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    Weapon of mass creation: urban planning and design tool measures projects' potential performance

    Geraldine Chua

    A strategic urban design and planning software has been named winner of the Weapons of Mass Creation competition at Green Cities 2015.

    Developed by UrbanGrowth NSW and Kinesis, CCAP Precinct or PRECINX models the potential economic, commercial, environmental and social impact of residential, commercial and mixed-use developments, and makes assessments according to a range of criteria.

    “City planners and developers are under increasing pressure to adopt a more strategic, evidence based approach to assessing the physical, environmental and social implications of their development decisions,” said Kinesis.

    “CCAP Precinct provides this evidence base by assessing the performance of precincts against quantifiable metrics.”

    Drawing on comprehensive local data sources including climate and utility data, PRECINX allows users, which already include major government land authorities and private developers, to compare the effects of their project against local standards. This includes the effect that additional parking, building materials or even certain designs might have on the environment or the behaviour of end-users.

    For instance, the tool can be used to assess how improved public transport access might affect household spending and car use, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. These calculations are performed in a fraction of the time such assessments would normally require, and reported in standard metrics, such as potable water (kL/year), transport use (km/day), and capital and recurrent costs ($/year).

    “[PRECINX] has been a game changer for us. It’s bought us an evidence base to our strategic planning that we previously didn't have. We now have far better insight into what our future goals can be and what we need to achieve them,” said Stephen Driscoll, Development Director at UrbanGrowth NSW.

    The people’s choice award for the Weapons of Mass Creation competition went to SAMBA developed by researchers at the University of Sydney’s Indoor Environmental Quality Lab. Built on sensor technology, the device measures the key factors that have been shown to have the greatest impact on an office worker’s health, comfort and productivity – air temperate and speed, humidity, light, sound and air pollutants.

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