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Hamilton: Thinking differently

Hamilton is New Zealand's largest inland city. Watch Chris Vas discuss the core aspects of their smart city program.
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Smart Hamilton. That’s the Smart Cities initiative set up by the Hamilton City Council here in the North Island of New Zealand. What is different with Hamilton is that it’s going a step further from a Smart City agenda to build a smart society within the city and across the region. So smart for Hamilton is about thinking differently and working for the community. Hamilton is New Zealand’s largest inland city with a population of about 165,000 people. It has a very large youth population and it is home to more than 80 ethnic communities. The city has New Zealand’s longest river, the Waikato, which flows for 16 kilometres through the city. Economically agriculture drives this community, particularly dairy which centres the city’s economy.
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There’s a growing activity in the agriculture biotech and other research areas. Against this backdrop are three community outcomes which guide the program of the City Council. Now, this includes a great river city which is embracing of the natural environment, and then there’s a city that embraces growth. And then a creative and connected Council which is customer focused, delivering the best outcome for the city. So, what are the key components of Smart Hamilton Smart Society program? Technology is necessary but it’s not a sufficient condition.
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For Smart Hamilton it’s about three I’s: interaction with community, innovation, and inclusivity that drives improved living experiences. These improved living experiences are built over sustained interactions with the community for all in the community, not just those who are tech savvy or able bodied or financially secure but for all. This results in increase the viability of good data for decision making, optimisation and better leverage of available resources, and creatively solving collective challenges. Innovation, technology, and partnerships are supporting pillars of this program. People are valued first and technology is used as a key to drive change and deliver better community outcomes.
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Now, while these are aspects that form the core of the Smart Hamilton program, to achieve the best outcomes of the city a smart mindset is what is also required. This includes connected people and technologies, daring to dream, trying new ideas, risk taking, maximising opportunity for collaboration, and most importantly community-led problem definition, prioritisation, solution development, and testing. The Smart Hamilton program is young but has achieved early successes through various projects, some of which have focused on street lighting, advanced data portals, smart spaces. Let’s take a look at some of their innovations that are creating Smart Cities and Smart Societies here in Hamilton.

Hamilton is a city on the North Island of New Zealand, located on the Waikato river. Hamilton consists of more than 160 000 people and contributes around 3.4% to the national GDP.

Hamilton’s approach to a smart city is about community interaction, innovation and inclusivity.

In this step, you will learn about Hamilton’s smart society approach that is underpinned by technology as an enabler and how the council has embraced a community centred approach.

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Smart Cities: Social Change Through Technology

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