The state of New South Wales in Australia has announced its latest Smart City Innovation Challenge – Safer Public Spaces for Women and Girls. This challenge is part of the provinces’ Smart Places Acceleration Program which is facilitated by a AUS$45 million funding grant under the Digital Restart Fund. The Smart Places Acceleration Program aims to solve problems and improve the quality of life for communities across regional and metropolitan New South Wales.
While recognizing the importance of green, open, and public spaces, the government is also aware that women and girls do not always feel completely safe and comfortable, due to crime and harassment. To remedy this situation, they are seeking innovative technology solutions that will: increase people’s feelings of personal safety; make public spaces more accessible for women; promote areas for women and girls to enjoy at all times; and collect data to better understand how women and girls use public spaces.
The Innovation Challenge has three phases:
- Phase 1 – Pitchfest: September – October 2022 – where applications outlining a proposed solution to the challenge will be assessed;
- Phase 2 – Feasibility study: December – February 2023 – with up to 3 successful applicants entering into funding agreements for up to AUS$50,000 (~ US$34,000) to conduct a feasibility study over two months in partnership with the NSW Government; and
- Phase 3 – Proof of concept: March 2023-2024 – with the potential for one applicant to enter into a contract for up to AUS$1 million to develop the concept further.
“It is an absolute travesty that one in six people across our country suffers from sexual harassment or sexual violence,” NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said.”While we have made significant inroads over time it is a blight on our state and nation. We need to do better.”