QLD Smart City benefits from UQ know-how

24 Apr 2018

Researchers have strengthened ties to the community with a collaborative workshop at The University of Queensland’s School of Civil Engineering.

Sunshine Coast Council managers, analysts and planners visited UQ to explore potential innovative initiatives that could be integrated in to the Sunshine Coast’s Smart City Program.

The Council’s Smart City Program aims to improve council services, reduce carbon emissions, traffic congestion and energy use, improve safety, and attract more investment and business in order to boost employment opportunities.

Achieving these aims will require strong support from Queensland’s thought leaders, including UQ’s wide range of expertise.

Head of the School of Civil Engineering, Professor Simon Washington, welcomed a range of multidisciplinary leaders from UQ’s Schools of Architecture, Business, Earth and Environmental Science and Information Technology and Electrical Engineering to showcase the University’s world-class facilities and present demonstrations on both recent and current research projects.

Researchers and council staff discussed sustainable and autonomous transport, disaster planning and management, digital infrastructure, energy systems and management, virtual reality mapping and construction visualisation, coastal engineering, community engagement, and wastewater and waste management.

“This important collaboration between the Sunshine Coast Council and UQ reflects a growing partnership between research leaders in Smart City concepts and the Sunshine Coast region, which has been named one of the world’s Smart21 Communities in 2017 and 2018,” Professor Washington said.

Smart21 Communities are recognised for having the best models of economic, social and cultural development in the digital age by the Intelligent Community Forum’s annual Intelligent Community Awards.

“The workshop at UQ offered a unique opportunity for experts across a variety of disciplines to share perspectives and problem-solving approaches to create real change in Queensland communities, and in particular the Sunshine Coast,” Professor Washington said.

“Together with the Sunshine Coast Council, UQ researchers will aim to co-develop innovative strategies for urban and regional development in ways that haven’t been seen before, leveraging the latest developments in sensors, smart systems management, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and other cutting-edge technologies,” said Professor Washington.

Sunshine Coast Council Chief Innovation Officer Dr Scott Bourke said working with some of the world’s best researchers to come up with new ways of tackling the region’s problems was inspiring.

“It was a privilege for our Council officers to have the opportunity to engage with Professor Washington and his UQ colleagues, who represent Australia’s leading academic researchers in our common fields of interest, to explore our understanding of - and solutions for – a focused set of Council’s priority business and social challenges,” said Dr Bourke.

“Moving forward, priority collaboration areas will be explored with funding and implementation strategies developed to allow the partners to embark on exciting projects that will serve as a showcase of cooperation in pursuit of Smart City excellence.

“Sunshine Coast Council is aiming to be Australia’s healthy, smart, creative region and these collaborative partnerships help us achieve that goal.”