Gathering usage date will also help the council know how to better manage traffic and services at events
The University of Adelaide will head a newly created Australian Smart Cities Consortium working with local and state government, entrepreneurs and industry to help transform Adelaide into a smart city.
Experts from across the university’s five faculties will work jointly with the consortium, working at city-scale and supporting development of policy, new products, designs and services.
“Our smart cities initiative is unique because of our ability to link smart science and technology to social well-being and business outcomes because of the broad range of research disciplines the Consortium brings together,” said professor Mike Brooks, interim vice-chancellor, University of Adelaide.
“Our students will have the opportunity to work alongside researchers in computing, engineering and sciences together with urban design and other social and economic disciplines – producing real benefits for the people of Adelaide.”
‘Smart parks’ will be one key focus of the consortium under a new agreement with the City of Prospect as part of the connected places project.
The university and Prospect will work together to help Prospect, and other local councils, to use new low-band wi-fi and other technologies to gather information about use of public spaces so they can be better managed, maintained and provide what the public want.
“Smart cities initiatives are about making cities better for the people who live there,” said associate professor Nick Falkner, director of the University of Adelaide’s Australian Smart Cities Consortium.
“Smart city thinking makes good use of rapidly developing technology to help to make cities work better, easier to navigate, safer, healthier and more enjoyable places to live. A big part of that is information gathering, without compromising privacy – seeing how people use the infrastructure and public spaces, keep track of resource use, finding out what people want in their city.”
The work carried out in Prospect by the consortium will involve using non-camera based sensors – ensuring there is no personal identification or invasion of privacy – to analyse how people are using the parks at different times and monitor what’s happening in the park.
For example, sensors could reveal how the play equipment is being used. If one of the swings stands out as unused, then the council would know that it may need some repair or maintenance.
Gathering usage date will also help the council know where it needs to mow, where to apply more water, how to better manage traffic and services at events.
Other initial projects will include:
Developing best practice in the ethics and governance of personal data across a wide range of platforms;
‘Smart wayfinding and connected places’ in Port Adelaide as part of the city redevelopment: a virtual exploration of the Port Adelaide centre;
Campus food gardens: demonstrating Indigenous knowledge, plant conservation, and sustainable gardening on campus;
Virtual overlay beacon application: adding information overlays to physical objects across the University of Adelaide campus.
Mark Groote, acting mayor of City of Prospect, added that the agreement between six local government bodies, led by Prospect, to implement and harness new technology “is another step towards a digital future, which will ultimately benefit communities using our public spaces, and councils in the way we manage parks, gardens and play spaces”.
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