Data Driven Cities Digital Mission

Australian cities are experiencing the fastest rates of population growth in the developed world. In 2017, 67% of Australia’s population lived in capital cities and current projections estimate that Australia’s population will double from 24.6 million to 49.2 million by 2066 with the largest population increase projected for New South Wales and Victoria.  Several state and national planning agencies have identified the need to preserve a high level of liveability and resilience within our cities as we grow, they also acknowledge the added complexity of our cities being exposed to the impacts of natural hazards such as heat waves and bushfires are exacerbated by the urban form.   At the same time as city planners are trying to keep pace with growing populations and complex urban systems and environments, we are undergoing a rapid technology and data revolution, however methods for accessing and applying the power of this data has been slow to evolve.

The Data Driven Cities Digital Mission was formulated on the premise that data and analytical tools are required to deal with the complexity and interrelationships within urban systems, and if developed via federated and accessible platforms, these tools will remove inhibitors to timely planning and decision making.

In Phase 1 of the Data-Driven Cities Digital Mission, comprising of a 10 month program in 2019, exploratory research was conducted as a first step to tackling better planning and decision making in the complex and fragmented cities space, through a digital and data driven lens.

The research comprised of nine individual research projects which addressed common social, environmental and structural problems in the cities domain such as indicators to measure city resilience and capturing a variety of issues affecting people, urban heat assessments, augmented reality to visualise delivery of services and integration of CCTV streams to create a real-time 3D map of a precinct. The Digital Mission also aimed to validate the concept of a digital twin.

The outputs of Phase 1 of the Digital Mission resulted in demonstration of aggregated capability to tackle such social, economic, environmental and structural problems facing future cities, including:

  • Proof of concept tools and knowledge products for urban data markets exploring best models that allow data to be shared in a privacy preserving manner whilst optimising urban planning and insights;
  • Prototype platforms for enabling augmented reality services and applications for city planning, environmental analysis or risk planning;
  • Prototype city data platforms and dashboards for environmental, population movement, skills and resilience indicators that may improve social knowledge and decision making.

The research conducted within the Data Driven Cities Digital Mission has provided deep insight into the current policy, knowledge, data, frameworks and algorithmic gaps which need to be addressed in order to be able to better plan urban spaces and provide optimal decision that benefit citizens.

With key collaborations across CSIRO, including Data61, Land and Water, Energy, and Oceans and Atmosphere as well as universities, industry and government departments, the Digital Mission has been a foundational step towards a market led initiative of a national digital twin ecosystem with key digital and data capabilities to help urban environments future proof and create real time, predictive insight that is multifaceted and citizen focused