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Whittlesea launches smart city data project for public space management

The city council said the data will enable it to be more efficient and effective in the way it manages public buildings and outdoor spaces.

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Whittlesea is located around 20km north from Melbourne's Central Business District
Whittlesea is located around 20km north from Melbourne's Central Business District

The Australian city of Whittlesea has announced it will lead a multi-council smart cities pilot programme which uses data to improve how public spaces are managed.

 

The project is funded through the Australian government’s smart cities and suburbs programme and is being delivered in partnership with La Trobe University, RMIT University, and Banyule, Mitchell, Moreland and Nillumbik councils.

 

Anonymous data

 

A network of sensors is being installed throughout the city of Whittlesea to collect anonymous data showing how people are using spaces, air quality, water levels and waste volumes.

 

The city council said the data will enable it to be more efficient and effective in the way it manages public buildings and outdoor spaces.

 

“The smart cities programme will enable us to be efficient and responsible in the way we manage public buildings and outdoor spaces.”

 

The city is installing five types of sensors:

  • 38 trackers for council vehicles such as drain cleaners, street sweepers, trailers, trucks and tippers to track usage
  • 62 bin sensors in 35 parks to better manage waste collection
  • eight air quality sensors to monitor air quality and environmental factors in urban areas and in Whittlesea Township
  • five water level monitoring sensors to collect flood level data
  • 21 people-counting sensors in three town centre locations to measure pedestrian activity and health of town centres.

According to Emilia Lisa Sterjova, mayor, the city of Whittlesea is leading the way with the introduction of smart sensors to help the council be more intelligent in the way it delivers services to the community.

 

“The smart cities programme will enable us to be efficient and responsible in the way we manage public buildings and outdoor spaces,” she said.

 

“These important insights we gain through the pilot programme will help us improve our services to the community and make improvements in the way we operate.”

 

The pilot project will run until June 2020.

 

Growth: Opportunities and challenges

 

The city of Whittlesea is one of Melbourne’s largest municipalities, located about 20km north of the city. It has been designated one of six “growth areas” along the fringes of Melbourne. Between 2016 and 2041 it will grow by 175 000 people in 62,400 additional households.

 

Growth will, reportedly, provide significant benefits, providing the critical mass that will make businesses, services and infrastructure viable.

 

However, growth and diversity also make Whittlesea vulnerable to some of the negative effects of emerging challenges – such as increasing demand for infrastructure, changing work patterns, increasing transport issues, climate change and social disconnection.

 

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