Much of the work we do at Kinesis involves assisting our clients automate smart resource reporting practices for their existing assets and activities, as well as predict the future impact of assets they are building. Often we find there is a lag between the insights we gather from the data and decisive action that that we know could make a tangible difference.

I had a chat with Jess Scully of Vivid last week and we both ended up asking ourselves "why our city planning didn’t respond with urgency to those baseline metrics that materially impact our lifestyles, you know; public health, mobility choice, housing affordability and all those other chestnuts that we espouse?"

We wondered if improving the quality and granularity of data and reporting could be the answer?

I thought about it over the weekend and this is what I resolved:

  • There are terabytes of valuable data now that we are either ignorant of or chose to ignore in both corporate, community and city wide reporting.
  • We don’t need more data but better enabled data.
  • We need richer information gained by a better understanding of all the data we currently have access.
  • We need to editorialise data in a way so it gets a broader consumer base.

The above is hardly an original thought worth publishing; however I am glad that it aligns to the integrated reporting work we are doing at the moment with one of Australia’s biggest listed property groups and the work we are doing with our city clients on data visualisation around smart cities.

Just to prove this a bit I asked Pat Fensham of SGS Economics and Planning (my choice as Australia’s leading practitioner on the benefits of city planning) if on a scale of 1 to 10 how he thought the data we have regarding housing choice and affordability is being responded to nationally in terms of city planning – he gave it a four out of ten. 

He noted, “the solutions to the housing ‘problem’ are admittedly multi-faceted but we know at least where to start: reform of national taxation settings related to housing, reform of planning controls to facilitate greater turnover of infill land for more sustainable and diverse medium and higher density housing and greater investment in social and affordable housing to assist low to moderate income households.”

How does our city governance continue to fail in implementing solutions we know ‘will work’? What would be required to change it?

The answers to these questions are inevitably what we end up scrutinising with our clients and also will be the main focus of our writings in this blog over the coming weeks.

What is certain is that we must stop talking to the converted.  We need richer information and we need to make it digestible and part of the broader population’s regular information intake.