The alarm on your smart phone went off 10 minutes earlier than usual this morning. Parts of the city are closed off in preparation for a popular end of summer event, so congestion is expected to be worse than usual. You’ll need to catch an earlier bus to make it to work on time.

The alarm time is tailored to your morning routine, which is monitored every day by your smart watch. It takes into account the weather forecast (rain expected at 7am), the day of the week (it’s Monday, and traffic is always worse on a Monday), as well as the fact that you went to bed late last night (this morning, you’re likely to be slower than usual). The phone buzzes again – it’s time to leave, if you want to catch that bus.

While walking to the bus stop, your phone suggests a small detour – for some reason, the town square you usually stroll through is very crowded this morning. You pass your favourite coffee shop on your way, and although they have a 20% discount this morning, your phone doesn’t alert you – after all, you’re in a hurry.

After your morning walk, you feel fresh and energised. You check in at the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled bus stop, which updates the driver of the next bus. He now knows that there are 12 passengers waiting to be picked up, which means he should increase his speed slightly if possible, to give everyone time to board. The bus company is also notified, and are already deploying an extra bus to cope with the high demand along your route. While you wait, you notice a parent with two young children, entertaining themselves with the touch-screen information system installed at the bus stop.

Photo: article supplied

Once the bus arrives, boarding goes smoothly: almost all passengers were using tickets stored on their smart phones, so there was only one time-consuming cash payment. On the bus, you take out a tablet from your bag to catch up on some news and emails using the free on-board Wi-Fi service. You suddenly realise that you forgot to charge your phone, so you connect it to the USB charging point next to the seat. Although the traffic is really slow, you manage to get through most of your work emails, so the time on the bus is by no means wasted.

The moment the bus drops you off in front of your office, your boss informs you of an unplanned visit to a site, so you make a booking with a car-sharing scheme, such as Co-wheels. You secure a car for the journey, with a folding bike in the boot.

Your destination is in the middle of town, so when you arrive on the outskirts you park the shared car in a nearby parking bay (which is actually a member’s unused driveway) and take the bike for the rest of the journey to save time and avoid traffic. Your travel app gives you instructions via your Bluetooth headphones – it suggests how to adjust your speed on the bike, according to your fitness level. Because of your asthma, the app suggests a route that avoids a particularly polluted area.

After your meeting, you opt to get a cab back to the office, so that you can answer some emails on the way. With a tap on your smartphone, you order the cab, and in the two minutes it takes to arrive you fold up your bike so that you can return it to the boot of another shared vehicle near your office. You’re in a hurry, so no green reward points for walking today, I’m afraid – but at least you made it to the meeting on time, saving kilograms of CO2 on the way.

This article was originally published by The Conversation.

Click here to read the entire article.


An increasing number of Australians are ditching their city lifestyles, opting instead to live in regional areas both on the coast and inland.

Yes, the sea change, or tree change as it has become known, is gathering pace, particularly in southeast Queensland.

Nothing demonstrates this internal shift in Australia’s populace better than the two tables below from CoreLogic. They show the local government areas where net internal migration was the highest in the 2015/16 financial year, and where it declined the most.

Here are the top 25 regions where net internal migration was the highest, according to figures from the ABS:


Image: article supplied

This article was originally published by Business Insider Australia. 

Click here to read the entire article.

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference 2017 is coming to Brisbane on the 10-11th July.

Mr Peter Anders, Contract Services Manager at Sydney Water will be at this year’s conference, presenting “Energy efficiency, generation and recovery at Sydney Water”.

Sydney Water produces approximately 18% ($9 million/year) of its energy needs through renewable energy generation and reduces demand through energy efficiency measures. These results are achieved by Sydney Water’s drive to limit electricity grid imports to pre-1998 levels. Population increase as well as new processes, technology, more efficient and affordable equipment and increasing power and gas prices make meeting the target ever more complex.

Peter Anders

Since 2009, Sydney Water installed 15.2 MW biogas cogeneration, solar and hydro generation capacity and will further expand this portfolio. We will go beyond our commitment to keep energy purchases to pre-1998 levels if financially viable to do so. In doing so, we are always considering energy efficiency before renewable energy generation because it reduces site load instead of offsetting it. Since 2014, innovative ideas such as trucked food waste co-digestion have been introduced to increase biogas production for higher energy recovery rates.

To limit electricity grid imports, we created capacity of 9 MW biogas, 6 MW hydro and 0.16 MW solar generation. We also offset our site energy load through aeration improvements, LED technology, belt drive improvements, leakage removal and most open valve technology which saves around 20GWh/y.

A major part of our emissions minimisation effort is the continuous improvement of biogas production by trialling and implementing innovative technologies such as glycerol dosing, co-digestion of trucked organic waste and tests in bespoke mini digesters.

Our energy conservation and generation work continues across our renewable energy generation portfolio making cogeneration, hydro and solar installations more efficient, , increase of energy efficiency through site audits and continued co-digestion research to improve biogas yield.

High electricity and gas prices have increased and prioritised our energy and emissions reduction efforts. This benefits the community and our business.

