Are Promises Kept ? Verification and Validation

Various large and small developments happen in our cities every day to build a better liveable and smarter space for us. The current process of using a contract or deed and a contractor to deliver the development could be further improved. It is vastly expensive or impossible to rectify, after the development completion, when the development failed to deliver the benefits.  There needs to have certainty in the achievement of the desired outcomes in urban design or smart city projects.

Richard Lau

A process of consistently verifying the requirements and validating the products (results) during the project would enhance the probability of achieving the results that the project is proposed to achieve. This verification approach has been applied in major infrastructure projects and could also apply to smaller scale local developments or any precinct-wide urban projects.

Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) means that a completely independent entity reviews/evaluates the work products generated by the team that is designing and/or executing  a given project. The IV&V provider will often monitor and evaluate every aspect of the project itself from inception to completion. It is far easier and more cost effective to correct problems that are identified earlier rather than later in the project.

Looking at a project in progress from the perspective of an outsider, and not allowing oneself to be engulfed in details or assumptions, enables the independent reviewer to recognise warning signs and impending problems while they can still be mitigated or corrected.

The primary value of IV&V is in identifying high-risk areas early in the project which allows the organization to either mitigate risks or prepare contingencies.  Project implementation should be a partnership between the organization and the IV&V team, where the IV&V team provides tangible measurement and alternatives and helps identify issues which may not be immediately visible.  Independent verification and validation is a time-tested methodology that should be carefully considered as a relatively low-cost insurance policy at the outset of projects, in particular public ones.

This article was kindly provided by Richard Lau, Arcadis Australia Pacific Pty Ltd.

Richard presented an abstract entitled ‘Are Promises Kept ? Verification and Validation’  for the 2016 International Urban Design Conference.

Cities Performance Leaves Way Too Much Data Off The Table

If we can’t manage what we don’t measure, then crucial gaps in the indicators proposed for the federal government’s National Cities Performance Framework plunge its effectiveness into doubt as a tool for improving the resilience and sustainability of our cities and the people that live and work in them.

The Interim report, released this week, outlines the framework and data-driven indicators that will be made available as a digital dashboard for the public and others to assess cities across economic, social and environmental aspects.

city-performance
Photo: article supplied

It aims to show how well cities are performing against the Smart City policy priorities of jobs and skills; infrastructure and investment; liveability and sustainability; innovation and digital; governance, planning and regulation; and housing.

These have been converted into 41 proposed indicators that will be being applied to 21 of Australia’s largest cities and also Western Sydney.

Gaps in the architecture

However, even the Property Council of Australia, which has hailed it as “vital policy architecture” has noted that there are some gaps in the data it proposed to deliver.

A proposed indicator that would reveal the ratio of population growth to dwellings constructed has not been included “due to lack of data”.

“We believe there is one area of potential improvement for the Interim Framework and that relates to housing affordability and the ability to properly assess housing supply,” Ken Morrison PCA chief executive said.

“The big gap is the lack of data on housing supply which is a critical part of the housing affordability equation, and we again call on the Turnbull Government to reinstate the National Housing Supply Council to plug this gap.”

Ironically, news broke this week that 2016 Census data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows there are around one million empty dwellings in Australia, and that in Sydney close to one in five dwellings are empty. Sounds like available data to us.

And here’s another one – while the data will include air quality in terms of particulates in the air, and overall carbon emissions, a proposed indicator on carbon emissions from specific sectors was also left out due to… lack of available data.

The Fifth Estate is seeing something of a pattern there that looks scarily like the Trump approach. Don’t measure it, don’t monitor it and then you can wilfully refuse to manage it.

Mr Morrison said that the framework brings “some rigour” to the question of whether our “big and small cities are successful or not”.

“What gets measured gets done – and this framework will assist policy makers in our big cities as well as our smaller cities and regional centres.”

Policy makers it may not assist terribly well are those concerned about vulnerability to natural disasters.

This article was originally published by The Fifth Estate.

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“Smart” Cities And Buildings: The Emergence Of The Cyber Safe Building

The increase in Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices and interconnectivity between various building management systems (BMS) prompts larger questions about cybersecurity and data privacy concerns. These challenges are hardly new, but they are magnified in an IoT-connected world.

The Urban Developer reached out to Alan Mihalic, Senior Cyber Security Consultant at Norman, Disney & Young – a global engineering consultancy and cyber security company – to offer an insight into emerging smart technologies and the associated cyber security risk facing the urban planning, construction and design engineering sectors.

Industry forecasts expect the IoT market will grow from an installed base of 15.4 billion devices in 2015 to 30.7 billion devices in 2020 and 75.4 billion in 2025. Many of these devices will be deployed in buildings, public works and critical infrastructure. Smart technologies will establish an urban landscape that is all-connected, all-sharing, all-knowing and imbued with a functionality that can provide unprecedented levels of comfort and convenience.

The convergence of smart technologies and the built environment will improve the operation and capabilities of buildings, but will also lead to increased vulnerabilities and attack vectors not previously encountered within design engineering and urban planning.

