Smart cities: the major barriers in the UK

Smart Cities will be a theme of The 9th International Urban Design Conference to be held at Hyatt Canberra, 7th-8th November 2016

Smart cities: A recent report commissioned by streetlight design and manufacturing company Lucy Zodion has found significant barriers to smart city development in the UK as reported by Cate Lawrence.

The report contains research into the opinions on smart cities of senior contacts from councils across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The in-depth interviews conducted in May and June 2016 gauged the appetite for smart cities among UK councils and opinions on a range of topics, from the biggest obstacles to smart cities to the most pressing priorities for councils.

It was revealed that the task of achieving smarter, more connected cities in the UK lies with local councils. With the National government’s drive for devolution, they are placing the responsibility on the individual council to take the initiative when it comes to improving their city.

Yet growing strains on public services and budgets could negatively affect the ability of all councils to dedicate the resources required to trial technology, progress smart projects, and identify the most cost-effective path to prepare our cities for the future.

The research identified strong evidence for a lack of understanding within councils from the outset; over 80% of the 187 councils did not have an appointed lead for smart cities, and many confessed to a low awareness of the topic and what it could mean for them. Common barriers towards progression were identified, from securing funding and resourcing at a time of budget cuts, to a lack of collaboration between services and departments hindering progress.

Despite the acknowledgement that smarter solutions have the potential to save money or streamline services, many councils less involved in smart cities struggle to siphon budget away from core spending (largely health and social care) and dedicate resources to progress smart cities projects and invest in new initiatives.

Without sustainable funding in place, smart city projects are failing to achieve internal buy-in, according to many councils. Research participants were asked how high a priority smart cities were on their council’s agenda. The overwhelming response was that, faced with budget pressures and shrinking resources, finding internal buy-in to progress with smart initiatives was an uphill struggle for many. To read more click here.

Smart Cities for the 21st Century

Smart Cities for 21st Century Australia – How urban design innovation can change our cities will be a theme of The 9th International Urban Design Conference to be held at Hyatt Canberra from 7th-8th November 2016 with optional tours available on Wednesday 9th November.

Registrations are now open. CLICK HERE to register for the Conference.

This years’ Smart cities theme, will focus on an understanding of what makes a city ‘smart’ from a urban design perspective and how the built environment develops during the city planning process.

Urban Design: Adelaide’s Tallest Skyscraper

adelaide-skylineUrban Design: A new 36-level project planned for Frome Street, just off North Terrace, in the Adelaide CBD is set to become the city’s tallest residential tower.

Developer Kyren Group has appointed Colliers International to market the slender mixed use building which is set to occupy a 4163sqm site at 11-27 Frome Street in the Adelaide CBD.

The project will yield 88 apartments, with the residential component of the building occupying levels 22 to 36 as reported by The UD.

The Frome Street development, which is currently before the Development Assessment Commission, features outdoor entertaining areas, an outdoor pool more than 10 floors up and luxury penthouses at the top.

Developer Kyren presented its design to Adelaide City Council last week in order to make Tavistock Lane — which runs adjacent to the development on the south side — a public lane.

Levels 11 to 21 will comprise 60 one, two and three bed serviced apartments, while the ground floor to level nine will be home to a hotel.

Colliers International’s Nick Pelvay and Aimee Guo have been appointed marketing agents.

Urban Design – Skyscrapers

“The residential and serviced apartments will have separate car parking, entrance lobbies, and lift access from the residential,” Mr Pelvay said.

The project will also incorporate a separate 21 storey student accommodation tower fronting Synagogue Place, which will incorporate approximately 268 beds with a ground floor cafe.

Mr Pelvay said the project would be integral to the activation of the eastern end of the Adelaide CBD, including the activation and development of a key laneway, Tavistock Lane. To read more click here.

Urban Design will be discussed at The 9th International Urban Design Conference; Smart Cities for 21st Century Australia – How urban design innovation can change our cities  will be held at Hyatt Canberra from 7th-8th November 2016 with optional tours available on Wednesday 9th November.

Registrations are now open for the Urban Design Conference. CLICK HERE to register for the Conference. Early bird closes 26th September 2016 so be quick to receive a discounted rate.

This years’ Urban Design theme, will focus on an understanding of what makes a city ‘smart’ from a urban design perspective and how the built environment develops during the city planning process.

Urban water cycle solutions across Australia

urban waterNSW has outperformed the nation in water efficiency and according to the authors of a new report the reason is its BASIX rating system for housing and the rest of the country should emulate it.

Dr Peter Coombes, principal of consultancy Urban Water Cycle Solutions said the benefits of BASIX has been wider than improving home efficiency; it’s given NSW the edge in resilience in terms of water use.

