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“There’s a real sense of public participation and being empowered as a citizen.”
Canberra’s status as a smart city is on the up thanks to Brook Dixon.
As Managing Director of Delos Delta, Brook Dixon works with towns and cities—including Canberra— to plan and take advantage of tech opportunities to help people live and work smarter.
“Canberra offers great case studies in smart policy and smart technology, but also a progressive government and citizens. More and more, Canberra is a place of possibility,” Brook says.
Apart from spending 2 years in Sydney, Brook’s lived and worked here ever since he moved for uni from central-west NSW. He says it’s the perfect size for his family, and the easy commute means he can enjoy time with his family at both ends of the day.
“I don’t want to spend hours getting to work every day,” Brook says. “For me, whether I ride a bike or run to work, whether I drive or take public transport, I’ve got options. I can be at work within 10 to 20 minutes.”
Brook has been influential in making Canberra a connected, digital city.
In his previous job as Director of Smart City and Smart Regulation for the ACT Government, Brook set up CBRfree – one of the largest, free public Wi-Fi programs in the country. It’s an important internet source for 20,000 of us Canberrans and our city’s visitors.
“We take care of people here in Canberra. We look after those who might not have the opportunities that the rest of us take for granted.”
Brook points out that our city is a place where exciting things can happen because our leaders live here.
“You can test and trial new technologies and policies, get involved in political and democratic processes, and that contributes to Canberra being a really exciting place to live,” he says.
Brook led the Uber reforms in Canberra. We were the first Australian city to legalise ride-sharing, with other states and territories following our lead.
Excited about Canberra’s future, Brook thinks by encouraging public debate and community conversation, our local government is helping us advance Canberra together.
“In terms of being a destination, our momentum is only going to continue to grow,” he says.
“There’s a real sense of public participation and being empowered as a citizen. It’s exciting to be part of the process and have a voice in the future of our city.”
Brook also points to our growing sense of identity as a big step forward for our city, making it attractive to potential new residents.
“There’s been a marked change not only in the incredible range of things offered here in Canberra but also in terms of our identity and our confidence as a city,” he says.
“If a city has a sense of confidence, a sense of identity, a sense of purpose and a sense that we’re special—and heading in a cool direction—that attracts people here.”