City Futures Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Chris Pettit is the inaugural professor of Urban Science and Associate Director of the City Futures Research Centre, UNSW Sydney. Prof Pettit recently (2018) established the Master of City Analytics Program at UNSW, the first of its kinds in Australia and one of only a handful of courses in the world which is focused on upskilling the next generation of practitioners and policy-makers with the ability to work with data-driven approaches for understanding the inherent complexity of the city.
Prof Pettit also recently (2018) established the City Analytics Lab (CAL), a dedicated space designed to support collaborative city planning and user-centred design https://www.be.unsw.edu.au/content/city-analytics-lab. In the last few years he been an investigator on a number of ARC, CRC and Industry projects including Chief Investigator on the Rapid Analytics Interactive Scenario Explorer Toolkit and more recently – “Value Australia – Sharpening our land and property decisions with Artificial Intelligence”.
Prof Pettit’s expertise is in the convergence of the fields of city planning and digital technologies including Geographical Information Sciences (GIS). He has given numerous keynote addresses at conferences around the world and has published widely including the recently edited book: Reed, R. and C. Pettit (2018). Real Estate and GIS: The Application of Mapping Technologies, Routledge publishers. For the last 25 years, he has been undertaking research and development in the use of digital planning tools to support the envisioning of future city scenarios. His research expertise also spans into applications, development and the evaluation of geographical visualization tools including, advanced spatial decision support systems and city dashboards. He is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of CUPUM (Computers in Urban Planning and Urban Management) and on the International Advisory Board for the “Geo for all” initiative.
The promise of smart cities in the era of digital utopia
In a rapidly urbanising world there is critical need for more evidenced based decision-making to plan for more liveable, productive, resilient and sustainable cities. Recently we have witnessed the rise of digital disruption, smart cities, big data, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence etc. Such data and technology innovations offer possibilities to accelerate data supported city solutions. Also, with the advent of open data, IoT and co-design methodologies we can begin to see and analyse our precincts and cities as living laboratories. These technology inspired solutions promise pathways to a digital utopia but are such solutions resulting in better planned cities and communities?
In this presentation I will focus on data and technology supported solutions to urban challenges through the lens of cities as living laboratories using both Australian and International case studies. I will reflect on why there remains a significant gap in the development of such techno toolkits and their adoption in planning practice and policy-making and what needs to be done to harness the power of smart cities and digital disruption to realise more liveable, equitable and inclusive cities.
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