Our projects

Our projects

Our projects

Highlighted projects

Smart Transport in Macquarie Park

Over the past two decades, the Macquarie Park District has experienced considerable growth of office development and is expected to continuingly expand as a commercial office centre well into the future, with or without changes to planning controls. Without such joined-up policy and implementation frameworks, urban renewal projects can place enormous stress on the precinct, commuters and inhabitants whilst also leading to costly and ineffective solutions.

Overview

The Smart Transport in Macquarie Park project, co-funded through the Commonwealth Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, Macquarie Park Innovation District (MPID), City of Ryde Council and Macquarie University, was developed to integrate historical and real-time pedestrian mobility data within Macquarie Park District before, during and after the rail closure to gain an understanding of how a district and its community deals with asset stress.

Macquarie University developed the MPID District Data Atlas, a pedestrian counting system and online tool to help visualise and test assumptions before and during events such as the rail closure. The tool can be applied to better plan for our future cities.

Deliverables

The MPID District Data Atlas is an online tool that can be applied to help plan for our future cities. The system compiles real-time data from Macquarie University’s Internet-of-Things pedestrian sensors to better understand pedestrian activity within the Macquarie Park District.

The MPID District Data Atlas can be used to:

  • Observe a representation of pedestrian traffic on any given day and time
  • Compare averages of the same day and time over the preceding four weeks
  • Download the data bank for analysis or for use in other visualisation tools

Opportunities

The application of MPID District Data Atlas system has a number of potential benefits.

Social Benefits
  • Improved efficiencies in public transport, pedestrian movement and traffic flow to enhance the liveability and sustainability of Macquarie Park.
  • Activation of a network of collision zones across Macquarie Park will provide much-needed hubs for incubating innovative, community-driven solutions for local issues.
Environmental Benefits
  • Reduced emissions associated with traffic flow inefficiencies, and improved air quality and resource efficiency.
Economic Benefits
  • Response to residents, businesses, educational institutions and government who identified transportation challenges associated with strong economic growth as key inhibitors of future growth and liveability in the area.
  • Enhanced attractiveness of the Park as a place of business, improving revenues and profitability, and addressing community concerns over the impact of the train line closure.
  • An opportunity for government decision-makers to test assumptions and scenarios, reducing the chance of costly mistakes with infrastructure.

Key partners

Michael Sheng (MQ), Subhas Mukhopadhyay (MQ), Jian Yang (MQ), Manolya Kavakli-Thorne (MQ), Leigh Staas (MQ), John Brown (Ryde Council).

Contact

Michael Sheng (MQ): michael.sheng@mq.edu.au

Coal Loader Living Lab

North Sydney Council is transforming a former industrial site in Waverton to create a unique public facility – the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability.

A key innovation is inclusion of a ‘Living Lab’, an open-innovation ecosystem which facilitates community understanding of, and engagement with sustainability and science; a place where research and outcomes can be tested, studied, taught, developed and translated into real-life settings.

Coal loaderOverview

The redevelopment of the Coal Loader Platform will become one of Sydney’s largest publicly accessible green roof spaces developed though National Green Infrastructure Network (NGIN) linkages. A total of 10,000m2 roof space will be transformed into a green roof to provide a demonstration site for urban agriculture and biodiversity enhancement and will serve as a valuable community space for recreation, entertainment and teaching.

The Living Lab will create a place where project-based partnerships, practical programmes and academic activities (student learning & teaching, courses and academic research) will connect with non-academic partners, including North Sydney Council (NSC), primary and secondary schools and community groups, through on-site activities and an online portal.

Opportunities

Quantifying environmental and social benefits of the site
  • Development of a monitoring, evaluation and reporting framework for engineering structures, resource use and social and biodiversity data
  • Measure performance through qualitative and quantitative techniques to support mainstreaming of green roof infrastructure
Urban Harvest on the Platform
  • Evaluation of agricultural techniques such as companion planting
  • Community urban harvest plots (vegetables, fruit trees, aquaculture) irrigated by up to 250,000 litres of stormwater
  • Community events surrounding produce from the roof
BioBlitz
  • Weekend event in which scientist, naturalists and community work collaboratively to discover, document and learn about the species inhabiting the area
Citizen Science Programs
  • Local residents gather biodiversity data to support monitoring programs
  • Data will be added to the Atlas of Living Australia website

Key partners

Dr Peter Davies (MQ), Leigh Staas (MQ), Katherine Berthon (MQ), David Nipperness (MQ), Scott Wilson (MQ), David Banbury (NSC), Nicki Carey (NSC)

Contact

Leigh Staas: leigh.staas@mq.edu.au

Horticulture Innovation Australia: Which Plant Where - Green Cities Project

With urbanisation changing the shape and composition of our cities, major pressure on biodiversity, water resources, human health and wellbeing is increasing. Green spaces decrease urban heat island effect, filter storm water, remove air pollution, increase productivity, are good for mental and emotional wellbeing and much more.

