Townsville has joined the ranks of cities like Moscow, Philadelphia and Belfast after being named one of the SMART21 Communities of 2021 by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) for the Intelligent Community Awards Program.


The awards assesses categories like digital equality, provision of air space, air quality, sustainability programs and broadband connectivity.


Mayor Jenny Hill said the award further bolstered Townsville’s reputation as a smart city with a focus on innovative collaboration.


“Council is committed to growing a city that can support business today, while also creating avenues for the businesses of the future to thrive in North Queensland,” Cr Hill said.


“It’s rewarding to see our city’s efforts being recognised on the world stage. We’re in great company alongside major cities like Moscow and Philadelphia in our mission to harness the potential of technology to help make Townsville a fantastic place to live now and into the future.


“Our Smart Townsville strategy is focused on opening space for conversation, collaboration and partnerships to achieve the best outcomes for our city.


“With an ever-growing population, it’s essential that we continue our work to help make Townsville one of the world’s leading smart cities. This means global connectivity, growing ICT skills and using big data to achieve digital equality across the city, to increase our city’s environmental sustainability, and to create more opportunities for the industries of the future.”


James Cook University eResearch Director Professor Ian Atkinson said he was pleased to hear Townsville named as a leading smart city.


“This recognition is well-deserved by Townsville for its decade-long work and vision to bring a smart city mindset to how it works and designs city services and programs,” he said.


“It’s not an easy thing for a regional city to be acknowledged in the same place as world mega-cities — especially for a place as remote as Townsville. JCU is one of several world class organisations based in the city and I think that is too easily forgotten. By working on the platforms of the future we will make our future more prosperous and sustainable.”


Smart Precinct managing director Matt Steine said Smart Precinct NQ was one of the initiatives delivered under Townsville City Council’s Smart Townsville strategy.


“Smart Precinct has successfully brought together James Cook University, councils, industry and the start-up community to drive forward innovation in the city,” he said.


“There has been a tremendous response from local business who are participating in Smart Precinct’s growth advisory and acceleration services and we have seen many collaborations across start-ups, industry and academia.”


CQUniversity Associate Vice-President (Townsville) Pierre Viljoen said the University was doing its part to contribute to positive outcomes in the areas of Information Technology and the Internet of Things.


“CQUniversity is not only producing graduates in Engineering and Information Technology that will be prepared now for the opportunities that lay ahead, but we are also conducting world-class research to ensure that the region’s future in emerging technologies is strong,” Professor Viljoen said.


“We have people doing research on Smart Grid technology meaning that we have a fantastic ability to capitalise on their knowledge and turn their research into future opportunities for regions like Townsville.


“At CQU we offer courses in engineering in the fields of electrical, mechanical, civil, mechatronics and mining and our inter-disciplinary collaborative approach ensures our graduates are well-equipped to understand and therefore come up with solutions to the issues that we will face in the future.


“CQUniversity is an industry-leader when it comes to online education and the COVID-19 pandemic accentuated that when we seamlessly transitioned all of our learning to online at the height of the pandemic with minimal disruption to the student learning experience.”


Seven of the Smart21 Communities of 2021 will be named the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2021 in June this year.


The Smart21 Communities of 2021

  • Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  • Alexandria Lakes Area, Minnesota, USA
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
  • Binh Duong Smart City, Vietnam
  • Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
  • Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
  • Regional Municipality of Durham, Ontario, Canada
  • Fairlawn, Ohio, USA
  • Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada
  • City of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada
  • Markham, Ontario, Canada
  • Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Prospect, South Australia, Australia
  • Rochester, New York, USA
  • Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
  • Townsville, Queensland, Australia
  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada