A new CSIRO research initiative was recently launched to lead the way for the transformation of liveable urban spaces and sustainable cities of the future.
In partnership with property developers Celestino, CSIRO established its first operational Urban Living Lab at the Sydney Science Park in western Sydney — a place where researchers, industry, government and communities can get together and create, design and test innovative urban development concepts, moving beyond the lab into the real world.
Within the Urban Living Lab’s test environment, researchers examine the connections between issues such as urban greening, energy efficiency, demands for water, community well-being and health and the impacts of technological advancements, all within a real urban environment.
This research will be utilised to answer questions around developing and renewing cities and urban spaces, and coming up with solutions to planet-wide issues like population growth and climate change. The lab has already begun choosing what research topics to tackle, and they include:
- The impact of increased urban greening on local temperatures and ecology, changes in energy and water demand and consumption, and the influence on community wellbeing and health;
- Smart water systems that can efficiently provide different classes of water for different uses on demand;
- The influence of digital disruptions and information technology advances on urban structure, industry development and community connectivity.
CSIRO Land and Water Acting Director Paul Bertsch said that collaborative science initiatives like the Urban Living Lab will enable cities to move towards a more sustainable future.
“By working with government and industry, our research will enable Australia’s cities to become more economically, environmentally and socially resilient,” he said.
Celestino CEO John Vassallo Celestino is thrilled to be partnering with CSIRO on this important initiative.
“We could see people creating new ways to harness solar energy in the workplace and developing novel ideas to store heat and keep homes cool,” he said.
“New sustainable transport solutions will also be encouraged as well as inventions that conserve water and energy and drive down utility bills.
“The possibilities are endless,” he said.
“Once developed, all of these technologies will be tested on the homes, businesses, shops, roads and parks of Sydney Science Park.
Mr Vassallo said that The Urban Living Lab will connect inventors to mentors, scientific expertise and importantly, venture capital.
The Urban Living Lab will comprise part of the Sydney Science Park site, a fully-integrated community, which, when complete is expected to employ over 12,000 staff, educate 10,000 students in key scientific and technological disciplines and provide more than 3,000 living accommodations.
Mayor of Penrith John Thain welcomed the new development.
“The creation of the CSIRO Urban Living Lab embodies the innovative and progressive direction Celestino have set for the Sydney Science Park – located within the Penrith LGA”, he said.
“The partnership is a very welcome announcement. The Urban Living Lab fits with Council’s vision to not just build Penrith as a city of the future, but to reap benefits for communities well beyond our own boundaries.”