In February 2021, the Smart Cities Research Institute held its first workshop for the year and the third workshop in its Smart Campus series titled "It’s Time: Transitioning onto a Smarter Campus".
This session focused on contributions that individuals can make in establishing transdisciplinary research opportunities around a smarter, sustainable campus, as the Swinburne community transitions back to a campus operating under the “new normal”.
To recap the workshop series facilitated by Professor Simone Taffe and Professor Jeni Paay, the first workshop (June 2020) featured a brainstorming session, producing ideas on key issues and shovel-ready projects for transforming Swinburne into a smart campus living lab.
In the second workshop (July 2020), participants used the key issues from the first workshop to discuss and co-design plans for actionable projects for making the campus smart. As a result, the four focus areas were identified: Safe Campus, Digital Campus, Zero Emissions and Placemaking.
This third workshop explored:
- the four focus areas (Safe Campus, Digital Campus, Zero Emissions and Placemaking)
- where the collective quest for Hawthorn campus as a living lab is headed in 2021
- Swinburne’s planned rooftop living laboratory
- the latest in sustainable transport options
Joining this workshop was Matt Pirrie, Senior Associate from NH Architecture, who is working with Swinburne to develop an urban design framework and space management strategy for the Hawthorn campus. Two key areas being looked at are hybrid learning and working from home.
Professor Richard Manasseh gave an overview of the Swinburne Integrated Rooftop Laboratory project (SWIRLL) – an idea that grew out of a team of researchers and campus facilities people discussing what could be achieved by pairing radically different disciplines to serve contemporary issues.
Professor Hussein Dia gave an overview of smart mobility initiatives, looking at sustainable transport options that allow people and goods to move to, from and within campus alongside flexible working solutions such as one to three days per week working from home.
These descriptors for the four focus areas (developed from the second workshop) were shared with the participants:
- Safe Campus: new pathways into campus, covered ways, community, safe link to trains, wellbeing
- Digital Campus: flexible spaces, monitoring energy savings, virtual spaces, hybrid learning
- Zero Emission: reuse of spaces, energy efficiency, working from home, low footprint travel modes, green points app or game
- Placemaking: sense of arrival, welcoming, social spaces to stay connected to campus, sense of community
Workshop participants were then randomly allocated to four breakout rooms – one for each of the four focus areas – to discuss and cooperatively design on-the-ground actions that the Swinburne community can take now to reshape and reinvigorate the drive towards a smart campus.
The activities they participated in included:
- “what if” scenario – each participant responded to the proposition “imagine only 25 per cent of students and staff are allowed on campus at the same time; what would help make it a positive place to be for you?”
- brainstorming – each participant provided two keywords representing the most important considerations for making the Smart Campus concept work with respect to that group's focus area They were asked to look at all the words produced, group similar concepts, combine ideas, discuss the most likely to succeed, and at the end of the breakout session, decide on the best idea as a group.
The groups then came back to the main forum to share their ideas:
- better ventilation (windows that open)
- outdoor classrooms
- consideration for those with accessibility issues (e.g. sitting on the ground)
- redesign outdoors (to enable the design of the outdoor classrooms)
- robots on campus
- interesting online presence 24/7
- interactivity (incentivise students to engage)
- randomly meet others – virtual water cooler
- buddy system (build collegiality particularly for first years)
- guest speakers
- using outdoor space
- mixed virtual and physical presence in spaces
- cohorts together – groups attend on particular days, so you know everyone
- most happy working at home
- existing outdoor spaces (particularly with undercover shelter)
- help people come together in these spaces
- outdoor events and presentations in the new spaces
- data on campus showing how spaces are being used
- open airy campus – knock down all ground-level walls
- structured outdoor spaces – incentivise meandering
- campus as a huge park setting
- upper floors for meetings, tutorials, and labs as they block interaction with other humans
- outdoor power points
- mobile coffee cart
These responses have been collected for the consideration by the Smart Campus working group.