As cities become the most popular places for people to live, the challenges facing them are immense. 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, which 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 on March 20th will highlight some of these projects, and give you the opportunity to hear from one of the researchers who has been recently funded by the Trust – Associate Professor Marcus Foth, Director of the Urban Informatics Lab at QUT.
Associate Professor Marcus Foth's lecture is entitled 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.
As part of the evening, four research teams will pitch their research proposals in an attempt to secure the last Bluesky research project grant from the Trust for 2014.
Marcus Foth is founder and director of the Urban Informatics Research Lab, and Principal Research Fellow in the School of Design, Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology. Foth’s research focuses on the relationships between people, place and technology. He leads a cross-disciplinary team that develops practical approaches to complex urban problems.
He adopts human‐computer interaction and design methodologies to build engagement around emerging issues facing our cities, such as:
- Urban planning – new approaches to community participation and engagement;
- Environmental sustainability – new strategies for energy monitoring in domestic settings;
- Food futures – new ideas to re-think eating, cooking and growing food in the city;
- Collaboration and co-working space
Date: Thursday 20 March
Time: 6pm - 8pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, Wilkinson Building, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, 148 City Road, University of Sydney, NSW 2006