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About us

The Smart Cities Research Institute addresses challenges in a transdisciplinary socio-technical approach.

Our institute is focusing on defining the smart citizen to help create and run the smart city. In short, we are playing our part in assuring that Australia, home to some of the world's most liveable cities, will continue to be recognised for being home to the world's smartest smart cities.

Professor Mark Burry Foundation Director of the Data Science Research Institute

The Smart Cities Research Institute, under the directorship of Professor Mark Burry, seeks innovative approaches to address the challenges facing the world’s fast-growing cities, with a unique transdisciplinary socio-technical approach.

Why do we exist?

The Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Liveability Index has ranked Melbourne as the World’s most liveable city for the last seven years running. However, our population is set to double to eight million by 2050. We face enormous challenges designing and organising our cities to deal with the negative impacts of climate change. In addition, we also face a potential decrease in energy, food and water security, and issues of mobility, health and an aging population. We also face unpredictable disruptions to the nature of work, workplace and home. This poses the questions; what we will be doing in the future, and where and how we will be doing it?

Globally, we are striving to meet this question and subsequent challenges head-on through the development of ‘smart cities’.

What are smart cities and smart citizens?

A ‘smart city’ uses information and communication technology to provide innovative and more efficient services. A smart city raises the standard of living for all while promoting sustainability and reducing human impact on the environment. Most of all, a smart city introduces fresh opportunities for citizens to participate in the design decisions about the urban environment that directly affects them.

Smart cities promote smart urban management, smart housing, smart external environment, smart education, smart health, and ipso facto, smart citizens. By ‘smart’ we mean that we harness the ubiquitous urban technology – the so-called ‘internet of things’ (IoT) – to access vast pools of real-time and historical data. Through intelligent processing of this data, we can reveal alternative and beneficial courses of action that would otherwise not have been discovered.

‘Smart’ implies well-informed

We need smart, well-informed citizens to participate in the design and running of the urban environment and services in ways that have never been practical, until now. The smart citizen can participate in the processes by which cities are planned, designed, built, organised and managed. Through their active participation, smart citizens can derive a vital sense of co-ownership and co-stewardship of their local built environment to counter any sense of remoteness from top-down decision-makers.

How do we work?

This is no small challenge. Our institute is whole-of-university and promotes vibrantly original ‘information environments’ for shared design decision-making between clients, key stakeholders and end-users. Design and social enquiry will be as much a component of SCRI investigations, as are the technologies of data capture, analysis, and visualisation of the results.

Please contact us to discuss our approach and opportunities to partner in more detail.

Swinburne launches Smart Cities Research Institute

The Smart Cities Research Institute seeks innovative options to address the challenges facing the world’s fast-growing cities with a unique transdisciplinary socio-technical approach.

Contact the Smart Cities Research Institute

There are many ways to engage with us. If your organisation is dealing with a complex problem, then get in touch to discuss how we can work together to provide solutions.

Call +61 (03) 9214 5177