City promoted by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes at Fort Scratchley
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes at Fort Scratchley
The Paris-based OECD recently approached Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes to submit an article on the city's commitment to sustainable economic development for publication in the multi-lateral body's 2017 Yearbook.
 
The city of Newcastle is fast emerging as a smart, liveable and sustainable city.
It's indeed an honour for a local government leader to explain in the OECD's year book how, as a fledgling "smart city", we're harnessing the digital and knowledge economies to tackle the challenges or modern urban life.
Collaborations between government and education and private sectors see an era of post-industrial decline rapidly giving way to a future of tech innovation for a regional population of 750,000.
As a council committed to sustainable development and open and collaborative leadership, we are helping transform a former steelworks town into a smart city brimming with opportunities in the technology, health, education, aerospace and defence, and renewable energy sectors.
From building a tech hub in our city's civic heart and promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects through libraries and grants, to installing safe, separated cycle ways and photovoltaic solar arrays - the sustainability imperative is foremost in mind.
Since a successful trial of sensor technology to help diners find parking and provide business insights on a popular restaurant strip two years ago, our smart city vision has quickly taken shape.
The above partnerships and support from Australia's Commonwealth Science & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Cisco and IBM have positioned us for success.
Meanwhile, strategic planning and a light rail project are breathing new life into the city's CBD to attract record investment in housing.
 
What's to come will eclipse even these successes.
An innovation partnership between Newcastle City Council, the University of Newcastle (UON) and local business improvement groups promised great things. The Hunter Innovation Project (HIP) features construction of an innovation hub for researchers, industry and entrepreneurs to commercialise ideas and promote economic development.
The centrally located incubator, which follows sharp growth locally in co-work spaces, incubators and accelerator programs, will help several sectors -- including advanced manufacturing, health technology, renewable energy and education -- capitalise on the digital and knowledge economy.
The AU$18 million HIP also includes technology to help council run the city more efficiently, whether through energy efficiencies like smart lighting, targeted bin collections or parking space allocations. This hardware, including the use of sensor technology, promises business and tech developers valuable insights and free Wi-Fi for some 2,000 students at UON's new inner-city campus.