What is a smart city?

    A Smart City is the:

    • Effective integration of physical, digital and human systems in the built environment to deliver a sustainable, prosperous and inclusive future for its citizens (ISO PAS 180, 2014).

    City of Darwin is finding smart solutions to improve services to the community. Switching on Darwin is a significant project driving smart solutions for the City of Darwin. The Switching on Darwin project will enable the use of technology and data to enhance, maintain and find efficiency in how we deliver services in the city for residents, businesses and visitors.

    Are there other cities introducing 'smart projects?'


    There are dozens of examples within Australia and hundreds worldwide that are using technology and data to make cities and regions more liveable, sustainable and efficient.

    Examples include:

    Why are we suddenly focusing on creating 'smart cities'?

    Smart cities may be a new term, however City of Darwin have been on the journey for some time. This has been in progress in various forms over the past few years, examples include:

    • Pay Stay parking app to make paid parking more convenient
    • Click and Fix app for easier community access to report issues to Council
    • Electronic forms to simplify submissions to Council
    • Online payment services
    • Online engagement platform to improve engagement between Council and the community

    As stated in our Strategic Plan, much of this is about better collaborating and engaging more closely with the public and aligning services and needs of the community. There is also a deep sustainability and environmental management commitment from both Council and the community which enhances our smart city vision.

    In summary our Switching on Darwin project is about:

    • Enabling better decision making within Council, using technology and data to support decisions
    • To have more real time data, rather than delayed information (meaning we can act faster)
    • Providing a safer city and reducing antisocial behaviour
    • Using technology to find energy efficiencies (such as smart lighting)
    • To provide more convenient services to citizens
    • To find greater efficiencies in council operations to minimise costs

    Primarily this will deliver upon:

    • Sustainability and energy efficiency in the form of LEDs and a smart lighting control platform
    • Enhanced public safety through our collaboration with NTPFS and the CCTV and analytics technologies
    • Sensor technologies to understand heat, weather and environmental events throughout Darwin
    • Collection of traffic and public space usage information, to enable more accurate data for planning purposes
    • It will provide innovation and collaboration opportunities for the public, in the form of:
      • Platforms and services for open data, city management and data analysis – to continue to improve operations and service delivery
      • Provide higher levels of accountability and transparency about Council operations through open data publication

    Why is City of Darwin spending $10M on technology projects?

    The technology will enable the smart solutions for our city. It will provide the services, information and data to enable us to work with the community to plan, design and develop the best ways for you to live, work and play in Darwin.

    How is the project being funded?

    • Australian Government $5,000,000
    • Northern Territory Government $2,500,000
    • City of Darwin $2,500,000

    What are the benefits of the Switching on Darwin project to the Darwin community?

    Community safety: Using technology to reduce anti-social behaviour and increase insights for emergency services.

    Better services: Improving Council services and creating efficiencies in Council operations to minimise costs

    Environmental sustainability: Reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions, as well as improved understanding of heat, weather and environmental events

    Smart Planning: Leveraging data and technology to inform evidence-based planning and design to enhance the liveability of our city

    Innovation: New data sets available to the community and business sector to support citizen engagement, unlock innovation and create new business opportunities

    Improving public spaces: Extension of Wi-Fi, improved lighting, smart parking and understanding movement through the City to ensure the best use and provision of public space 

    Is the project aimed at tourists or locals?


    The project is to enhance service delivery, improve safety, provide better Council amenities, enhance community life, sustainability and public space usage.

    What is the $10M going to be spent on?

    Switching on Darwin will contribute to revitalising the city, stimulate new partnerships and business growth, create job opportunities and help to improve community safety and social cohesion.Switching on Darwin will deliver a range of smart technologies including:

    • Upgrade of city centre street lights to LED smart lighting, with dynamic lighting and an expected 50% reduction in energy consumption
    • Extension of the free Wi-Fi network in the city centre
    • Installation of CCTV and video analytics to improve community safety
    • Installation of sensors for vehicle and pedestrian movement analysis
    • Smart parking sensors to improve accessibility of parking in the city centre and provide data for future planning
    • Microclimate monitoring system including heat, humidity, rain and sound monitoring 
    • Establishment of a smart city platform to capture data from the new technology and an open data platform to make data available to the community and business sector 

    How did you decide what projects to fund with this money?

    By prioritising the critical barriers to growth and public liability within the region and ongoing feedback from the community identifying key issues and opportunities:

    • Enhancing public safety
    • Environmental sustainability
    • Heat mitigation and environmental impact effects
    • Efficiency of service delivery
    • Equitable access to services

    Why is the project only running in the city centre and not other areas of the municipality?

    During the initial trials, we intend to use the city centre as the area for the first batch of technology. This is both a practical decision and a decision aimed at reducing the delivery cost of the program.

    It is intended that future stages of the project will scale out successful trial elements to the wider region.