The innovative project, supported by the federal government, is set to transform the built environment
A research project by the University of Sydney aims to provide real-time analysis of local attitudes towards major urban projects through a user-friendly platform that captures trending topics. It is being supported by the Australian Government through the Smart Cities and Suburbs programme.
The School of Architecture, Design and Planning’s Smart Urbanism Lab identified the need for a human-centred design approach when planning built environments. Citizens are using online channels to engage on urban topics, however these conversations are widely spread, unstructured and often contain irrelevant noise. Currently there are no clear means for government and industry to access and analyse these conversations.
The project undertaken by the lab will develop new algorithms and tools to capture this information, giving locals a say when it comes to urban development and allowing local councils to capture 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.
“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 programme reflects our commitment to research excellence and strategy of engaging in opportunities raised through technological advancements,” Dr Michael Spence, vice-chancellor and principal, University of Sydney.
Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, Paul Fletcher, said 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. “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,” he said.
The research project, called Participatory Local Government: Enabling Community Participation for Logan and Canada Bay, will focus on four planning projects within the two council areas. 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.
“We are excited to be partnering with the City of Canada Bay and Logan City Council for this project,” said Dr Tooran Alizadeh, director of urban design, the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning.
“Forward thinking, engaged local government is vital to ensuring citizens are part of smart urban decision-making processes.”
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