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Urban Research Festival (01)

5 October 2019
The challenges facing cities are immense

As cities become the most popular places for people to live, they face a multitude of challenges. Problems of urban congestion, housing affordability, infrastructure financing, social isolation, scarce water and energy resources, environmental sustainability and effective governance require immediate attention. However, in Australia there is very limited urban research being undertaken to address these issues.

The Henry Halloran Trust (, has been established at the University of Sydney through the generous gift of Warren Halloran is attempting to fill this research gap by sponsoring a number of urban research projects. The Urban Research Festival will highlight some of these projects and will have two roles:

1. Hear from one the researchers who has been recently funded by the Trust – A/P Marcus Foth, Director of the Urban Informatics Lab at QUT;

2. Listen to four research teams pitch their research proposals (a maximum of 5 minutes per pitch) in an attempt to secure the last Blue sky research project grant from the Trust for 2014;

  • Lian Loke talk about Sustainable Bodies and Urban Playgrounds
  • Claudine Moutou talk about RateIT: Crowd sourced real-time app to improve the land-use transport feedback cycle
  • Rod Simpson talk about An Urban Liveability Index- an Open data Open Mind project
  • Lee Stickells talk about Best Practice Bottom Up: urban governance, do-it yourself urbanism, and digital technology;

The Researcher

A/P Foth’s talk: From Smart City to Smart Citizens

Large, global corporations in the technology sector have started to package and sell the ‘Smart City’ vision as a centralized service delivery platform – primarily based on five technology trends: broadband connectivity; smart, personal devices; big data; urban interfaces and sensor networks; and cloud computing. However, an increasing number of scholars and commentators warn of another ‘IT bubble’ emerging. They argue that the top-down deployment of these large and proprietary technology platforms will fail without a thorough understanding of the socio-cultural nuances of how people work, live, play across different environments, and how they employ social media and mobile devices to interact and engage.