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University of Sydney research project to capture citizen inputs in developing smart cities

University of Sydney research project to capture citizen inputs in developing smart cities

An announcement
made by the University of Sydney highlighted the importance of being able to
capture the opinions of the citizens regarding urban issues in order to
understand their needs. The University’s Smart Urbanism Lab will develop new
algorithms and tools to capture this information in order to improve
decision-making.

An innovative research being conducted by
the University of Sydney will be able to capture and use trending topics to
inform policy making through the federal government's Smart Cities
and Suburbs Program
.

Participatory Local Government: Enabling
Community Participation for Logan and Canada Bay is a new research project in
developing smart cities being done by the School of Architecture, Design and
Planning’s Smart Urbanism Lab with support from the Australian Government
through the Smart Cities and Suburbs program.

Undoubtedly, social media has changed the
way we engage in all aspects of our lives. We are more connected and have
greater engagement with urban issues. Because of this, governments need new and
advanced means to understand the needs of its citizens.

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and
Principal Dr Michael Spence said, “The program reflects our commitment to
research excellence and strategy of engaging in opportunities raised through
technological advancements.”

The Smart Urbanism Lab at the University of
Sydney identified the need for a human-centred design approach when planning
built environments. Online channels are being used by the citizens to engage on
urban topics, which are more often widely spread, unstructured and may contain
irrelevant noise.

Government and industry have no way of
accessing and analysing these conversations as of current.

Smart Urbanism Lab’s project will develop
new algorithms and tools to capture this information. Inputs from locals
regarding urban development will be captured by local councils and use these
online opinions to improve decision-making.

Ultimately the research could be
implemented across Australia to improve the liveability, productivity and
sustainability of urban areas.

Dr Spence shared, “We are grateful to
receive this grant supporting research that plays an important role in the
forward-thinking of those at the intersection of community, industry and
government. The program reflects our commitment to research excellence and
strategy of engaging in opportunities raised through technological advancements.”

The project aimed to increase community
involvement in the planning and evaluation of major projects in the cities of
Logan in Queensland and Canada Bay in Sydney, according to Federal Minister for
Urban Infrastructure and Cities, the Hon. Paul Fletcher.

He said, “This project will provide
real-time analysis of local attitudes towards major urban projects through a
user- friendly platform that will help local governments keep across issues and
prioritise their efforts.”

Four planning projects within two council
areas will be the focus of the research. Research in the City of Canada Bay
will examine feedback around the transformation of Parramatta Road, with a
second initiative informing the Five Dock revitalisation. 

Research in Logan City will examine
feedback around the master planning for Cronulla Park and also examine feedback
on the Yarrabilba community development.

The University of Sydney School of
Architecture, Design and Planning Director of Urban Design Dr Tooran Alizadeh
said, “We are excited to be partnering with the City of Canada Bay and Logan
City Council for this project.”

She added, “Forward thinking, engaged Local
Government is vital to ensuring citizens are part of smart urban
decision-making processes.”

City of Canada Bay Mayor Angelo Tsirekas
said, “This project, aiming to enhance community participation in the planning
and evaluation of major urban projects, is good news for the residents of our
City.”

He added, “Social media and online
communication has changed the way citizens engage in all aspects of their
lives, from shopping and education to how their communities are being planned
and developed.”

Important relationships between the research
community, industry and government are being built by projects like these
through the use of smart tools and technologies.