Christchurch is a city telling its own story.

Alive with the pulse of incredible potential, Christchurch is leading the way internationally in using information to shape how people go about their everyday lives.

Rebuilding the city has allowed us to look to the future, where thousands of digital sensors can inform people and businesses about everything from water and air quality right through to energy consumption and traffic flow.

Sensing City is helping to revolutionise the way business is done, the way the city is run, and the way people live here.

There is an incredible air of optimism as Christchurch becomes a city for the future. Sensing City is working with both private and public organisations to give priority to integrating sensors and collecting data about how the city functions in real time, and informs how it better serves it's citizens.

What is Sensing City?

The Sensing City is a social enterprise driven by three core values which must be present for the whole system to be viable. They are:


The information must be open. This means that the same information that is available to the City Council will also be available to the public. This not only creates total transparency, it also creates an innovative ecosystem where a two-person start up company has the same advantage with the information as a multi-national corporation.

Individual freedom

Individuals will not be tracked. Sensing City believes there is more value in tracking flows of things across the city (water, traffic etc) than tracking individuals. Arguably the technology to track an individual is already widely accepted by society, with cellphones carried by the majority of the population.

Measure everything

The real value of the concept is reached when anything that can be measured is measured. The value of measuring a certain variable may not be fully understood at the implementation stage, but is likely to be discovered at a later date from an unexpected source.


The objectives for the Sensing City initiative are:

  • To be the catalyst in the creation of new information-based services and solutions to benefit citizens, improving quality of life and enhancing the way people live and the way business is done in Christchurch.
  • To position Christchurch at the very forefront of future cities by kick starting a new information-focused export industry in New Zealand. We will encourage inward investment, help stimulate growth, foster the development of local expertise and attract talent to the region.
  • Working with key partners, we will create and manage a city-wide data service platform and world first data unification model to integrate and provide access to a range of city data sets from multiple sources.

For Christchurch to become a Sensing City beacon, there are several key components:

Sensors must be installed in public buildings, infrastructure and spaces, as well as in private buildings.

A world first enterprise architecture must be created that supports the collection of data from multiple sources, including the sensors deployed across the city, other public and private sources, and allow citizens to contribute by using data from sensors in smart phones and any other appropriate sources that emerge over time.

The data is made available and can be transformed into information and applications that generate benefits for all sectors.

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