The Smart Cities and Infrastructure Cluster (SCIC) seeks to promote and advance the efficient design, planning and delivery of urban environments, infrastructure, and properties through the use of spatially integrated information and smart technologies.

About us

Rapid developments in technology and global urbanisation forces have transformed cities into intensive laboratories for managing and promoting change. Unprecedented streams of “big-data”, hi-tech interfaces and digital analytic tools unlock the potential to both design new types of cities and re-imaging existing urban environments. A city can be defined as ‘smart’ when investments in human and social capital and traditional (transport) and modern (ICT) communication infrastructure promote the following four urban characteristics:

  • resilience and sustainable economic development
  • a high quality of life
  • wise management of natural resources
  • participatory action and engagement.

New Smart Cities such as Songdo City, in South Korea suggest one model of Smart Cities. Another model is represented by the innovative urban ecosystems within older cities, such as NYC and Amsterdam. The research in the cluster is problem focused and aims to change cities for the public good in three ways:
Develop participatory urbanism to empower citizens to interact in new, more efficient and more meaningful ways.
Develop resilient cities through the smart design of sustainable and flexible hi-tech infrastructure and service delivery.
Promote and design cities as healthy, safe and productive environments through the use of smart technologies and evidence based design.

  • Modelling City Futures – A Scenario Planning Approach

    Christopher James Pettit

    For the first time in the history of civilization there are now more people living in cities than rural localities. Significant population growth is intensifying this transition and placing pressure on our cities. For example in Australia the population is projected to almost double between 2010 and 2050. As part of a Smart Cities agenda there is an increasing need for data driven evidence computer planning tools to support communities, planners, policy-makers in envisioning sustainable, productive and resilient cities. Collaborative planning support system (PSS) tools can be used to explore a myriad of future possibilities. Planners and other key actors involved in shaping our cities can create, explore land suitability, land demand and land use allocation scenario for both municipalities and metropolitan areas. Professor Pettit has been leading the developing and application of the Online What if? PSS and has been working the Western Australia Department of Planning in exploring an envelope of future land use scenarios for Perth to Peel metropolitan region using the OWI PSS (Pettit et al. , 2013,2015). The use of scenario planning tools such as What if? offer exciting possibilities in assisting cities plan for their sustainable, productive and resilient future.


    • Pettit, C.J. Klosterman, R.E., Delaney, P., Whitehead, A, L., Kujala, H.,. Bromage, A., Nino-Ruiz, M. (2015). The Online What if? Planning Support System: A Land Suitability Application in Western Australia, Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy. Vol 8, Issue 2, pp 93-112.
    • Pettit, C.J. Klosterman, R.E. Nino-Ruiz, M. Widjaja, I., Tomko, M., Sinnott, R. (2013). The Online What if? Planning Support System in Planning Support Systems for Sustainable Urban Development, Eds Geertman, S and Stillwell, J. Springer Publishers, pp 349-362.

    Responsive Transport Environments

    Matthias Hank Haeusler

    This industry-based research project discusses and evaluates media architecture and media facades in the context of public transport embedded with digital technology (ICT technology). It is expensive, politically difficult and time consuming to build new train lines, bus routes and public transport systems. In contrast the efficiency of existing systems can be improved through better transport passenger information. This project proposes a prototype for the delivery of transport information via retrofitting transport stops with sensors, screens, computing components and ICT technologies that collect data within the public transport system, use the data to generate information about the system and feed them back to passengers via personal screens (smart phones) or public screens (media facades). Such feedback systemscreate info-rich interfaces to help make informed travel decisions. The findings of this investigation where communicated via the book ‘Infostructure – A transport research project’, (Freerange Press, 2012) and an edited book ‘Interchanging – Future Scenarios for Responsive Transport Infrastructure Design’ (Spurbuch, 2014).


    • Gardner, N., Haeusler, M. H., & Tomitsch, M. (2012). Infostructure: A Transport Research Project. Melbourne, Freerange Press. 
    • Gardner, N. L., Haeusler, M. H., Mahar, B., & Tompson, T. (2014). Interchanging: Responsive transport infrastructures for twenty-first century urban digital culture, Baunach, Spurbuch Verlag.

