Newcastle Hosts International Smart Cities Symposium

Filed under Event & Venue, Infrastructure, Science & Research ~ by Press on  8 Oct 2019

Half of the world’s population lives in cities.

By 2050 that figure is expected to be two-thirds, posing unprecedented challenges for urban planning and development. 

How can cities continue to create jobs and prosperity without straining land and resources ?

Congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing, declining infrastructure and rising air pollution within cities increase as cities grow.

Australian cities are not immune.

Facing rapid population growth, both Sydney and Melbourne are projected to be paralysed by congestion by 2031. The cost of lost productivity is predicted to double over the next 12 years to $38.8 billion (Infrastructure Australia Audit 2019). 

Three-quarters of Australia’s population lives in the 21 largest cities, and they generate 80 per cent of GDP.

This economy will increasingly rely on knowledge-based and other services. Our large and small cities represent engine rooms for these industries as well as gateways to the global economy. 

Australia’s smaller cities and regional centres are growing as service hubs for their neighbouring regions. They support growth in a role as satellites of fast-growing cities (Infrastructure Australia Audit 2019). 

Why Newcastle?

Greater Newcastle offers a compelling example of an emerging global city building on a strong industrial history. Strategic investment across key sectors is earning the city a growing reputation as one of Australia’s most dynamic metropolitan areas.  

Greater Newcastle was the first Australian city, outside the capitals, with its own Metropolitan Plan – released by the NSW Government in September 2018.  

This year is the 20 th anniversary of the closure of the BHP steelworks, the region’s largest employer at the time.

Newcastle continues to reshape itself economically and socially, giving rise to new industries and a growing services sector – such as health and social services, the region’s largest employer. This development has occurred against a backdrop of the ongoing role of the resources industry, a significant player in the economic and social fabric of the city and region.  

The Smaller & Smarter Cities International Symposium will highlight Newcastle’s revitalisation. It will be held in the University of Newcastle’s New Space city campus.  

The Symposium launch and dinner, on 9 October, will be in the historic Victoria Theatre. The choice of venue underlines the importance of retaining the history and identity of Newcastle, one of Australia’s oldest cities.

The symposium – topics and context

More information here

• The Smaller and Smarter Cities International Symposium will be held in Newcastle from 9-11 October. 

• The 2019 Symposium features 30 international, national and local speakers and panellists across 20 sessions. They will be sharing national and international examples of best practices in ‘smaller and smarter’ cities – their resilience, what makes them thrive and opportunities. 

• The Symposium builds on efforts by government, business and the community sector in Geelong, Wollongong and Newcastle. They are contributing insights from their own histories and international examples, while proposing a national policy framework specifically addressing Australia’s emerging cities and regions. 

• The Symposium ends with a workshop for leaders from Greater Newcastle and other cities to identify what we need to do in the Hunter for the coming 12 months and the following 20 years. 



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