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Rapid developments in technology and global urbanisation forces have transformed cities into intensive laboratories for managing and promoting change. Unprecedented streams of “big-data”, hi-tech interfaces and digital analytic tools unlock the potential to both design new types of cities and re-imaging existing urban environments. The Smart Cities Research Cluster (SCRC) seeks to promote and advance the efficient design, planning and delivery of urban environments and services through the use of information and communication technology with a focus on spatial technologies. A city can be defined as ‘smart’ when investments in human and social capital and traditional (transport) and modern (ICT) communication infrastructure promote the following four urban characteristics:

  • sustainable economic development
  • a high quality of life,
  • wise management of natural resources,
  • participatory action and engagement.

New Smart Cities such as Songdo City, in South Korea suggest one model of Smart Cities. Another model is represented by the innovative urban ecosystems within older cities, such as NYC and Amsterdam.. The research in the cluster is problem focused and aims to change cities for the public good in three ways:

  1. Develop participatory urbanism to empower citizens to interact in new, more efficient and more meaningful ways.
  2. Develop resilient cities through the smart design of sustainable and flexible hi-tech infrastructure and service delivery.
  3. Promote and design cities as healthy, safe and productive environments through the use of smart technologies and evidence based design.

The Smart Cities Research Cluster is based at the University of New South Wales and convened by Dr Scott Hawken and Dr Hoon Han.