Adelaide Connected Places Project Brings Focus to Parks

The University of Adelaide leads the Australian Smart Cities Consortium, working with state and local government, industry and entrepreneurs, to improve the experiences of residents.

“Our smart cities initiative is unique because of our ability to link smart science and technology to social well-being and business outcomes because of the broad range of research disciplines the Consortium brings together,” said professor Mike Brooks, interim vice-chancellor, University of Adelaide. “Our students will have the opportunity to work alongside researchers in computing, engineering and sciences together with urban design and other social and economic disciplines – producing real benefits for the people of Adelaide.”

One area of focus is ‘smart parks’, as part of the Connected Places project. In the city of Prospect, new low-band WiFi and other technologies are being used to gather information about use of public spaces so they can be better managed, maintained, and provide what the public wants. Using non-camera based sensors to ensure privacy, the City is able to analyze how people use the parks at different times. The data also helps maintenance scheduling and event services planning.

City of Prospect acting mayor Mark Groote said “is another step towards a digital future, which will ultimately benefit communities using our public spaces, and councils in the way we manage parks, gardens and play spaces”.

“Smart cities initiatives are about making cities better for the people who live there,” said associate professor Nick Falkner, director of the University of Adelaide’s Australian Smart Cities Consortium. “Smart city thinking makes good use of rapidly developing technology to help to make cities work better, easier to navigate, safer, healthier and more enjoyable places to live. A big part of that is information gathering, without compromising privacy – seeing how people use the infrastructure and public spaces, keep track of resource use, finding out what people want in their city.”