Consequently, the 202020Vision encompasses the mission to create 20% more green space in Australian urban areas by 2020. As this goal gains momentum, big questions arise about how to choose the right plants for the right spot in the right location under both current and future climates.

Highline_NYOverview

Co-funded through Horticulture Innovation Australia’s Green Cities Fund, the project will develop a national public database to identify climate-change resilient urban plants that will provide health, wellbeing and liveability outcomes now and in the future. The extensive research project is expected to be completed in 2021.

A consortium of leading environmental and horticultural researchers from Macquarie University, Western Sydney University and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage will be conducting research that includes test plantings under some of the hottest and driest conditions in Australia to make sure that the information you get from the database is backed by real-world research. Research will be done alongside growers, practitioners and industry and emphasis will be given to the capacity for the horticultural industry to deliver these species.

Deliverables

Case study demonstration sites
  • Provide a holistic overview of the project
  • Showcase best practice examples for plantings across Australia
Interactive online tool/database
  • Increase the industry’s ability to deliver resilient urban greenspaces in conditions of greater rainfall variability, heatwave frequency and drought conditions predicted in coming decades
  • Ensure that landscape plantings can account for current and future climate scenarios to grow Australian urban greenspace in coming decades
  • Enable plant selectors to choose plants with the features they need tested under the climatic conditions they will live in
  • An easy to use tool with a range of filters such as soil type, region, plant type, heat tolerance, biodiversity benefit or availability tailored to specific regions

Key partners

Michelle Leishman (MQ), Leigh Staas (MQ), Linda Beaumont (MQ), Rachael Gallagher (MQ), Ian Anderson (WSU), David Ellsworth (WSU), Sally Power (WSU), Paul Rymer (WSU), Mark Tjoelker (WSU)

Contact

Leigh Staas: leigh.staas@mq.edu.au

Urban Ecology Renewal Investigation project

Increased urbanisation entails negative impacts on biodiversity, water resources, human health and well-being. Based on the current trajectory of urban intensification and expansion there will be further losses on the number and diversity of species and habitats in cities.

Accordingly, the NSW Environmental Trust has commissioned a research project to gain an improved knowledge and understanding of the gaps and opportunities that exist to improve urban ecology outcomes in the Greater Sydney Region, including Newcastle and Wollongong.

Hamburg urban greeningOverview

The UERI project was undertaken by a consortium of researchers from Macquarie University, UNSW, University of Sydney, UTS and CSIRO and is focused on three themes: built environment, urban biodiversity and ecology, and legal and planning policy.

The project articulated and defined concepts of urban ecology for inclusion in a whole-of-government and industry approach to urban planning, renewal and development, influence a broad policy and legislative framework that encourages ongoing investment and action in enhancing and protecting urban ecology and identify direct opportunities for Environmental Trust investment.

The Urban Ecology project thereby increased knowledge, awareness and capacity of key stakeholders, based on their key values and drivers, including industry, landholders, business, government and community, to become leaders in addressing urban ecology values within the natural and built environments.

Deliverables

Workshops

Bringing together people from diverse sectors to identify physical and institutional barriers to achieving sustainable and complex ecosystems in urban areas, best practice examples of local projects and initiatives and future opportunities

Technical reports

Three reports covering biodiversity, built environment and legal and policy options as evidence to improve biodiversity outcomes in the urban landscape

Blueprint
  • Evidence-based case for embedding urban ecology into decision making in urban development policy and planning frameworks
  • Outcome of reports, stakeholder workshops and in-depth interviews
  • Accessible under Publications

Key partners

Peter Davies (MQ), Leigh Staas (MQ), David Nipperess (MQ), Grant Hose (MQ), Melanie Bishop (MQ), Fran van den Berg (MQ), Cyrielle Joei (MQ), Natalie Pelleri (UNSW), Linda Corkery (UNSW), Paul Osmond (UNSW), Sara Wilkinson (UTS), Caragh Threlfall (UoM), Dieter Hochuli (USyd), Guy Barnett (CSIRO), Brenda Lin (CSIRO)

Contact

Leigh Staas: leigh.staas@mq.edu.au

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