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6. Smart Design for a smart future


The development of Internet of Things (IoT) and Information Communication technology (ICT) is growing at an exorbitant rate. For the “Smart City” movement this means leveraging data to achieve a constantly adapting, connected, intelligent, healthier and more efficient human habitat. But what does this mean for our public spaces and communities? And as we identify stronger quantifiable links between our environment and our physical and mental health, we increasingly need to ensure the development of this technology responds to the most complex parameter — “people”.

Movements such as placemaking and tactical urbanism have identified the importance of our public spaces to maximise human encounters, prioritise community driven outcomes, and provide spatial flexibility. With a huge shift in technology we have the opportunity not just to engineer a more efficient cityscape but to provide co-working physical and digital platforms that hand our communities greater ownership over their public spaces, while improving the health and sustainability of our cities. These trends coupled with a rapidly urbanising global population call for a reinterpretation of traditional open spaces.

This presentation investigates how a city’s existing spaces can be re-imagined as a new testing ground for smart, innovative, adaptable, and flexible solutions that can create new opportunities within the existing urban tissue. It discusses possible approaches and exemplar smart city projects where urban interventions are embracing adaptable components that target both social and environmental sustainability initiatives.

Michael Cowdy

Michael Cowdy is a Director and Urbanism Leader for McGregor Coxall a multi-disciplinary design firm located in Australia, China and the UK dedicated to assisting cities achieve sustainable prosperity. Michael has extensive experience in urban realm projects and has delivered internationally recognised regenerative outcomes to a variety of destinations, from city-wide strategies in the UK through to the delivery of award-winning public realm in Australia.

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