The Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) is set to launch new housing and data analysis tools that will help researchers and policy makers build smart cities through smart urban planning.
AURIN, led by the University of Melbourne, provides integrated datasets and tools for analysis to support researchers in finding ways to tackle urban issues such as pollution, population growth, safety, social/economic welfare and health.
The $24 million initiative is funded through the Australian Government's National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. It started in mid-2010 and will run to mid-2015.
A Sydney Housing Demonstration Data Hub is set to launch at the end of the year, which will include tools such as Housing Affordability and a Rental Yields. This will measure housing affordability in the city, and analyse property sales and rent prices in real time to properly determine how many are affordable to specific groups such as first home buyers.
An Adelaide Data Hub is coming around Autumn 2015, which will help address employment issues due to the decline in local manufacturing.
AURIN has an online portal that pulls together more than 1,000 datasets from 30 organisations. These include the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Property Monitors, Australian Financial Services Authority, Geoscience Australia, Sustainability Victoria, Centre of Full Employment and Equity, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling and Public Health Information Development Unit.
The portal includes open source tools such as Walkability, which models and visualises the characteristics of the physical environment to help find ways to encourage people to engage in physical activity and better their health.
The Employment Clustering is another tool that was built to help planners identify and maximise geographical locations for investment, development and job creation.
AURIN also has a Townsville Data Hub that looks at the region’s land use, population growth, water and utilities to ensure it remains sustainable.
One researcher using AURIN is Judy Bush, a PhD candidate from the University of Melbourne, who is undertaking research for Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living. She is using urban greenery maps, land use data and climate data to study heat island effect in Melbourne.
David Gray, chair of AURIN, will later today make a call to action at the Woodward Conference Centre, University of Melbourne in addressing some of Australia’s biggest infrastructure, urban and environmental issues.