In this episode of the Smart Community podcast, I have a brilliant chat with Sabrina Chakori, the founder of the Brisbane Tool Library. Sabrina tells us about her background in environmental economics and her passion for creating a sustainable society, as well as what sparked her interest in Smart Community concepts. We discuss why democratising the economy is so important and the need for other economic models and using metrics other than just GDP. Sabrina tells us about the Brisbane Tool Library and how it fits in the sharing economy, as well as what she’s learned through the process. We explore the concepts of access versus ownership, abundance versus scarcity and the balance between localisation and globalisation. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of alternative economic models and ways to structure our communities. As always, we hope you enjoyed listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Sabrina’s background in biology and environmental economics and her passion for creating a sustainable society
  • Activism, active citizenship and making a difference in our Smart Communities
  • What sparked Sabrina’s interest in sustainable, Smart Community thinking
  • Why democratising the economy and focusing on Community is so important
  • What we could be measuring instead of or in addition to GDP 
  • The reason we need to ask “what we are getting more efficient, productive and technology-driven for?”
  • Getting to the root causes of problems and shifting from technological solutions to systemic solutions
  • About the Brisbane Tool Library and what Sabrina has learned along the way
  • How the environmental movement has failed in the past to treat root causes and provide alternative solutions 
  • The difference between access and ownership mindset and how abundance and scarcity thinking plays into our choices and behaviour
  • The importance of having local solutions while not losing our global approach
  • The emerging trends of alternative economic models and ways to structure our communities 


“A Smart Community for me [is] a community designed and organised in a way to enhance our social and ecological well being. It’s more about the human connection and not the technology that is linking community together….Community must become the next metric.” ~ Sabrina

“If we can use our latest thinking and technology to enhance that human experience in a way that’s not [only for] this level of the population that can afford to do it, that’s when we can call it a real Smart Community, because we’re actually making a difference to the lives of people with the most at stake if we don’t get this right.” ~ Zoe

“Governments around the world measure economic success, economic prosperity just basing it on GDP—gross domestic product…How can we measure what really matters? How can we measure social well being? How can we measure ecological well being? Because from the moment we decide to use a different index to measure prosperity, then all our policies and businesses are going to work towards that common goal.” ~ Sabrina

“When we start understanding which activity [increases] GDP, we can understand that there’s something fundamentally wrong with how we measure our economy and therefore the well being of our communities. You know, a lot of unpaid work, a lot of volunteers, a lot of caring work, a lot of ecological services are not accounted for.” ~ Sabrina

“Ultimately, the core of a nation is made out of the cultural inputs that community and people come with. So if our nations are just based on productive-ism and consumerism, then we are lacking making real value to humanity.” ~ Sabrina

“Renewable energy is not the solution. The solution is trying to understand why we need that energy…because we can [cover] every square metre of Australia with a solar panel and keep up with this productivity system. But then, what are we having those solar panels for?” ~ Sabrina

“I think where we failed as an environmental movement during the years is to give an alternative economic model that could actually work, with genuine alternative business models…Unfortunately til now, we’re always just treating the symptoms. We actually have to shift towards the cause of the problem, which is redesigning the [economic] system.” ~ Sabrina

“I would say the future should be local, and that the future should be measured in terms of social and ecological well being beyond GDP.” ~ Sabrina


Find the full show notes at: 

Connect with Sabrina on Facebook or Twitter @SabrinaChakori or the Brisbane Tool Library website, Facebook and Twitter @BrizToolLibrary

Connect with me via email: 

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.

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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