Next month’s key infrastructure conference in London will be well represented by SMART researchers and staff.

The first International Symposium for Next Generation Infrastructure was held at the University of Wollongong in 2013, convened by five leading universities in the domain of future infrastructure solutions: University College London (UK), Oxford University (UK), Delft University of Technology (NL), University of Wollongong (AU) and Virginia University of Technology (US).

The conference – hosted this year in London (September 11-13 2017) by the University College London – aims to provide a forum for researchers, policy makers and the private sector.

SMART director Professor Pascal Perez will be giving a keynote speech on Smart Cities, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

‘The good about smart cities is the fact that they can cut costs of managing our cities. The Internet of Things enables us to remotely monitor utility networks or built assets and to send people only when it matters, this translates into productivity gains’ he said.

‘Unfortunately, there is the obvious disconnection between current narratives that describe smart cities as more liveable for their residents and most of the current applications focusing on better productivity. We urgently need solutions that directly impact people’s daily lives’ Professor Perez will share with the audience the experience of the Digital Living Lab launched in Wollongong earlier this year, as well as the recent submission by the four local councils in the Illawarra region to the Federal Government for a ‘smart region’ program.

The progress of the Digital Living Lab will also be the subject of a talk by the SMART chief operating officer, Tania Brown.

‘I will be talking about how we are making Wollongong a smart city and the progress of some of the projects already involved,’ she said.

Dr Ricardo Peculis will present two papers at the conference.

In one, he will be talking about System of Systems Integrity, addressing one of the challenges presented during the operation of complex infrastructure systems.

These systems often comprise many constituent systems, when managers need to report ‘how well’ the system is performing and find ways to address consequences of unexpected events that often downgrade the intended performance.

In another, Coping with Social Complexity of Infrastructure Projects, he will explore the social complexity that influences the planning of infrastructure projects.

The paper compiles principles and insights from systems and social theories and puts them into a simple framework intended to help managers and decision makers to better understand the social dynamics that influences the success of infrastructure projects.

Also presenting a paper will be Dr Fariba Ramezani.

Her paper – Impact of Next Generation Infrastructure on Australian Cities – takes an economic approach to understanding the relationship between public infrastructure investment and the liveability of our large cities.

She will explore the policy principles that support good public infrastructure investment and then apply those principles to the proposed South West Illawarra Rail Link, which could potentially better link the Illawarra and Sydney.