Tech trial gives Logan locals more say in urban planning

LOGAN is one of two Australian cities that will trial new technology that gives locals more say in shaping cities by allowing councils to capture online opinions and improve decision making.

Federal urban infrastructure and cities minister Paul Fletcher said the project, rolling out in Logan and Sydney’s Canada Bay, aimed to increase community involvement in planning and evaluation of major projects.

“This project will provide real-time analysis of local attitudes towards major urban projects through a user-friendly platform that will help local governments keep across issues and prioritise their efforts,” Mr Fletcher said.

Tools developed by University of Sydney’s Smart Urbanism Lab may be applied to other local councils in the future to improve liveability, productivity and sustainability in cities and towns.

University of Sydney vice chancellor Michael Spence said innovative projects built important relationships between the research community, industry and government to improve the lives of citizens through the application of smart tools and technologies.

“The project’s digital platform will enable local governments to capture, visualise and analyse conversations on social media to augment existing planning and consultation processes,” he said.

Federal Bennelong MP and chair of Parliament’s infrastructure, transport and cities standing committee chair John Alexander said the project was one of many funded by the Turnbull government’s smart cities and suburbs program.

“It’s important that we listen to local voices and involve the community in decisions about urban development. This is a great step towards creating the types of cities we all want to live in,” he said.

Acting Logan mayor Cherie Dalley said research would examine feedback around master planning for Cronulla Park and Yarrabilba community development.

“Social media and online communication has changed the way citizens engage in all aspects of their lives, from shopping and education to how their communities are being planned and developed,” Cr Dalley said.

“This project, aiming to enhance community participation in the planning and evaluation of major urban projects, is good news for the residents of our city.”

Canada Bay mayor Angelo Tsirekas said the research would examine feedback around the transformation of Parramatta Road and inform the Five Dock revitalisation. 

“This is a great opportunity to further engage with the community to make our city more liveable,” he said.

The Australian government and University of Sydney each committed $100,000 to the project.

University of Sydney worked in partnership with City of Canada Bay, Logan City Council, KPMG and Telstra.