Join us at the 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference 2017, 10 – 11 July 2017 at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor

Ms Meg Argyriou, Head of Engagement at ClimateWorks Australia will be attending this year’s conference, speaking on the topic of “What motivates a pro environmental culture?”

How can we better inspire engagement and action in audiences currently ‘uncommitted’ to pro environmental attitudes and behaviours? Drawing on social research, this presentation aims to challenge our assumptions through the lens of one of the most complex environmental challenges: climate change.

Meg Argyriou

As we move to tackle some of the complex social and environmental challenges in a rapidly growing and evolving world, the magnitude and rate of change required is likely to create uncertainty and anxiety across the population.

This uncertainty can provide motive for business, government and communities to reduce their ambition on areas like environmental action.

An antidote to that uncertainly is an educated and engaged constituency that helps provide the ‘fertile ground’ to help socialise the achievability and benefits of such large changes. The question becomes, “How do we drive the interest for that deeper discussion in a world where the volume of information is overwhelming and the everyday person doesn’t need ‘another problem’ to think about?”

This phenomenon is no more apparent than through the lens of climate change. Unlike other issues where the weight of scientific evidence may be enough to provide the impetus to act, progressing the climate change agenda requires more than technical solutions.

Our cities are a rich tapestry of attitudes and opinion, often informed by personal world views. The presentation will explore the need for a ‘cultural roadmap’ as well as a technical one.

Whilst approaches that tap into a sense of social responsibility and the moral imperative may be an effective means to engage with more committed audiences, are they enough to drive the involvement of the broader population?

If not, what do we need to do differently? What are the key things we should be thinking about as practitioners or policymakers?

The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference is coming to Brisbane this month – join us on the 10-11th June at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor.

Ms Jessica Christiansen-Franks, CEO and CoFounder of Neighbourlytics will be attending this year’s conference, presenting “How can we harness open data to deliver positive outcomes for people?

Jessica Christiansen-Franks

Technology is having a transformative impact on cities. It is enabling efficiencies, and insights to transport, movement, connectivity and construction that were previously unimaginable. However it’s critical that smart cities don’t only deliver on infrastructure and efficiency outcomes, and also achieve positive social impact.

How can we harness open data to deliver positive outcomes for people?

Enter, a community knowledge and analytics platform that harnesses open data to map and measure how people use places. This revolutionary new platform helps urban managers gain local data and real-time insights to shape places that thrive.

How? Open datasets including social media feeds map our movements in public spaces every day. By aggregating mapping and measuring these movements, and correlating these movements to behaviours, we can gain a rapid understanding of public space utilisation in real time. More powerful than user surveys, open data enables us to map and measure social insights anytime, anywhere.

This presentation will highlight key findings of the recent Neighbourlytics trial with Frasers Property Group across five urban development sites in Australia, outlining the key opportunities and known limitations of open data sets for public space planning.

By demonstrating the power of open data, this presentation aims to elevate the smart cities conversation beyond automatic rubbish bins, towards new mechanisms for improving community connection and social sustainability.


Join us on 10-11th July at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor for the 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference.

Dr Rosemary Kennedy, Director for Subtropical Cities Consultancy will be joining us this year to discuss “Greening the interactional space between building and street in new multi-storey apartment buildings in the subtropical city”.

Rosemary Kennedy

Private plantings can make important contributions to public streetscapes in the subtropical city. The space of interaction, usually a transition zone on the primary frontage, that links the private space of multi-storey residential buildings to the public realm of the street is important in this discussion in the context of Brisbane’s rapidly densifying neighbourhoods.

A critical review of a sample of recently-approved apartment buildings from five to thirty storeys in Brisbane’s inner urban areas studied developments’ performance in terms of quality design for subtropical living including their effect on the surrounding public space, particularly the streets that they frame. Data were collected from documents submitted for development approval to Council’s online system. A 65-year-old apartment building recognised as an Australian significant building of the 20th Century was also analysed.

Brisbane City Council’s Multiple Dwelling Code (MDC) that unequivocally links the city’s character and identity, and resident’s way of life, to the endemic subtropical climate and landscape, provided objective measures for evaluation. Performance outcomes for code assessable apartment developments promote landscape that provides shade to pedestrian pathways, presents an integrated landscape, neighbourhood and streetscape character and contributes positively to the amenity and the subtropical microclimate of the site, the streetscape and public spaces.

The research identified significant performance gaps between planning policy and actual outcomes. Overall, the sample delivered an overwhelming impression of a lack of greenery, with interactional spaces dominated by hard surfaces and services, and no meaningful plantings to provide shady relief over front setbacks.

These findings are an example of Carmona et al’s implementation gap between principles and local delivery. The paper discusses competing objectives of different participants in the development process that prevent or encourage better outcomes for nature in urban areas.

KPMG Australia and Cisco have partnered up to push smart cities, using internet of things, in Australia.

Photo: article supplied

The new alliance pulls together KPMG’s IoT capabilities and Cisco’s technology capabilities, with the aim of providing end-to-end advisory, technology and related services for city leaders, backed by platform, support and operations capabilities, within the framework of an open ecosystem.

