Problem Statement

Population growth, energy poverty, liveability, and climate change are major challenges cities will face in the future. Rapid population growth in cities has increased pressure on the environment, resource use and infrastructure through natural habitat loss, increased consumption of energy, water and materials, and urban sprawl. Energy poverty is also an important issue in cities as many people with low incomes are unable to access energy services, which can be a seriously detriment to their health and wellbeing. Climate change will also continue to make a significant impact on cities’ services, ecosystems and human health. Effectively responding to this requires new thinking, approaches and technologies to deliver better solutions that can enable the restoration of ecosystems, the transition towards low carbon living, the acceleration of sustainable, resilient and smart cities, and the creation of positive impacts on the environment, society and economy.


The High Performance Architecture (HPA) research cluster develops multi-disciplinary, collaborative and integrative approaches to addressing major challenges facing our cities. HPA research, leadership and innovation towards sustainable, resilient, regenerative and smart cities covers the following areas:

  1. Developing sustainable cities and communities in alignment with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).
  2. Developing smart cities and communities through AI technologies, including machine learning and integration of multi-agent systems with Virtual Power Plant (VPP) to optimise energy management and control, tailored to specific urban contexts.
  3. Developing a National Observatory (national datasets) and scientific analysis methods for benchmarking urban heat vulnerability for Australian cities.
  4. Analysing urban heat island mitigation strategies tailored to specific state and local government planning controls. 
  5. Understanding decision-making in regenerative development that can enable the creation of positive value adding outcomes.


  • An AI-enabled system for smart demand response and renewable energy use during heatwaves at a precinct level (2022)
  • Smart community pilot study (2021)
  • Integrating urban cooling in local government planning provisions (2021)
  • Cooling South Melbourne (2020)
  • Cooling Sydney Strategy: Planning for Sydney 2050 (2019)
  • UNEP’s guidelines for sustainable cities and communities in China (link) (2018)
  • Sustainable Smart Cities (2017)