Tracking smart cities' performance

Monday, 15 January, 2018

Tracking smart cities' performance

In December, the Australian Government launched the National Cities Performance Framework to track the progress and performance of our largest cities.

The framework is published on a dashboard at to assist governments, industry and the community to better target cities’ policy and investments, including through City Deals.

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said the framework was about encouraging individual cities to improve outcomes.

“The timing of this is fantastic because we’ve just got a really comprehensive dataset from the most recent Australian census, which allows us to see the most updated picture of the economic and growth profile of these cities,” Assistant Minister Taylor said.

“The 30-minute city metric for instance is new connectivity data which hasn’t been applied before. And we’re going to keep adding new data, because we know there’s great information coming out of not just the public sector, but the private sector.

“The specific goals, to inform potential future City Deals, will come from these metrics. It’s very obvious when you look at each of these cities, what the challenges are that we have to address as a top priority and our City Deals will do exactly that.

“It’s not a matter of one city being better than another, this dashboard tells us about the differences in our biggest cities. It tells us that we need policies that customise solutions for individual cities and a national government has to be part of that, just as local governments already are.”

The initial focus of the Performance Framework is on Australia’s 21 largest cities — each with a population above 80,000. The framework also includes Western Sydney, recognising the region’s national significance and is aligned to the area of the Western Sydney City Deal.

The framework contains 46 indicators and draws on nationally consistent, comparable and reliable datasets.

Key indicators include:

  • ‘Jobs accessible in 30 minutes’ — access to jobs is a key driver of accessibility and quality of life in our cities. On average across our largest cities, 85.4% of jobs are accessible within 30 minutes by car.
  • ‘Housing price to income ratio’ — a lack of affordable housing can weigh on a city’s economic performance and can undermine social cohesion and exacerbate wealth inequality. On average across our largest cities, a median priced dwelling costs 6.2 times the median annual household income.
  • ‘Access to green space’ — accessibility to green space can provide opportunities for recreation and exercise, improve air quality and reduce urban heat island effects. On average, across our largest cities approximately 80% of dwellings in Australia’s cities are within 400 m of green space.
  • ‘Business creation’ — in a dynamic, innovative economy we expect a high rate of business creation. We need this vitality for our cities to thrive in a fast-paced and competitive global environment. Across Australia’s largest cities, the average business entry rate is 13.9% per year.
  • ‘Employment growth’ — being in paid work affects the strength of a city’s economy and has important implications for a person’s economic, social and emotional wellbeing. On average, across our largest cities, employment growth is 2.6%.
  • ‘Youth unemployment’ — as well as an income, people gain a sense of worth from their work and enjoy greater opportunities for social engagement, which enhances both mental and physical wellbeing. On average, the rate of youth unemployment across our largest cities is 11.9%.

The Performance Framework is a living resource that will be improved over time through annual updates and three yearly reviews.

Image credit: © Vege/Dollar Photo Club

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