Photo: article supplied

Research suggests the impact on the building and construction industry will be significant. No longer are we looking at cyber attacks targeting at the company or user level, we now have “attack vectors” that can potentially shutdown a shopping precinct, a power grid, a major city, perhaps even a nation. An attack vector is a path or means by which a hacker can gain access to a computer or network server in order to deliver a malicious outcome. Attack vectors enable hackers to exploit system vulnerabilities.

Earlier this year, an Austrian hotel Romanantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt, was targeted by cyber criminals. The electronic key system at the 4-star hotel was infiltrated, rendering it useless. The hotel guests were unable to move in and out of their hotel rooms and the cyber attackers demanded a ransom of EUR 1500 in Bitcoin from hotel management. The security breach also managed to compromise the hotel’s reservation and cash desk systems, bringing the entire operation to a halt.

Justifying the hotel’s decision to pay the ransom, the managing director stated, “The hotel was totally booked with 180 guests. We had no other choice. Neither police nor insurance companies can help you in these circumstances.”

This article was originally published by The Urban Developer.

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Robina Crook: Universal Design Thinking

“My disability exists not because I use a wheelchair,  but because the broader environment isn’t accessible.” –Stella Young – Australian Journalist, Disability Rights Activist and Comedian

As we collectively look for ways to create a more sustainable future, it is vital we include our built environment. Without considering all, we risk condemning the most vulnerable of our community to an unsustainable, inaccessible world. By embracing Universal Design Thinking our urban places will accommodate everyone; you, me, young, old and those with disabilities.

universal design thinking
Robina Crook

Curtin University has made a commitment to a sustainable future for all by establishing a vision to be the most accessible campus by 2030. The main Curtin University campus is located in the suburb of Bentley, Western Australia. Curtin is a large low rise, low density university, predominantly built in the 1970s with a big vision.

Due to the good fortune of location, Curtin is perfectly placed to provide educational services to the South East Asian student market. Over the next 10-20 years, Curtin is embarking on an extensive programme of development that will fundamentally change the nature of the Bentley campus. The campus will function as alternative city centre with a diversity of functions and services, not just a location of tertiary education. The adoption of the Universal Design Thinking approach is one of the key strategies that designers, architects and planners are required to address when tendering for work at Curtin.

There are 50,228 enrolled students at the Bentley campus, supported by some 4,041 staff made up of academics, administrators and contractors. Over 16,376 of these students are international. With a large student body, Curtin hosts numerous events, festivals and graduations on campus, attracting thousands of visitors to the campus each year. Curtin is a fabulously rich and diverse community.

In Australia, 18.5 % of the population report as having a disability, this means that some 11,800 people will want to access the campus that could also have a disability. These figures do not even address the very porous state of temporarily able-bodied. Live long enough and you will almost certainly enter a state of disability at some point in your life.

As a public institution, Curtin University is required to meet the Disability Access and Inclusion Legislation requirements however Curtin has established a vision that is more welcoming and inclusive than the legislation. Curtin University has adopted a smart approach. The Curtin Universal Design Guideline – Built Form project provided for a high level of participation engaging with 65 stakeholders underpinning a strong sense of ownership. The process deliberately aligned with the vision, established agreed principles and created design criteria. The guideline has also been embedded in a governance process that integrates Universal Design Thinking into all stages of place making.

By Ms Robina Crook, Associate HASSELL

Bradley Jones: Smart City Streets

Urban design guidelines and planning instruments of the 1990s adopted a two-level road hierarchy which resulted in no domestic frontage to streets carrying more than 3,000 vehicles per day (vpd).  Since the turn of the century, developers and regulators have challenged the car focus of the two-level road hierarchy having a desire to provide direct frontage to streets carrying more than 3,000vpd.  However, this desire does not resolve the conflicts which arise within a street reserve.

Bradley Jones

For roads carrying up to 10,000vpd it is now accepted that direct access can be provided safely and efficiently.  However, rear laneways are recommended for access to development fronting roads carrying over 10,000vpd.  Rear laneways do not require as much land as service lanes, allow activation of the road frontage, and separate conflicts between access and through traffic.

A pedestrian’s experience of streets was assessed in terms of pedestrian density, driveway conflict and delays crossing carriageways to access a pedestrian path.  It was concluded that pedestrian activity can be promoted by providing a path on at least one side of streets fronted by development.  Pedestrian facilities on streets with no frontage may be underutilised due to pedestrians feeling a reduced sense of safety, security and place.

The level of service (LoS) for cyclists decreases with increasing operating speed for cars except on streets which provide off-road cycle facilities.  Therefore, shared paths or segregated facilities should be provided to accommodate cyclists off carriageway on streets operating above 50km/h.

Public transport (PT) quality was assessed in terms of availability, frequency, travel speed and accessibility.  It was concluded that PT stops should be located on streets with fronting development and a pedestrian path.  PT quality improves with increasing vehicle operating speed.

The LoS for cars improves with increasing vehicle operating speed resulting in a positive correlation with PT quality and a negative correlation with cyclist LoS.  Cars are provided for best on arterial and sub-arterial roads, and in rural areas.  The worst LoS for cars occurs in shared zones and access laneways where the through movement of motor vehicles is not the priority.

By Bradley Jones,  Traffic Engineer at UDP