calendars, updates and Splash events. Adelaide Street Eats gives fans of the city’s food truck culture up-to-the-minute vendor locations, menu options and upcoming special events. Adelaide Report It offers a simple system to let the city know about issues such as graffiti, potholes and faulty street lights that may need quick resolutions.

Accolades for Adelaide

All Adelaide’s livability labors have not gone unnoticed. Last February, the National Geographic Channel featured Adelaide in its World’s Smartest Cities series. Economist Intelligence Unit recently had Adelaide tied for fifth in its recent ranking of top 10 livable cities in the world. 

To get a better idea of what “livability” entails, check out the Council's Smart Cities Readiness Guide where the smart city concepts of livability, workability and sustainability are discussed in detail. You can download the guide for free with your free SCC registration.