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Smart Cities Solutions featuring the City of Melbourne

Submitted by Robyn Francis on June 12, 2023

Social Spaces: Designing public space with data


This green wavy chair was designed using data and installed in a popular public place in Carlton, Melbourne.  Sensors and observational analysis are helping to capture how the design is being used and how well it matches the needs of the community.  In three and a half months, it’s had six times more use than a metal bench in the same median strip, which has the same sensor type installed.  

A live data dashboard can be viewed at the link below. 

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Data in the Park: Learning about our green spaces using sensors 

Launched in 2020 and continuing in new parks  

Melbourne’s many parks are important spaces for people who live, work and play in the city, each with their own unique neighbourhood activity.  Sensor data tracks patterns and trends which will inform future maintenance and design. The data tells localised stories including the most popular activity times, which playground or exercise equipment is used the most and even if a particular tree can influence the micro-climate. 

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Remix Raingardens: Repurposing local waste for city resilience 

Launched on 26 April   

This student-led live ‘science experiment’ was the winner of a community-voted Innovation Challenge. It uses 100% recycled materials to re-create raingardens to explore if they can perform as well as conventional raingardens to manage flooding, remove contaminants from stormwater and enable healthy plant life. 

Installed in Fishermans Bend - a designated Innovation Precinct - various sensors, lab tests and observational data will be collected over a minimum of six months to assess the raingardens and understand how the different types of waste performs as filter media.  

This project demonstrates valuable collaboration between community and government to create pilots that enable learning and engagement. 

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Micro-Labs: A data-led, digitally-enabled, co-designed community space  

Launched May 2022   

Located in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, Micro-Labs has hosted 17,000 visits, 250 events and 60 organisations, providing local communities and small businesses with a free, accessible and inclusive meeting place. 

COVID-19 demonstrated how vulnerable traditional models for retail and city spaces could be. Using a variety of new and emerging technologies, the Micro-Labs pilot re-imagined these spaces and how they could be more desirable, feasible and viable for those returning to the city.  

Technology and co-design helped to create an adaptive space, able to respond to users’ needs and feedback. Some features at Micro-Labs over the 12-month pilot period include a library, makerspace, high-speed internet, digital displays, sensors, audio/visual meeting equipment, movable furniture and curtains. A live data dashboard shares data and insights with the people who use the space. 

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