    Sydney’s 3D Economy

    Scott Hawken and Hoon Han

    The focus of this project is to analyse economic heterogeneity within central Sydney using 3D GIS. Work is aimed at identifying clusters of specific industries in a 3D environment. The work will also produce scientific understanding of mixed-use environments and their relationship with different geographic districts and building types. The generation of heterogeneity metrics and the visualisation of industry clusters produce a fine grain picture of the knowledge based city lacking in both industry and government. Such a picture empowers the synthesis of real-estate innovations, macro-economic policies, and urban design codes to produce competitive global urban centres. 


    Adaptation of the STEVE Tool (Screening Tool for Estate Environmental Evaluation) to Sydney conditions

    Marta Bescansa and Paul Osmond

    The project aims to evaluate a software tool developed by the University of Singapore. The tool can estimate the outdoor thermal comfort (temperature and humidity) performance of new developments based on existing urban form, vegetation and weather data. The results feed into a broader research project with the Universities of South Australia and Melbourne. Stakeholders involved include Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne city councils and several industry partners around climate change and urban heat island effects. The ultimate objective of the project is to provide evidence-based guidance for policy makers, planners and designers towards sustainable urbanism in Australian urban contexts.


    • Jusuf, S.K, Wong, N.H., Tan, C.L., Tan, A.Y.K., (2011). STEVE Tool, Bridging the gap between urban climatology research and urban planning process. Proceedings for the International Conference on Sustainable Design and Construction, Kansas City, Missouri, 23-25 March 2011.

    African Smart Cities

    Rumbi Ebbefeld, Dr Scott Hawken, and Dr Sophia Maalsen

    This project investigates the novel use of technology in five of Africa’s smartest cities including Nairobi, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Accra and Lagos and how it contributes to achieving better urban services despite a lack of conventional urban infrastructure. The project specifically explores the potential of technological leapfrogging to replace old or non-existent technology with current versions and how it can be integrated with the social context and stakeholders to place developing cities well on their way to becoming 'smart'.


    • Hawken, S. and Ebbefeld, Emerging African Smart Cities: smart approaches for leapfrogging infrastructure deficits, In Preparation 
  • Research Cluster Meeting 4:00 to 5:00 pm, 7 August 2020

    Research Cluster Meeting 3-4pm, 28th May 2020
    The first meeting for the newly revised research cluster was held on May 28. The agenda was as follows:

    • Welcome Address and Introduction by Cluster Co-Convenors: Dr Samad Sepasgozar and Dr Brian Lee
    • HDR and Publications Update: A/Prof Riza Sunindijo
    • Faculty Research Update: Uttra Benton
    • Industry Partnerships and Enterprise: Prof Deo Prasad
    • Construction and Property Collaborations: A/Prof Chyi Lin Lee

    Ideas and initiatives from cluster members were also discussed. The next meeting will be held in July.

    Read more about past events

  • Call for Chapters

    Open Cities | Open Data: Collaborative Cities in the Information Era

    The UNSW Smart Cities Research Cluster is preparing an edited book entitled Open Cities | Open Data: Collaborative Cities in the Information Era to be published in mid 2018 by Palgrave Macmillan.  The editors call for authors to submit chapters presenting innovative ways to open-up data and to use it in new applications to create smarter, more open cities. Each chapter is to be 5000-6000 words (excluding references) and will be categorised into one of four thematic sections:  (1) Collaborative Cities; (2) Transparent Cities; (3) Adaptive Cities; (4) Liveable and Sustainable Cities.  

    Expressions of Interest (chapter title and abstract) are due by Monday 15 May to

    The publication schedule is as follows:

    • Submit EOI: 15th May 2017
    • Chapter Submission Date:  30th Oct 2017
    • Chapter Peer Review:  1st Nov - 15th Dec 2017 (please note, all chapters will be blind peer reviewed)
    • Chapter Decision:  20th Dec 2017
    • Author submission of revised chapters:  28th Feb 2018
    • Publication:  Mid 2018

    Download call for chapters here.

  • Climate Change and Disaster Management Conference (30th Nov – 4th Dec 2020).

    Across the world, nature-triggered disasters fuelled by climate change are worsening. Some two billion people have been affected by the consequences of natural hazards over the last ten years, 95% of which were weather-related (such as floods and windstorms). Fires swept across large parts of California, and in Australia caused unprecedented destruction to lives, wildlife and bush.

