Academics from several universities and representatives from Landcom met at the SMART Infrastructure Facility this week to discuss issues around and the future of urban growth and redevelopment in NSW.

The “Thinking Cities Community of Practice” is one of four multi-disciplinary groups established as part of Landcom’s University Roundtable. The University Roundtable includes Landcom and a range of other NSW agencies as well as representatives from eight NSW universities.

‘We have four communities of practice – Thinking Cities, Funding Cities, Building Cities and Living cities,’ Landcom’s  Manager Collaborative Learning, Nicole Campbell, said.

‘They are the think tanks for looking at challenging urban ideas and innovations and looking at how we can co-create research in partnership with academics and industry.’

Landcom’s University Roundtable Research program currently has 11 collaborative research projects under way at the moment,

Just finished, is a study looking at the opportunities for autonomous and connected vehicles in The Bays Precinct in Sydney, of which UoW’s Professor Pauline McGuirk took a leading role. Another recently completed project looked at valuing adaptive use for heritage assets –  highly relevant for a number of Landcom and the UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporations’ project sites.

Academics from the University of Wollongong are taking part – along with colleagues from the University of New South Wales and Western Sydney University – in a project called “The Connected City”, which is exploring opportunities to utilise data analytics to inform decisions on strategic projects. The project also aims to establish an online portal to enable access to data associated with Landcom’s urban transformation projects

‘The Connected City is a very important piece of work that we anticipate will come out in the first half of next year,’ Ms Campbell said.

We want to match the best and brightest minds from academia with our best and brightest from within Landcom and work together on challenging urban issues.

‘Landcom’s University Roundtable and the Communities of Practice is a new model of how government, academia and industry can work together collaboratively’

‘It’s a really exciting space to be in and I am delighted to be here with the Thinking Cities Community of Practice at the University of Wollongong today.’

SMART director Professor Pascal Perez says he is especially excited about introducing ARKI_Lab – a Danish urban design firm – to members of the CoP-Thinking Cities during today’s meeting.

The firm has pioneered a game – ARKI_nopoly – which is designed to bring the stakeholders of an urban development together to collaboratively create a vision for an urban space.

‘We realised that creating the game for a specific precinct takes quite a bit of time, and collecting the information is a massive undertaking because it’s all done with pen and paper,’ Professor Perez said.

‘So we have developed a digital version which has created a very positive response from our colleagues at Landcom.

‘We hope to propose a project to Landcom next year that will make use of the digital game in several redevelopment precincts.’