The City of Parramatta Council has launched a new initiative that could change the way new suburbs and cities are designed, constructed and managed with the rollout of new technology across a 25 hectare development site in Sydney’s west. 

More than 70 environmental sensors, which have been installed throughout Melrose Park, monitor and collect data on local conditions – including temperature, humidity, air quality, noise and stormwater – as the area is redeveloped. The information gathered will be analysed and used to understand the impacts of development on the surroundings, improve the area’s liveability in the long-term, and inform future planning. 

This collaborative smart project is a first for Local Government in Australia.

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer said, “We are not only creating the Central River City, we are creating a great Australian city that people want to live, work and invest in.

“By using state-of-the-art technology to monitor the environment in and around Melrose Park throughout the construction process, we will be able to make more informed decisions in the planning of future suburbs.”

The $1.142 million project, which has been delivered in partnership with property developer PAYCE and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), received a $571,000 grant from the Australian Government as part of the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. Other project partners include M Projects, The Urban Institute and ESRI Australia.

In addition to the environmental sensors, a buoy has been placed in the Parramatta River at Ermington Bay to monitor water quality.

A digital windsock, which displays real-time local weather data including wind speed, temperature, humidity, air quality, noise, rainfall and UV index data, has been installed in the area. Information is also available via a community dashboard on Council’s website.

The findings and lessons learnt from the project have been published in a Blueprint for Climate Responsive Neighbourhoods.

“What we learn from the data collected throughout the construction process at Melrose Park will serve as a blueprint for future developments,” Mr Dwyer said.

“It’s a smart approach to managing the growth of a Smart City and has the potential to be applied to other locations and development precincts.”

UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures Senior Research Consultant, Andrew Tovey, said the project is one of national significance. 

“The close collaboration with the City of Parramatta, PAYCE and the local community gave us a really unique view of the benefits and challenges of implementing smart sensor technologies on and around an urban development site,” Mr Tovey said.

“This project breaks new ground and is a strong foundation for future research and collaboration that can be scaled up or down to other urban developments around the country.”

PAYCE representative, Dominic Sullivan, said the joint project would deliver valuable data and insights.

“Melrose Park is a genuine smart development, and this project will allow us to feed the data collected into the design of future stages,” Mr Sullivan said.

“The project also aims to be a fully integrated smart community, with not just smart buildings but a smart precinct that uses data and digital technology to improve liveability, social connectivity and sustainability.”

The Melrose Park: Smart Planning for Climate Responsive Neighbourhoods project is supported by the council’s Smart City Advisory Committee, which includes chair Councillor Steven Issa and Councillor Sameer Pandey.

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