New project to ensure locals have their say on urban planning

A new project will help locals have their say when it comes to urban development by allowing local councils to capture online opinions from residents to improve decision-making.

Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher said the project aimed to increase community involvement in the planning and evaluation of major projects in the cities of Logan in Queensland and Canada Bay in Sydney.

“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.

“The tools developed by University of Sydney’s Smart Urbanism Lab may be applied to other local councils in the future, with the aim of improving the liveability, productivity and sustainability of our cities and towns across Australia.”

University of Sydney Vice Chancellor Michael Spence said innovative projects such as these were building important relationships between the research community, industry and government to improve the lives of citizens through the application of smart tools and technologies.

“We are grateful to receive this grant supporting research that plays an important role in the forward-thinking of those at the intersection of community, industry and government. The program reflects our commitment to research excellence and strategy of engaging in opportunities raised through technological advancements.” Dr Spence said.

“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.”

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

“The City of Canada Bay is a progressive Council, proactively engaging with the community on strategic planning, pioneering participatory democratic approaches, and is engaged in several major infrastructure projects within the local government area,” Cr Tsirekas said.

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

Acting Mayor of Logan City Council Cherie Dalley said the research in Logan City would examine feedback around the master planning for Cronulla Park and the 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.”

The Australian Government committed $100,000 toward the project with the University of Sydney also committing $100,000.

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

For more information on the Government’s $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, visit