In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I interviewed fellow member of the Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators, Oliver Lock. Oli and I had a lot to discuss and had a great conversation about what Smart Cities means to him, what he’s doing in the space (including a PhD) and where we’re moving forward in the tech and data space. With a background in architecture, Oliver has cross pollinated with programming and all things tech and data, which we dive deep into. As always, I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Oliver’s background and the various disciplines he’s studied
  • How he became involved and interested in the Smart City space
  • Oliver’s PhD and the other projects he’s involved with
  • The importance of education in the Smart City space
  • Why efficiency is not necessarily the most important consideration when looking at Smart mobility
  • Balancing Smart mobility with active mobility
  • How Australia is embracing the Smart City concept
  • The importance of communication and integration in Smart Cities, so we don’t end up with technological incompatibility
  • Why we need to be making sure the people with all the power have the knowledge to be making the right investments and the right decisions
  • The emerging trend of situated analytics that Oliver would like to see discussed more
  • What Pokemon Go taught us about the human side of Smart Cities


“I think it’s important because it adds more computational and quantitative rigour to a lot of the work that is being done in planning. It makes it a little bit more scientific, and I think in a lot of ways that we’ve been doing the Smart Cities stuff for a long time. But the brand of Smart Cities is doing really well in advocating this.”

“That technology is changing very quickly and the skillset to create that technology is actually becoming quite achievable for someone with a planning background to learn in a few weeks and apply it really well. I think having a strong baseline of skills and a strong continuing development in these skills is really important in a space that moves as quickly as Smart Cities and technology.”

“If we have one organisation using one set of technical skills, or one professional using a different set of technical skills to another, we’re going to have these really strange issues of technological incompatibility, with all these embedded technologies. So it’s important to educate people and make sure …we’re all on the same page.”

“What we should be focusing on with autonomous vehicles in particular is the safety element…rather than the efficiency element. I think once you start designing a system to be efficient and respond to demand as quickly as possible, you’re also pushing aside a lot of other social, environmental considerations with that as well.”

“I’m hoping that there will be some kind of integration [between Smart mobility and active mobility] otherwise we’re just going to reduce the kind of door to door walking which will inevitably reduce everyone’s amount of steps, which is quite concerning.”

“I almost think that at the end of the day, Smart Cities should just be planning…so maybe moving towards a time and place where we might not need the term anymore and it will be an embedded part of the planning process.”

“I think there is going to be a growing space in showing data and analytics about the city while you’re actually in that spot…and you could have that experience tailored to your particular interest.”

“So many people were saying so many positive things [about Pokemon Go] that I’m sure for a brief moment there was a little spike of virtual happiness permeating throughout the world.”

Links and resources:


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The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

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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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