6 smart ideas we should steal from Melbourne

The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) recently named Melbourne, Victoria, Australia the 2017 Intelligent Community of the Year. With a number of initiatives and projects underway, there’s a lot Canada can learn more Melbourne!

1) More fibre-optic connections  

Melbourne’s Lightning Broadband project aims to connect under-served high-rise apartments and businesses with wireless and fibre-optic broadband. This initiative is similar to the SWIFT Network in Grey County and other Southwestern Ontario counties, which is connecting rural communities.

2) Coding for girls and women

Code Like a Girl is a training and educational program in Melbourne for girls and women aged 13 to 45. Through Code Like a Girl, girls and women learn basic programming skills and are introduced to a whole new world of career opportunities.

3) Educate seniors

The Life Experience Skills Sharing program pairs post-secondary students with socially isolated elderly people so the younger generation can teach digital skills that can improve the seniors’ lifestyle. The students also benefit, improving their communication skills.

4) Digital/tech festivals

The Melbourne Knowledge Week Festival features conferences, workshops, and demos that promote and share ideas on how to build a smarter and more innovative city. I can picture something like this taking place in Toronto, potentially in the east end where some new creative/tech space is opening soon.

5) Connect researchers and industry

The Advanced Manufacturing Precinct partners researchers with industry giants, and provides the technology, materials, and equipment to develop products and prototypes. They’ve developed a 3D printed spine implant, as well as an improved car seat for the Tesla Model S.

Melbourne is also working on developing the Carlton Connect Initiative, which will be the city’s largest innovation district, housing the Melbourne School of Engineering and focusing on establishing more partnerships between researchers and the industry.

6) Support for the homeless

Like the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Melbourne’s cost of living is high, making homelessness an issue. Melbourne recently developed a mobile app that connects the homeless with essential services, like food, shelter, and health clinics.