The City Analytics Lab (CAL) is a dedicated space designed to support collaborative city planning and user centred design. CAL is situated within the School of Built Environment, UNSW and supports both research (City Analytics) and teaching (Master of City Analytics). CAL compromises a large decision support theatre, and three dedicated Virtual Reality (VR) / Augmented (AR) Reality rooms, along with a Tangible Table sandbox and observation rooms for undertaking experiments. CAL has been established to support the envisioning of sustainable, productive, liveable and resilient cities and provides a unique opportunity to study the decision-making processes associated with city planning and design.
The City Analytics Lab – decision support theatre has six high resolution multi-touch screen cruiser tables. This lab configures to allow users to work collaboratively in a group setting and interact with digital data, planning and design tools.
Virtual Reality (VR) provides users highly realistic and dynamic experiences. Using VR technologies in undertaking city analytics facilitates communication and collaboration for better decision-making.
Participant observation is a social science technique which has been widely used for investigating human interactions. The observation rooms are designed specifically for this purpose. Two one-way-mirrors separate adjoining rooms allowing researchers to observe and record the behavior of participants in user-centred designed experiments, both for individual and group based tasks.
The AR sandbox displays a dynamic topographic map comprised by of a box containing kinetic sand, a projector, and a Microsoft Kinect 3D camera which is connected to a computer system. A user can shape the kinetic sand where contour lines, elevation colour maps, and simulated water are projected in real-time.
*The AR sandbox was developed by UC Davis, California.
CAL also comprises eye tracking technology. Tobii pro Glasses 2 and Virtual Reality Eye Tracker allow researchers to run studies to analyse users’ visual attention in a controlled environment.
Professor Christopher Pettit
Associate Professor Simone Zarpelon Leao
Associate Dean - International (joint), Senior Lecturer in City Analytics
Dr Vivien Shi