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:
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.
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 such as the open source Online What if? (OWI) PSS tool 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.
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).
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.
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.
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'.
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:
Ideas and initiatives from cluster members were also discussed. The next meeting will be held in July.
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:
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:
For more details visit: https://conference.unsw.edu.au/en/ccdm2020
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): https://www.igi-global.com/journal/international-journal-digital-innovation-built/224363. 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).
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.
Higher Degree Researchers