    Disaster management needs to keep up. Good cooperation and coordination of crisis response operations are of critical importance to react rapidly and adequately to any crisis situation, while post-disaster recovery presents opportunities to build resilience towards reducing the scale of the next disaster.

    Hosted by UNSW Sydney and with Professor Sisi Zlatanova as one of the conference chairs, this event will explore technology and resilience by bringing together three conferences:

    • Geographic Information for Disaster Management (GI4DM)
    • Urban Resilience Asia Pacific 2 (URAP2)
    • NSW Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) one-day event

    For more details visit:

    Other conferences that our cluster members are involved in include:

    Call for papers

    International Journal of Digital innovation in the Built Environment (IJDIBE), formerly known as the International Journal of 3-D Information Modeling (IJ3DIM): Professor Sisi Zlatanova is a co-editor of this journal.


    Dr Mohammad Mojtahedi has been invited by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering to attend the Frontiers of Development series of symposia in 2020 which focuses on the theme of disaster resilience. These series bring together the best early- to mid-career researchers and practitioners (5-20 years post-doc or industry equivalent) from industry, academia, government and NGOs in multidisciplinary workshops to address fundamental development challenges, each of them involving 60 attendees (approximately half from the UK, half from the Global South).

    • Crowd and hazards simulations in indoor and outdoor spaces
    • Voxel-based analysis
    • Spatial analysis related to BIM and GIS
    • 3D modelling and reconstruction from point clouds
    • 3D Digital Twins, Urban Modelling
    • Virtual Heritage
    • Spatial Decision Support Systems: Spatial knowledge development, community participation
    • Emergency Management
    • CAD/GIS/BIM/3D scanning/printing
    • BIM/GIS integration
    • 3D data modelling and analysis
    • Urban and Regional Planning and Operations Research - Resilient Buildings, Infrastructure, Disaster Risk Reduction and Evacuation Planning
    • Resilience and disaster management
    • 3D modelling and reconstruction (of buildings and architectural elements) 
    • 3D indoor navigation
    • Computational geometry
    • Information and knowledge management in AEC industry
    • Building Information Modelling (BIM) applications on construction planning, cost management and facility management. 
    • Reducing carbon footprint in the construction process for sustainable development and green building rating. Using BIM, digital twin and other ICT technologies to improve the efficiency and productivity and reduce carbon emissions for smart city and infrastructure development.
    • Health and safety in construction
    • Construction Leaders and Human Resource Management Human e.g. emotional intelligence, leadership, and organisational culture
    • ARC Linkage Project: ARC Value in Operations – Innovative procurement theories to optimise educational outcomes per total cost of school facilities [A/Prof Riza Yosia Sunindijo]. This research aims to develop a novel and cohesive whole-of-procurement decision-making framework for financing, design, construction, operations, and maintenance of schools to advance educational outcomes per total cost of new school facilities. For more details: 
    • Integrated 3D geospatial, toxicological and sociotechnical computational modelling and simulation to elucidate policy, planning, preparedness, response and recovery for major disasters [Mitko Aleksandrov]. Black Swan events are occurring with increasing frequency and impacting humanity more than ever before. Through this project, we consider recent innovations in conceptual approaches to computational modelling and simulation across disciplinary boundaries to understand Black Swan risks, planning and preparedness. 
    • Chimaera Evolution [Mitko Aleksandrov]. An experiment by simulation framework to support CBR medical planning, preparedness and operational response. Bioterrorism Stream collaborative research grant.
    • Virtual Interactive Education Platform for Urban Planning [Mitko Aleksandrov]. Creating a platform that will enable synchronous virtual and physical interaction of users with GIS content on the web.
    • Revisiting Shoei Yoh [Dr Jack Barton].
    • The Fire in the Stone; Lost History [Dr Jack Barton].
    • Virtual City Analytics Lab [Dr Jack Barton].
    • Building Information modelling - Standards Australia [Prof Sisi Zlatanova] 
    • Smart Cities Standards Reference Framework [Prof Sisi Zlatanova]
    • IndoorGML 2.0 [GRID Research Group].  IndoorGML is an OGC standard for an open data model and XML schema for indoor spatial information. It aims to provide a common framework of representation and exchange of indoor spatial information. IndoorGML focuses on modelling indoor spaces for navigation purposes.
    • Delivering diverse and affordable rental housing connected with urban regeneration scheme [A/Prof Hoon Han]. In partnership with the Land and Housing Institute (Korea).    
    • Impacts of new and emerging Assistive Technologies for ageing and disabled housing [Tracy Huang]. 
    • Performance assessment and modeling of construction frameworks for public sector construction [Dr Yat Lam]. In partnership with Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (UK).
    • Modelling a Filtering Process in Expanding Affordable Rental Supply [A/Prof Chyi Lin Lee].
    • Improving Women's Safety in Public Spaces [Dr Brian Lee].
    • Western Sydney Parkland City Sensor Network Project [Prof Chris Pettit]. In partnership with Wollondilly Shire Council.
    • Transport Accessibility Analytics & Visualisation [A/Prof Simone Zarpelon Leao]. In partnership with Penrith City Council.
  • City Analytics Lab

