Climate Smart Precincts

The Climate Smart Precincts initiative is a coalition of leading businesses and governments that worked with flagship urban precincts to test the policies, technologies and new business models that will lead to low carbon, climate resilient urban development becoming the norm. 

Precincts provide the ideal platform to trial and deploy smart technologies and systems at scale using models that can be replicated around the world.

We started the initiative in Australia with partners ARUP, Lend Lease, IBM, GE and Origin Energy/Cogent, and state governments South Australia, Queensland and Victoria.

Download our initiative brochure.

  • About


    A Climate Smart Precinct is a low carbon, climate resilient precinct where it is easier to make sustainable choices.

    The Climate Smart Precinct uses the power of technology to enable communities to be highly efficient in resource use. Over time the efficiencies delivered by these technologies at the local and regional scale – both in driving down resource inputs and reducing costly pollution – should mean that these precincts are cheaper to build, and cheaper to live and work in.


    Our aim is to ensure that climate smart urban design is the baseline requirement of policy makers, regulators and planners. We want it to be the default option for public and private property developers, and the first choice for residents, commercial tenants, funders and communities. 

    The Climate Smart Precincts initiative will provide a platform for concrete transformative action at urban scale, by:

    • creating a vision and an identity for Climate Smart Precincts in general, and for particular precinct locations; and 
    • facilitating demonstration projects to trial and deploy integrated technology solutions that provide an evidence base for replication.
  • FAQs
    • What is a precinct? A precinct is a geographically bounded area of a critical size that can be anything from a city block to a new suburban development. It can be a greenfield or brownfield site – new or retrofit – and it can be intended for residential, commercial, industrial or mixed-use development. 
    • Why precincts? Precincts are a microcosm of city-wide urban development. Precincts provide the platform to trial and deploy existing technologies and systems in an integrated manner to achieve the greatest environmental, economic and social outcomes. They provide the scale to test commercial viability and the ability to evaluate and replicate solutions. Working at the level of the precinct affords an opportunity to test the “systems thinking” needed to better understand the many and varied interactions between the infrastructure and systems that underpin urban life.
    • What is the role of technology? Technology is a great enabler of the Climate Smart vision, especially when delivered as part of a strategic, coordinated urban design framework. Enabling technologies include distributed and renewable energy generation, intelligent building management systems, electric vehicles and energy storage, smart metering and energy demand management software. Technology also enables other softer innovations in terms of social media, tele-working, and collaborative consumption.
    • What is the role of state governments? The initiative recognizes that state and territory governments have a key role to play in enabling precinct level transformation through policy, regulation and their own approach to developing government-owned land. To that end, government members include South Australia, Victoria and Queensland, all of which are committed to collaborating with the private sector to produce innovative development models and enabling frameworks.
  • Publications

    Climate Smart Precincts: Opportunities Report to First Ministers

    In November 2009, prior to the seventh meeting of the Council for the Australian Federation (CAF) in Adelaide, leaders from business met with First Ministers for a Roundtable discussion convened by The Climate Group. The Roundtable was followed by a one day CAF-sponsored workshop for state government and business representatives in 2010, to clearly define future areas for collaborative action and desired outcomes.

    The outcome of that workshop was an Opportunities Report, presented to First Ministers in July 2010. The Report mapped out opportunities for collaboration between state governments and leading businesses to create low-carbon, climate-resilient urban developments. The meeting produced a set of priorities for collaboration and a draft list of desired attributes for Climate Smart Precincts, designed to progress a shared vision of low-carbon development.

    Climate Smart Precincts: Adelaide Workshop Report

    South Australia was the first State Government to introduce Flagship precincts to the initiative. In February 2011, The Climate Group and the South Australian Government jointly ran two workshops with members of the initiative, examining the opportunities for two urban development sites – Bowden Village and Tonsley Park – to be Climate Smart Precincts. 

    The workshop discussions gave rise to the Climate Smart Precincts Adelaide Workshop report, which was presented to the South Australian Premier in June 2011, and is informing the future planning and design of Tonsley Park in particular, given its early stage of development. The workshops and the report helped form the seven Climate Smart Precinct principles, which provide the framework for the recommendations made. 

    Climate Smart Precincts: Adelaide Workshop Report

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