Rapid convergence of utility and mobility solutions enabled by data and the Internet of Things is future-proofing economies around the world, delivering liveability, sustainability and resilience, and importantly decreasing pressure on utility bills and infrastructure costs. Australians cannot miss out on the many benefits brought to families and businesses by the digitisation of infrastructure and services, not just reduced household bills but also the ability to generate income as prosumers, not consumers. Localised sustainable Next-Gen infrastructure and services are growing from within communities, creating a new class of consumer-the prosumer: where customers are more than consumers but also producers. Prosumers have the ability to generate free energy from the sun at home or office and sell the excess, recycle water and waste reaping the financial benefit, avoid the second largest household expense of a car by sharing mobility, and access shared data networks to plug in and play at little cost. Planning frameworks play a critical role in enabling a new utility prosumer future in Australia and reform of planning gateway processes is essential. This article highlights Sydney’s Central Park as a best practice urban infill development showcasing how the flows of water and energy are organised to provide enhanced sustainability, liveability and resilience for the local and neighbouring communities. Central Park proves the benefits of taking a precinct approach to utility and mobility services. It shows how these benefits can grow and be exported to neighbouring buildings and existing communities, in this case University of Technology driving inclusion and affordability. Central Park also demonstrates the opportunities to drive deeper socio/environmental benefits by enabling prosumer services through low-cost access to utility services and circular resource flows. Importantly, this article demonstrates that Central Park’s phenomenal sustainability benefits can be replicated at scale in land release communities, but planning reform is required.
- utility convergence
- urban infill