The alliance will focus on developing tools for leaders of smart city programs, including financial and business case modelling, design thinking, smart city architecture, change management, data and analytics, master service integration, solution design and implementation, cyber security, and optimisation and operational services.

Piers Hogarth-Scott, head of KPMG Australia’s IoT practice, says smart city leaders face complex decisions, with limited access to actionable insight and therefore limited ability to automate.

“By combining KPMG and Cisco’s complementary capabilities across a broad range of end-to-end smart cities services, this strategic alliance will offer smart solutions to clients, as well as drive forward the overall smart city sector in Australia,” Hogarth-Scott says.

Services will be delivered around Cisco’s Smart+Connected digital platform, which brings together data from a sources including sensors and existing information systems.

The offering has already been deployed in Adelaide.

This article was originally published by Channel Life.

Click here to read the entire article.

Join us on the 10-11th July at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor for the 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference.

Kim Markwell

Ms Kim Markwell, Environmental Scientist at E2Designlab will be at this year’s conference, presenting on the topic of Living infrastructure – just add water”.

Cities are vibrant and exciting places, but they are getting hotter and more crowded year by year.

Green infrastructure is becoming better understood as part of the solution, creating shaded and cool urban environments for the community and providing environmental outcomes such as urban habitat and stormwater management.

However, the basic requirements for creating this living green infrastructure in urban centres are often overlooked and can result in the vision not being delivered.  On-ground realities and real (or perceived conflicts), such as underground services, can result in sub-optimal outcomes for city landscapes.

This presentation explores how water and vegetation can be successfully integrated with the civil infrastructure requirements in our urban areas, creating living city assets which deliver multiple benefits from investments.  The benefits will be quantified and practical solutions will be presented which demonstrate how green infrastructure can become standard practice in our cities.

Adelaide has achieved high rankings in lists of the world’s most liveable cities, but the South Australian capital has faced a “brain drain” of young professionals in recent years, and urban sprawl has pushed suburban boundaries further north and south.

The South Australian Government first released its long-term plan for future growth in 2010, recently updating it to cut back population growth forecasts and amend earmarked development pockets in the inner suburbs.

What is the 30-year plan for greater Adelaide?

It is the Government’s pitch for Adelaide to become more vibrant but compact, with promises of higher-density housing, public transport improvements, and neighbourhoods geared towards pedestrians and cyclists with well-maintained parks and gardens.

There are 14 guiding principles in the plan, including to achieve a carbon-neutral city, world-class design standards, healthier communities and state economic growth.

The grand plan imagines Adelaide being more like Copenhagen, Brooklyn or Melbourne, and among hip aspirations are numerous references to retaining heritage suburbs and keeping nearby small towns safe from the wrecking ball.

In efforts to realise its vision, the Government has been tinkering with planning laws, enforcing an urban growth boundary, releasing public land for more development and spending money on transport projects.

How might Adelaide look in three decades?

Current population density is fewer than 1,400 people per square kilometre, with the plan calling for a halt to urban sprawl by building new and higher-density housing in existing suburbia.

Most Adelaide buildings would remain one to three storeys high, but there would be more townhouses, granny flats and a push for laneway housing.

Busy transport corridors could be flanked by mixed-use buildings of up to six storeys, with much taller apartment buildings in the CBD, seaside Glenelg, alongside the city ring of parklands, and at redevelopment sites such as where the Le Cornu furniture warehouse stood near Anzac Highway.

There are design guidelines which aim to ensure environmentally friendly buildings integrate well with existing suburban landscapes.

This article was originally published by

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The 10th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be held from 10-11th July at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor.

Ms Emma Booth, Team Leader Design at the North Sydney Council will be attending this year’s event, presenting From aspiration to reality: North Sydney’s inner city liveable neighbourhood”.

As built form professionals, we are motivated by the allure of creating interesting, inviting and enduring public spaces and outcomes in our cities. We formulate ideas, concepts and designs that we feel necessary for the well-being of our cities and citizens. But all too often they are filed as too hard or are heavily compromised.

Emma Booth

The preparation of the Ward Street Masterplan has all the ingredients to make the aspiration of a Liveable Neighbourhood aspiration, into reality.

This precinct is among the densest in Sydney. Strong development interest continues to escalate given prime position on the doorstep of a new Metro station. What’s more, the precinct has a large and central public asset, beckoning redevelopment. In a unique twist, the Masterplan has political support for progressive ideas, backed by resourcing, to explore best practice and industry leading outcomes.

The Masterplan presents a bold vision to initiate culture change, transforming a near 600 space commuter parking station into an exciting pedestrian focused precinct. The plan proposes transformational change built on public transport and walkability as the basis for future planning and connectivity within the North Sydney CBD. It is supported by a generous new public domain and 18-hour a day activity in a CBD that craves both.

The plan will connect North Sydney’s disparate open space offerings and provide new commercial and employment floor space, a stone’s throw away from a new Metro stop that will improve the identity of North Sydney.

Ultimately, the project is a vision for a Liveable Neighbourhood, placing a much needed public space emphasis in lights, and then shaping commercial interests around this. The project gives a reason for residents, business and visitors to spend more time in North Sydney.

The project defies the perception of the unreachable, providing a yardstick for urban renewal.