In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I had an awesome chat with Neil Glentworth. Neil is the Executive Chairman at GWI and he is passionate about the ethical use of data to make informed decisions. He is also passionate about Smart happening in the regions, which of course I love, so we had some great conversation about what the regions are doing in this space. 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:

  • Why he’s passionate about economics and data

  • What a Smart City to him is and why he believes it’s so important

  • The challenges of urbanisation on coastal Australia

  • Projects GWI are currently working on with different regional areas

  • The superficial way Australia is embracing the Smart City concept

  • The tough conversations we need to be having about automation

  • Why it’s so important that we better integrate across the disciplines

  • The mistakes city dwellers make when thinking about and talking about regional areas

  • Some of the ways the regions are making better decisions using Smart ideas

  • The ethical and moral dilemmas that we face in our use of data
  • The impact of GDPR on businesses and consumers
  • Emerging trends in regional areas


“I’m interested in civic innovation, in communities taking control of their social and economic wellbeing.”

“A Smart City to me has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with community choice. That is a choice to interact with transport, to interact with buildings, to interact with open green spaces. It is a choice so that local governments, state governments, federal governments can make better decisions of the scarce allocation of resources. Ultimately enabled by technology but at its core it’s about people and how people fulfil their social and economic needs.”

“There’s a real challenge in Australia that we have some very big handbrakes on the wider economy and there’s a lot of superficiality about it. There are some communities who are really committed, really forward thinking, but when the reality of so many jobs could face automation, there isn’t the economic density, we actually need to double down on the whole focus of how we reinvent our urban environments and our regional environments. I personally don’t believe we’re taking it as seriously as we could be, because the impacts are so great.”

“One of the mistakes that we can often make being city dwellers is discounting how advanced some of the regions are, and also woe the ‘poor regions’. Far from it…. They’re incredibly advanced, we just don’t hear a lot about it, which is a shame.”

“Just because you’ve got data doesn’t mean you should use it…We can use data for good, but we can also use it to cause a bit of harm as well, so the real emerging trend is people starting to deep think about the use of data.”

“At the heart of anything Smart, where we use data, is treating people as individuals, not as a group.”

“[On GDPR] Those businesses that have been acting ethically, no change. It is more making the customers aware that data basically is the customer’s own.”

“There is a very different level of community resilience in the regional areas where people just get on and make things happen…the tyranny of distance is gone through connectivity, and regardless of how good or bad the connectivity is, they’re making the most of it.”

“People are thinking different [sic] and are changing the game. There is not enough attention on what is going on in the regions. If they got even a fraction of the money that is going into the urban areas.”

Links mentioned in this episode:

Professor John Cole

Marcus Foth on the Smart City Podcast Episode 4

RAPAD: Remote Area Planning and Development Board

Off the Track Training


Connect with Neil through LinkedIn or on the GWI website.

Connect with me via email:

Connect via Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced 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.

The Smart Community Podcast

The Smart Community Podcast is a hub where smart and exciting people from all around the world come to discuss all things Smart City, Smart Town, Smart Region - anything that makes a place more liveable. Together we can create our own Smart Communities.


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