In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I interviewed another self-confessed data addict and fellow member of the Smart City Council Emerging Innovators, Claire Daniel. Claire is a town-planner at heart and loves exploring exciting ways to use data to make our lives better. She studied a Master’s degree in Smart Cities and Urban Analytics at the University College, London. This is where she learnt to code, amongst many other things. Claire thinks cross-disciplinary learning is so important to make Smart decisions, as well as using data to monitor the outcomes of these decisions to enable us to make even better decisions in the future. She is keen to see what innovations will come from having more time to do more exciting tasks when administrative tasks are taken over by automation.

Disclaimer: Everything discussed is personal opinion only and does not represent the companies we work for or associated in any way with these companies.

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What we discuss in this episode

  • Claire’s background in town planning and how she became interested in data and the Smart City space
  • What Claire did for her Master’s project and how she’s using her Master’s degree in Smart Cities and Urban Analytics
  • How data can help us better run and manage our cities
  • Why we need to take better advantage of the technologies we currently have as well as looking at the new, fancy tech
  • The projects Claire is currently working on now
  • The importance of monitoring strategic plans appropriately to make the best use of money spent on implementation
  • The way technology can help with the monitoring process to make it more efficient, more up to date and more accurate
  • The importance of open data and opportunities for crowd sourced open data
  • Why it’s important to think holistically about the influence of cities and why Australia is playing catch up
  • The advantage of Brisbane and other big regional towns for piloting Smart City technology and the benefits of local councils
  • Why we need cross-disciplinary learning to be more mainstream in order to have successful Smart Cities
  • The reasons Claire believes Australia can be a leader in the Smart City space
  • The things people aren’t talking about when they’re talking about automation
  • Why we need people used to community planning to be involved in the decision making and technology development


“My interest lies perhaps not so much in fancy new technology, although that’s really cool…but I think my main interest lies in the application of technology that we’ve had probably for a while now, and actually applying it in government policy work, town planning analysis…maybe the less fancy stuff.”

“There is a certain political reluctance to doing monitoring properly, but I think more than that, I think it’s just getting used to the idea that it’s not so hard anymore. Most people still in the management positions or even elected officials have had most of their careers in the era where it was a very time-consuming and expensive thing to do.”

“Building an awareness of what is possible…If we can at least build an awareness of what is possible, what can be done, and then connect the right people up and find the people to do it.”

“I think it will take a little bit of courage to get over that first hurdle to be the organisation that decides to be that open, but we’ve come a long way in the open data movement in Australia.”

“I believe in the Smart Cities concept. It can be seen as a bit of a buzz word but it’s a really useful way of thinking systematically and thinking holistically about the influence of technology on cities.”

“It’s about having people in one discipline that know what can be done in the other discipline, even if they don’t know specifically how to do it. It means that those conversations can happen, rather than potentially not even thinking of solutions that are out there.”


  • SGS Economics and Planning website
  • Masters of Smart Cities and Urban Analytics at University College, London website

Connect with Claire

You can connect with Claire on LinkedIn

Connect with Zoe

You can connect with me via email: or on Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

Podcast production by Ellen Ronalds Keene

My Smart Community

My Smart Community offers consulting and media services with a focus on making our communities more accessible, liveable and sustainable for all. We have a focus on Smart Mobility, Smart project management, Smart technology in regional communities, dealing with disruption and facilitating genuine collaboration. As well as podcast production, communication and media advisory and engagement, keynote speaking, moderating, master of ceremonies and workshop design and facilitation.

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