Smart standards for smarter cities

Standards Australia

By Daniel Chidgey*
Monday, 10 February, 2020

Smart standards for smarter cities

From regional townships to metropolitan hubs, understanding what standards are needed in Australia to help make our cities smarter is important — enter Standards Australia’s Roadmap for Smart Cities.

The new decade is upon us and across the globe countries are exploring how to increase resilience in their cities through innovative technologies. 2019 saw exciting conversations around the growth of AI, blockchain, hydrogen and, of course, smart cities. However, for this exciting future to be realised, it is important relevant standards are developed, and a roadmap will help us steer this future development.

The development of the Smart Cities Standards Reference Group and Standards Australia’s contribution to the inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities are just two examples of the steps Standards Australia has taken in this space. In 2020, Standards Australia is ramping up its work alongside government, industry, academia and relevant stakeholders to help make smart cities a reality.

Paving the way

Roadmaps help bring together a range of expert voices and considerations with the end result being a strategic plan, with both short-term and long-term goals outlined. Through the development of a Roadmap for Smart Cities, Standards Australia will be able to determine what standards need to be developed to support smart city initiatives in Australia.

Standards that could help guide smart cities could range from cybersecurity and data collection standards to those that help metropolitan hubs determine their sustainable development objectives. When developing the roadmap and discussing the positive impact of smart cities, standards that protect the public, their personal data and the transparent collection of that data will also be an important discussion point.

No two cities are the same, but as our population grows, standards that help support public transport, sanitation, energy, education and water supply are all part of supporting urbanisation and making our cities as smart as possible.

Adopting ideas

There is a range of standards focused on smart cities that have already been developed internationally, and Standards Australia is currently in the process of adopting three of them. The ISO (International Organisation for Standardization) standards have been developed to support future smart city initiatives for countries across the globe.

The three standards being adopted will aim to assist the Australian Government, state and territory governments and local councils to understand and measure where cities can improve and how they can be smarter as they expand outwards and grow upwards.

ISO 37120 Sustainable cities and communities — Indicators for city services and quality of life

ISO 37120 has become an international reference point for sustainable city indicators — it outlines indicators that measure the performance of city services and quality of life. Indicators are an important tool that help cities establish a baseline to measure and evaluate performance.

The standard aims to provide a uniform approach to what is measured and how measurement is to be undertaken and can be utilised by cities regardless of size or location.

ISO 37123 Sustainable cities and communities — Indicators for resilient cities

This standard intends to set out requirements for cities to measure their responsiveness in recovering from either natural or human-made disasters. As Australia is often subject to extreme weather conditions, this standard has the potential to assist cities, regional hubs and other communities with understanding and improving recovery processes.

ISO 37101 Sustainable development in communities — Management system for sustainable development — Requirements with guidance for use

Sustainability is an integral part of the management and development of smart cities and ISO 37101 aims to provide cities with the tools to become more sustainable.

The standard targets environmental, social and economic issues, including improved community services and socioeconomic benefits, as well as supporting clear purposes for sustainable development in communities and encouraging sound planning systems to achieve them.

Outlined in the standard is a framework for the user to measure city services and quality of life performance against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities).

Standards Australia is also contributing in the Smart City standards for technology and systems, via its membership of ISO/IEC JTC1 and IEC.

Smart chance of standards

The work that standards can do in supporting the sustainable and effective growth of smart cities is clear. In not only this new year, but also this new decade, Standards Australia is committed to working in this space to deliver standards and bring Australia a unified and consistent approach for more resilient cities.

Standards Australia looks forward to collating the views, ideas and needs of the diverse group of stakeholders invested in smart cities. This includes both developing Australian standards and adopting and collaborating on international standards.

If you have any questions, ideas or feedback, please reach out to Standards Australia’s Stakeholder Engagement Management Team at

*Daniel Chidgey is Head of Stakeholder Engagement at Standards Australia. He is responsible for the delivery of strategic engagement and a multitude of relationships with industry leaders and government. Daniel has held various roles in engagement and standards development. His experience spans into political and commercial risks, and the policy environment.

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