The City Analytics Lab at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) is the world’s first laboratory dedicated to improving collaboration and information-sharing among agencies responsible for planning and designing smarter, more liveable future cities. 

Housed within UNSW Built Environment, the City Analytics Lab uses interactive technology, big data, visualisation, virtual reality and planning models to support an interdisciplinary approach to decision-making for city planning and policy-making. The lab is designed to help government and industry understand these technologies and new approaches to inform the planning of more liveable, productive, sustainable and resilient cities.

Professor Christopher Pettit, chair of Urban Science in the Built Environment Faculty at UNSW, says traditional technology such as websites and file-sharing cause silos between agencies that impede collaboration and group decision-making. 

“The Lab brings down the barriers for information-sharing, engaging with data, models and simulations,” says Pettit. 

“This is a room that supports the multidisciplinary approach that is required when you are looking at cities. Cities are not run by one department, one agency or one group. We are trying to get people working together on the same page.”

The City Analytics Lab features an interactive collaboration space that gives policymakers, government officials, communities and industry leaders the opportunity to explore possible outcomes of planning decisions on factors such as transportation, education, health and justice. It also employs virtual reality and augmented reality technology that provide realistic and dynamic experiences.