Australia’s smart city wants to be the next Silicon Valley – fr

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Australia’s smart city wants to be the next Silicon Valley – fr


A computer generated aerial view of Greater Springfield near Brisbane, Australia.
Groupe Springfield City
Travel along the sunny shores of Australia’s Gold Coast, 25 kilometers from Brisbane, and you’ll discover Greater Springfield, a city different by design.
You may never have heard of it. Without surprise; the city is not yet 30 years old. But that doesn’t hold him back. In a few years, it could be the next Silicon Valley, says developer Springfield City Group (SCG).

“The world has learned a lot from Silicon Valley,” founder Maha Sinnathamby told CNBC. “We said: it’s 85 years old. Let’s design the latest version. “

Sinnathamby is the brains behind Greater Springfield, Australia’s only privately-built city and its first planned city since the capital Canberra was established over a century ago. The octogenarian property mogul – who has spent a 50-year career creating residential and commercial developments across Australia – said his latest project, like his Silicon Valley inspiration, is to create a modern business center designed around technology, education and healthcare.

We are trying to attract microsofts and googles from around the world.

Maha Sinnathamby

Founder and Chairman, Springfield City Group

And now he’s looking for big companies to help him achieve the next step in his estimated $ 68 billion vision.

“We’re trying to attract microsofts and googles from all over the world,” Sinnathamby said, noting that the group is currently in talks with a multinational tech company.

An innovation hub for Asia-Pacific

Developed on 7,000 acres of land purchased for $ 6.1 million, Greater Springfield – the tenth largest planned community in the world – is already a living and breathing city that has changed a lot since the disused Sinnathamby logging operation acquired in 1992.

Now home to 46,000 residents, 16,500 homes, 11 schools, a national university campus, a hospital and a railway line connecting it to neighboring Brisbane, Sinnathamby said the city was so far 25% complete after received $ 15 billion in private and public funding.

But more companies are needed to make it a true hub of innovation in Asia-Pacific and achieve its goals of tripling the population and creating 52,000 new jobs by 2030. To date, 20,000 jobs have been created. directly and indirectly as part of the project, SCG mentioned.

“We want to energize it with very respectable companies that are very talented and want to make a lot of profit,” Sinnathamby said. “We cannot do this huge job on our own. “

Greater Springfield is Australia’s first privately-built city and the tenth largest master planning community in the world.

Groupe Springfield City

The bait, as Sinnathamby puts it, is the location of the city’s greenfield, which, like Silicon Valley, provides a space for businesses to experiment. This includes offering specially designed facilities in which large companies and small start-ups can innovate. In the meantime, its “living laboratory” allows the testing of new technologies related to smart work, life, learning and play.

Engie SA is a company which is currently testing the waters. In 2018, the French utility company signed a 50-year strategic alliance to make Greater Springfield Australia the first net-zero energy city in Greater Springfield Australia, with the aim of showcasing its green credentials.

By 2038, Engie predicts that the city will generate more energy than it consumes by focusing on five key pillars: urban planning, mobility, buildings, energy and technology. Increasing the infrastructure of electric vehicles, prioritizing public transport, constructing environmentally friendly buildings, introducing solar panels on all available rooftops and keeping 30% of the region’s land ownership for open green spaces are making part of the different methods he will use to achieve this.

Elsewhere, earlier this month, Sydney start-up Lavo chose Greater Springfield as the hub for manufacturing its ‘world’s first set’ of 30-year-old hydrogen batteries, supposed to be able to power a home for two. days with a single charge.

Develop a knowledge workforce

The new business operations will be in the Knowledge District of Greater Springfield, the city’s main employment center designed to attract knowledge workers with skills related to its foundational pillars: technology, education and healthcare. health.

Health City, a 128-acre health center developed with Harvard Medical International, will provide the best healthcare as well as thousands of medical jobs, Sinnathamby said. Meanwhile, the city’s expanding educational network, including two new universities and a focus on indigenous communities, will nurture the new generation of professionals, he said.

I want partners to commit to this vision.

Maha Sinnathamby

Founder and Chairman, Springfield City Group

“We’re very closely committed to trying to make sure that this knowledge zone is a gift not just to Australia but maybe to the world,” Sinnathamby said.

Still, the project schedule cannot be ignored. The pandemic has led many to rethink the attractiveness of major business centers, with some estimates suggesting that up to 53% of U.S. tech and media workers have already left or plan to leave the cost of it behind. growing life in big cities.

Sinnathamby, however, is convinced that his vision for the future Australian city will hold up – and perhaps even provide a blueprint for others. Focusing on emerging industries, Greater Springfield appears to have weathered the pandemic better than other places, recording an unemployment rate of 3.9% compared to Queensland’s state level of 5.9%.

“I am committed to this project as a nation-building project,” Sinnathamby said. “Now I want partners to commit to this vision.”

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