The CSIRO has opened its first operational Urban Living Lab at the Sydney Science Park in western Sydney in partnership with the park’s developer, Celestino, enabling research in smart city technologies to be undertaken in a real urban environment.
CSIRO said it would be “a place where researchers, industry, government and communities can get together and create, design and test innovative urban development concepts, moving beyond the lab into the real world.”
Sydney Science Park, according to Celestino, is a $5b project that will create an internationally recognised epicentre for research and development in the heart of Western Sydney. “Set over 280ha, Sydney Science Park will be a fully integrated community that will create more than 12,000 knowledge based jobs, cater to over 10,000 students and be home to over 10,000 residents,” Celestino says.
CSIRO said researchers would be able to use the lab to examine the connections between issues such as urban greening, energy efficiency, demands for water, community wellbeing and health and the impacts of technological advancements, all within a real urban environment.
“The research will be critical for developing and renewing our cities and urban spaces to be sustainable in the face of pressures such as population changes and climate change,” CSIRO said.
Examples of smart city technologies
Examples of the research topics already under consideration include:
- the impact of increased urban greening on local temperatures and ecology, changes in energy and water demand and consumption, and the influence on community wellbeing and health;
- smart water systems that can efficiently provide different classes of water for different uses on demand;
- the influence of digital disruptions and information technology advances on urban structure, industry development and community connectivity.
Assistant minister for Science, Craig Laundy said the new initiative would deliver significant urban, environmental and innovative outcomes for the region and beyond.
“The Urban Living Lab initiative offers a new way for researchers, industry, community and government to co-innovate and provide a place to address a range of challenges facing the urban sector.”
CSIRO Land and Water acting director Paul Bertsch said: “By working with government and industry, our research will enable Australia’s cities to become more economically, environmentally and socially resilient.”
Celestino CEO John Vassallo Celestino said : “New sustainable transport solutions will also be encouraged as well as inventions that conserve water and energy and drive down utility bills. Once developed, all of these technologies will be tested on the homes, businesses, shops, roads and parks of Sydney Science Park.”
He added: “You need to test new urban-living technologies in a real urban environment. … We don’t just want inventions, we want new prototypes commercialised and rolled out to the market.”