City of Melbourne enlists residents in smart city build

Tuesday, 27 April, 2021

City of Melbourne enlists residents in smart city build

A project between the City of Melbourne and the Emerging Technologies Research Lab (ETLab) at Monash University is exploring the experiences and perspectives of emerging technologies in and around Melbourne’s CBD, to better plan for inclusive future cities.

Emerging technologies are adopted to improve urban efficiency in major cities. Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G are among the advancements that can improve the quality of life for many residents. Despite the benefits of these technologies, they are often deployed without the proper consultation of local residents.

This project will combine research expertise with industry knowledge to engage the community in the early process of testing new technologies.

Professor Sarah Pink, Chief Investigator and Director of the ETLab, said the project will help the City of Melbourne engage with the local community early in the process of testing new smart technologies and planning the future city strategy.

“This project will contribute important insights into how people perceive, value and use emerging technologies in the urban environment,” said Professor Pink.

City of Melbourne Councillor Le Liu said this is an important initiative to provide a community lens on emerging technologies that could transform how the city is run, for the benefit of all residents.

Researchers from ETLab will employ a three-pronged approach that focuses on awareness, perception and partnership.

The second phase of the project will extend upon this research and launch a live activation in Argyle Square as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week (26 April–2 May). Locals will be able to interact with each emerging technology by scanning QR codes located throughout Argyle Square that explain the role of each technology.

By providing feedback and engaging with the technology, the locals will take part in the live experiment and play a role in shaping their city. The findings and information gathered from this partnership will have the potential to be replicated in other urban spaces and major cities.

“This partnership employs a transparent approach to data collection, which is also why it was so important for us to include the local community and invite them to take part in our live experiment,” said Professor Pink.

Image credit: © Perig

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