The World Economic Forum 2023 has selected Auckland Council’s Safeswim as one of three winners of the Digital Twin Cities Global Pioneer Project.
The award recognises technical excellence and acknowledges the careful planning and collaboration between public and private sector partners to design and deliver solutions to address pressing urban challenges.
Safeswim is a partnership between Auckland Council, Watercare, Northland Regional Council, Auckland Regional Public Health Service, Surf Life Saving Northern Region and Surf Life Saving New Zealand.
A digital twin city is a virtual analytical model that recreates a physical city or real-world object that enables simulation, monitoring, and control of complex urban scenarios, enhancing efficiency and sustainability.
Auckland Council’s Safeswim Programme Manager, Holly Foreman says the award is an outstanding result for a tool that has now become embedded when Aucklanders decide when and where to swim.
“We set out to provide the best information to the people of Auckland about the risk of swimming at sites across Tāmaki Makaurau. It is gratifying that both the value of the Safeswim tool, and its powerful and complex digital technology has been recognised by the World Economic Forum,” she says.
Over the past year, the World Economic Forum, in partnership with the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, brought together industry partners from a wide range of industries around the world to evaluate leading practices from dozens of digital twin cities – and Safeswim came out in the top three.
Safeswim is powered by Moata, a digital twin platform developed by Mott MacDonald. Moata enables Safeswim to share real time water quality information with the public via the Safeswim website.
Nasrine Tomasi, Smart Water Product Lead at Mott Macdonald, says being selected as a Digital Twin Cities Global Pioneering Project for the Safeswim water quality initiative, is an affirmation of Auckland Council’s dedication to innovation and forward-thinking.
“Safeswim is a water quality digital twin using advanced technology to turn data into useful information, helping to keep Tāmaki Makaurau water users safe by providing real-time insights to communities.”
The judges noted the best practices of Safeswim and the pragmatism demonstrated by the project, would provide new ideas and thinking for other cities pursuing innovative urbanism. It would also make an important contribution to efforts to build smarter, sustainable, and more inclusive cities and communities.
The winners were selected after three rounds of professional selection by a global jury of dozens of the world’s leading Digital Twin Cities practices over 12 months.
The other two cities recognised were Hong Kong and Ürümqi (China).