Deakn and SMEC partnership to grow Geelong’s sustainability

December 24, 2020 BY

Geelong - seen here - and Singapore both have UNESCO City of Design status, which will be a factor in the new partnership.

A NEW partnership between Deakin University and SMEC will aim to improve urban sustainability in Australia and abroad, and will first turn its attention to Geelong’s growth areas.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding signed last week, SMEC and Deakin will collaborate on projects to solve real-world challenges, drawing on shared expertise spanning architecture, design, urban and regional planning, landscape design, infrastructure engineering, construction, sustainable development and policy, among others.

Dr Phillip Roös, director of Deakin University’s Live+Smart Research Lab and Associate Head (Industry Engagement) in the School of Architecture and Built Environment, said the partnership would initially focus on innovative urban design and planning research to improve sustainability and environmental outcomes for the City of Greater Geelong’s growth areas, where SMEC has played a major role in the award-winning Warralily development in Armstrong Creek.

He said the research, which would be extended to other major cities in Australia, would use “enhanced technology, smart city concepts, and a digital twin scenario planning model to test solutions for complex issues in rapid urbanisation”.

“SMEC and Deakin’s Live+Smart Research Lab also are considering opportunities to move from rehabilitation to ongoing regeneration of exhausted quarry and mine sites, supporting ecosystems and surrounding communities in the face of climate change impacts.

“Further, the partnership provides scope to strengthen the biophilic cities concept for Geelong and Melbourne, building on the example of Singapore as a certified Biophilic City.”

SMEC market director of urban communities Kate Drews said SMEC was applying specialist technical capabilities and advanced engineering services to resolve complex issues across infrastructure and urban communities.

“Through our network of global specialists, collaboration with local partners and access to industrial-scale infrastructure, we’re turning ideas into commercial reality.”

The partnership will underpin joint proposals and tenders, research project development and
grant applications.

It also will support PhD programs, and training and supervision in postgraduate industry-related research, including mentoring by industry experts and exposure to groundbreaking projects that Ms Drew said would “provide future employees with the skills they need for 21st-century careers”.

Singapore, home to SMEC’s parent company Surbana Jurong, and Geelong, Deakin University’s birthplace, both have UNESCO City of
Design status.

Dr Roös said the SMEC-Deakin partnership provided an opportunity to leverage Singapore’s international leadership in smart city technology and Geelong’s expertise in design thinking.

“Collaboration will enable us to address sustainable and smart infrastructure in both cities to realise the UNESCO sustainable development goals.”

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