He said an analysis of the nation’s water billing and use data he undertook with Michael Smit from the Rainwater Harvesting Association of Australia clearly showed how well BASIX is working. While consumption and bills are both increasing in Melbourne and other cities, in Sydney costs for households have remained relatively steady, as has water use.

Dr Coombes told The Fifth Estate that BASIX requirements around water efficiency should be part of planning frameworks around the country in order to improve the resilience of the urban form.

The stumbling block  is that the grey infrastructure agenda around water has some deep-seated similarities to the economic and political landscape of the coal, mining and energy sectors. As with fossil fuels, the casualty is the sustainability of our cities and the hip pockets of the households in them, Dr Coombes said.

Looking at the Australian Bureau of Statistics Water Accounting data on a national level, the analysis showed Australian households spent $2 billion more on water in 2013/14 than they did in 2008/9. The consumption data also showed an average 27 per cent more water being used nationally in 2013/14 compared to 2008/9.

The difference between the Sydney data and the national picture, Dr Coombes told The Fifth Estate, is that the measures implemented under BASIX – including the installation of rainwater harvesting for homes, increased use of grey water systems and mandating water-efficient appliances and plumbing fixtures – are working.

“Water use in Sydney stabilised a long time ago,” he said. “That is because of the sustainable buildings in Sydney. The substance of the urban form has some resilience in it. There was a change in the urban form in response to water resources and liveability issues”. To read more click here.

The 9th International Urban Design Conference will be held in Melbourne in November. To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.


Construction begins at Sydney’s Green Square

Original article published 27 February, 2015 in Architecture&Design Author

Construction at one of Australia’s biggest urban transformation projects, Sydney’s Green Square Town Centre, began this week with a ground breaking ceremony for the precinct’s first residential building, Ebsworth.

Sydney's Green SquareDeveloped by Mirvac, the 10-storey, 174-unit Ebsworth is a laneway away from the Civic Plaza and underground library designed by Stewart Hollenstein in association with Canberra based Stewart Architecture.

The north of the apartment block is draped in green to give it a soft interface to the neighbouring heritage precinct of cottages and terraces, while a podium on the north-east façade offers landscaped courtyard spaces.

The ground breaking at Ebsworth, which is due for completion in the second half of 2016, marks the first of UrbanGrowth NSW’s major urban transformation projects to start the building phase. The first stage of around 2,000 apartments that Mirvac will build at Green Square, it is also kick-starting the Green Square precinct development.

Green Square is the second-fastest-growing area in NSW behind Blacktown, with the Town Centre to be built over 14 hectares adjacent to the railway station, and include a plaza, library, community centres, aquatic centres, and childcare and sports facilities.


Read the original article here.


Why “Sit-able” Cities Assist in Placemaking

(via Sourceable)

“Sit-able” cities may soon be getting more attention than walkable or rideable cities.

Urban planners and landscape architects have recently been consumed by the idea of making cities more active and walkable to promote healthy lifestyles and outdoor activity.

Though they remain integral focuses of city design for tourists and locals alike, a new shift towards cities which place a greater emphasis on sitting is proving popular.

There has been a surge of pop-up restaurants across Australia’s major cities, and events such as Park(ing) Day that promote social inclusion and reinvigoration of central business districts. Sit-able cities would aim to create an environment which fosters a more permanent, participatory role in the community and society as a whole.

“Sit-able rather than walk-able cities are key, interdisciplinary focal points where the delight of ‘placemaking’ and cultural traditions of ‘watching the world go by’ merge with the sometimes conflicting domains of law and politics, economic development, public safety, gentrification and the homeless,” said attorney at law Charles Wolfe.

Essentially, when there are more places to sit, people are more likely to communicate and people from all spectrums and walks of life collide in conversation.

Wolfe believes the shift to a sit-able city would assist in enhancing society’s understanding of place.

Sit-able cities welcome locals and tourists to sit down and immerse themselves in the culture of the place, whether it be through communication with strangers, eating food, or observing the movements of others. A sit-able city is inclusive and makes joining and participating easy for everyone.

Urban designers observe who is involved in creating places and what role they play in the process. Through the process of enlivening public spaces through a channel such as sit-ability, the community achieves a better public landscape for interaction and a stronger sense of place. Exchange in its various forms is a prime function of town and city centres. With more built structures to foster the act of sitting, people can more easily exchange information, material goods or food. To encourage this exchange, it is important to provide seating and shelter. Sitting is also crucial to allowing people to rest during their busy daily lives. Most people sit to eat, work, talk and relax. In order for these acts to enhance the sense of place, outdoor seating of various designs must be readily accessible for all. Urban success relies on a constant hustle and bustle of people. Providing seats which offer inclusion and safety fosters a bustling urban city lifestyle…

Read more by Kristen Avis, Sourceable 12 February 2015

Read Chuck Wolfe’s original article (published on 9 Oct 2013) entitled Why the “sit-able city” is the next big idea here.



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