The ‘Think Tank’, hosted as part of Sydney Science Park’s CSIRO Urban Living Lab, has workshopped projects that address key challenges in five areas: health, energy, water, waste and urban heat islands.

Announced in 2017, the CSIRO partnership with property disruptor Celestino’s Sydney Science Park produced the first in a series of Urban Living Labs to be rolled out across the country. CSIRO has since launched one in Darwin and another is planned for Canberra.

Celestino’s CEO, John Vassallo said today’s Think Tank progressed the framework for a range of ‘real life’ experimentation to be undertaken at Sydney Science Park, a $5B mixed-use development located in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis in Luddenham.

Within the Urban Living Lab’s test environment, researchers will examine the interplay between issues such as urban greening, energy efficiency, water demand, community well-being and health and the impacts of technological advancements, all within a real urban environment.

“Sydney Science Park is the perfect platform for the public and private sector to co-innovate to test new ways to address the many different pressures our towns and cities face,” he said.

“Whether its new approaches to transport, advancements in recycling and water conservation or new uses for waste heat or ways to reduce heat in our cities – Sydney Science Park is the chance for a real-life, ‘safe to fail’ testing ground,” he said.

Dr Simon Toze, Senior Principal Research Scientist from CSIRO commented: “Western Sydney faces a number of challenges for the future, but there is also an opportunity to use these challenges to create benefits.

“CSIRO is designing the Sydney Science Park Urban Living Lab to provide innovations and advances that will assist Western Sydney become an internationally recognised urban success story.

“The number of attendees at the Urban Living Lab ThinkTank and the range of exciting and innovative ideas put forward to make Western Sydney a location of excellence demonstrates that there are many that share this collective vision.”

Dr Toze said that following the workshop CSIRO and Celestino will now work to develop these ideas into active projects that can be tested at the Sydney Science Park Urban Living Lab and more broadly within the Western Sydney area,

“We hope to have the involvement of many other researchers, industry members and government and that local community engage with us to make the best innovations and technologies for the region.”

Examples of the projects to be scoped from today’s Think Tank, held at the UTS Tech Lab in Botany include:

  • Ways to enable suburbs and towns to be completely energy sustainable
  • Creating water security even during the worst droughts
  • Using the landscape to control increasing urban heat
  • Keeping people out of hospital as long as possible using digital and telehealth technologies
  • Recycling solid waste materials to manufacture infrastructure for buildings

Mr Vassallo said the relationship between the science and commerce was equally important.

“It’s one thing to see a theory in action, and it’s another to commercialise it. The Urban Living Lab enables the kind of environment that break down barriers and provide pathways to bring these solutions to market more quickly,” he said.

The Think Tank drew participants from local and state government, leading engineering firms, renewable energy companies, technology businesses, finance companies, emergency services, high schools, universities, planners, researchers and industry bodies.

“Today is the epitome of our vision for Sydney Science Park – to bring together education, business and community to work on the future together,” said Mr Vassallo.

ULL projects already underway at Sydney Science Park include stormwater improvements, determining best trees to plant for shade; examining how renewable energy sources function in Western Sydney and hosting an international food energy waste project.