    Construction Mixed Reality (CONXR)

    The construction mixed reality (CONXR) development is a technology development team including software and hardware facilities to support digital based experimentation and investigations.  CONXR builds on the experience of designing, utilising and maintaining the virtual reality modules and applies the relevant knowledge in different projects. CONXR has received the participation of academics, students, technical practitioners, personnel from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering, industry partners CPB, Pells Sullivan Meynink, E.J. Nye & Associates and a number of technical vendors in developing and utilising previous applications.  The CONXR has initiated based on the Scientia Education Investment Fund Grants (SEIF #1) 2018, leading by Dr Samad Sepasgozar and funded by the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

  • Edited Books:

    Book Chapters:

    • Hawken S; Yenneti K; Bodilis C, 2020, 'Mapping Climate Vulnerability with Open Data: A Dashboard for Place-Based Action', in Open Cities | Open Data, Springer Singapore, pp. 151 - 175,
    • Hawken S; Leao SZ; Gudes O; Izadpanahi P; Viswanath K; Pettit C, 2020, 'Safer Cities for Women: Global and Local Innovations with Open Data and Civic Technology', in Open Cities | Open Data, Springer Singapore, pp. 85 - 105,
    • Lock O; Pinnegar S; Zarpelon Leao S; Pettit C, 2020, 'The making of a mega-region: evaluating and proposing long-term transport planning strategies with open-source data and transport accessibility tools', in Geertman S; Stillwell J (ed.), Handbook of Planning Support Science, Edward Elgar Publishing,

    Journal Articles:

    • Abisuga O; Wang C; Sunindijo RY, 2020, 'Facility managers’ responses to user post-occupancy feedback: a conceptual framework', Facilities,
    • Adabre MA; Chan APC; Darko A; Osei-Kyei R; Abidoye R; Adjei-Kumi T, 2020, 'Critical barriers to sustainability attainment in affordable housing: International construction professionals’ perspective', Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 253,
    • Ali Q; Thaheem MJ; Ullah F; Sepasgozar SME, 2020, 'The Performance Gap in Energy-Efficient Office Buildings: How the Occupants Can Help?', Energies, vol. 13, pp. 1480 - 1480,
    • Alattas A; van Oosterom P; Zlatanova S; Hoeneveld D; Verbree E, 2020, 'LADM-IndoorGML for exploring user movements in evacuation exercise', Land Use Policy,
    • Diakite AA; Zlatanova S, 2020, 'Automatic geo-referencing of BIM in GIS environments using building footprints', Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, vol. 80,
    • Farrell A; Sunindijo RY, 2020, 'Overcoming challenges of early contractor involvement in local government projects', International Journal of Construction Management, pp. 1 - 8,
    • He BJ; Ding L; Prasad D, 2020, 'Outdoor thermal environment of an open space under sea breeze: A mobile experience in a coastal city of Sydney, Australia', Urban Climate, vol. 31, pp. 100567 - 100567,
    • He B-J; Ding L; Prasad D, 2020, 'Urban ventilation and its potential for local warming mitigation: A field experiment in an open low-rise gridiron precinct', Sustainable Cities and Society, vol. 55, pp. 102028 - 102028,
    • He B-J; Ding L; Prasad D, 2020, 'Wind-sensitive urban planning and design: Precinct ventilation performance and its potential for local warming mitigation in an open midrise gridiron precinct', Journal of Building Engineering, vol. 29, pp. 101145 - 101145,
    • Hussnain MQU; Waheed A; Anjum GA; Naeem MA; Hussain E; Wakil K; Pettit CJ, 2020, 'A framework to bridge digital planning tools' utilization gap in peri-urban spatial planning; lessons from Pakistan', Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, vol. 80,
    • Krayenhoff ES; Jiang T; Christen A; Martilli A; Oke TR; Bailey BN; Nazarian N; Voogt JA; Giometto MG; Stastny A; Crawford BR, 2020, 'A multi-layer urban canopy meteorological model with trees (BEP-Tree): Street tree impacts on pedestrian-level climate', Urban Climate, vol. 32,
    • Martilli A; Krayenhoff ES; Nazarian N, 2020, 'Is the Urban Heat Island intensity relevant for heat mitigation studies?', Urban Climate, vol. 31,
    • Nazarian N; Scott Krayenhoff E; Martilli A, 2020, 'A one-dimensional model of turbulent flow through "urban" canopies (MLUCM v2.0): Updates based on large-eddy simulation', Geoscientific Model Development, vol. 13, pp. 937 - 953,
    • Nikoohemat S; Diakité AA; Zlatanova S; Vosselman G, 2020, 'Indoor 3D reconstruction from point clouds for optimal routing in complex buildings to support disaster management', Automation in Construction, vol. 113,
    • Pettit C; Biermann S; Pelizaro C; Bakelmun A, 2020, 'A Data-Driven Approach to Exploring Future Land Use and Transport Scenarios: The Online What If? Tool', Journal of Urban Technology,
    • Punt EP; Geertman SCM; Afrooz AE; Witte PA; Pettit CJ, 2020, 'Life is a scene and we are the actors: Assessing the usefulness of planning support theatres for smart city planning', Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, vol. 82,
    • Tahmasebinia F; Zhang C; Canbulat I; Sepasgozar S; Saydam S, 2020, 'A Novel Damage Model for Strata Layers and Coal Mass', Energies, vol. 13, pp. 1928 -1928,
    • Yang S; Cannavale A; Di Carlo A; Prasad D; Sproul A; Fiorito F, 2020, 'Performance assessment of BIPV/T double-skin façade for various climate zones in Australia: Effects on energy consumption', Solar Energy, vol. 199, pp. 377 - 399,
    • Zhou K; Lindenbergh R; Gorte B; Zlatanova S, 2020, 'LiDAR-guided dense matching for detecting changes and updating of buildings in Airborne LiDAR data', ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, vol. 162, pp. 200 - 213,
  • Convenors

    • Dr Brian Lee
    • Dr Changxin Wang
    • Dr Sara Shirowzhan

    Academic Staff

    • Dr Samad Sepasgozar
    • Prof. Chris Pettit
    • Prof Sisi Zlatanova
    • Pro Deo Prasad
    • A/Prof Chyi Lin Lee
    • A/Prof Hoon Han
    • A/Prof Riza Yosia Sunindijo
    • Dr Changxin Wang
    • Dr Yat Lam
    • Dr Mohammad Mojtahedi
    • Dr Simone Zarpelon Leao
    • Dr Sara Shirowzhan 
    • Dr Negin Nazarian
    • Dr Jack Barton
    • Dr Abdoulaye Diakite
    • Dr Rotimi Abidoye
    • Mitko Aleksandrov
    • Tracy Huang

    Higher Degree Researchers

    • Oliver Lock
    • Sugandha
    • Ripan Debnath
    • Behnaz Avazpour
    • Jing Jia
    • Peter Hunt
    • Claire Daniel
    • Mudan Wang
    • Leidos Australia Pty Ltd
    • Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group)
    • Pusan University
    • City Futures Research Centre
    • FrontierSI
    • Spatial Services NSW
    • PAM
    • MapCite
    • Fire+Rescue NSW
    • AAM
    • Astrolabe
    • EIU
    • Transport for NSW
    • RFS NSW
    • AURIN
    • Data61
    • Marubeni
    • Spatial Vision
    • Bentley Systems
    • Brisbane City Council
    • Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
    • Flood Management Australia
    • Mirvac
    • ADCO
    • University of Lyon 2
    • LandSurveys
    • Larki
    • Aconex
    • ProjectCentre
    • CIOB
    • Queensland University of Technology 
    • NSW Department of Education
  • Co-convenors: