The last couple of decades have seen the formation and strengthening of a global drive to address climate change and improve living conditions, mostly through the application of innovative technologies and business models to large cities. Cities are the obvious focus point for this new policy, as they occupy only 2 percent of the world’s land mass but at the same time they contain more than half of the world’s population, account for two-thirds of its energy use and more than 70 percent of its carbon emissions.
Australia, with is the perfect testing ground to apply these policies due to a number of unique characteristics. Firstly, it is the most urbanised country in the world, with 89 percent of its population living in cities. Secondly, it has the highest per capita emissions rate, so there’s a lot of room for improvement. Third, it has ageing infrastructure, so there too, there is a lot of opportunity to apply new urban solutions. If these solutions succeed in Australia, it can export its knowledge and expertise to the quickly developing Asia-Pacific region.
A new initiative that aims to apply innovative solutions for turning the Australian urban centres into smart, green cities of the future, is headed by the cities and infrastructures division of Siemens. The company is spearheading an effort to modernise the grid infrastructure of Australian cities and convert them into energy efficient models for future growth. By the end of the year, the company is expected to launch a green city index that will deliver its first ranking of Australian and New Zealand cities in order to monitor their efficienc and keep track of the process of change.
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