Federal smart cities grant for Parramatta

Innovative smart climate neighbourhood technology will be trialled in the City of Parramatta following a Federal Government Smart Cities grant of $571,000.

Critically, the grant provides half the funding for the $1.14 million project to monitor baseline environmental conditions at Melrose Park, prior to and during the early construction of up to 6000 apartments.

“Council is proud to lead this project with development company PAYCE and the University of Technology Sydney,” City of Parramatta Council Lord Mayor, Cr Andrew Wilson, said.

Smart sensors will be placed throughout the 30ha development site in Melrose Park to collect environmental data and transmit it 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This will build powerful insights about the area’s liveability ahead of the planned ten-year construction period.

Approximately 70 smart sensors will measure humidity, temperature, noise, air quality and water run-off.

“The data from this smart climate neighbourhood project will help inform planning in order to enhance urban liveability, as well as improve outcomes across our vibrant City of Parramatta,” Mr Wilson said.

“This smart modelling approach could be rolled out across Western Sydney, and Australia.”

Real-time environment data will be fed into modelling software along with 3D designs of the Melrose Park development. This allows designs for landscaping, or building orientation and placement, to be tweaked to mitigate urban heat, poor air quality and noise pollution.

“Fundamentally, smart cities initiatives use data and technology to make places more liveable for the community,” PAYCE Director, Dominic Sullivan, said.

“The key issue with design is not just the buildings themselves, but what is in between them, such as paths, public areas and landscaping. Early data will be important for design in terms of spacing, landscaping and potentially the orientation of the buildings.

“Data is going to become critical in how we design and deliver new urban environments.”

UTS’s Technology for Urban Liveability Program (TULIP) is key to the project. This program collates the climate data with 3D development plans, through world-leading technologies, industry partners and researchers.

“This is a test case — an extremely interesting one,” said Senior Research Consultant at UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures and TULIP Program Manager, Andrew Tovey.

“It has the potential to revolutionise the way we do planning and architecture across the city, and across the country. It could well be a game-changer for smarter planning, leading to more liveable and climate-adapted neighbourhoods across Parramatta LGA.”

Through TULIP, UTS will deploy environmental sensors, collect and manage data, and work with partners to undertake advanced environmental modelling and 3D visualisations.

TULIP is groundbreaking because of its modular interoperability — it is not tied into one software system — and collaborative approach. The smart city data platform is being developed jointly by UTS’s Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) and the Faculty of Engineering and IT (FEIT).

Technical assistance with mapping and software for the project will be provided by ESRI and Urban Institute.

Council’s Smart City Advisory Committee Chair, Councillor Steven Issa, said, “This grant will enable real-time data and the Internet of Things to help us shape future developments in Parramatta. It’s exciting to be part of a groundbreaking smart cities project.”

Residents and the neighbouring community will have access to data sets to allow them to become actively involved in the project, and the smart sensor network will be extended into existing streets around the development site.

Melrose Park is a major 30ha urban renewal site and an ideal pilot project for a smart cities initiative. When completed, it will have up to 6000 apartments, a retail centre, parklands and community facilities.

The Melrose Park project was one of 32 Smart Cities Grant projects announced on Monday 19 November by the Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population, Alan Tudge.

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