RMIT has hosted the launch of a plan for eight new “smart” cities between Melbourne and Sydney, to be linked by high-speed rail.
The project, led by Consolidated Land and Rail Australia Ltd (CLARA), is thought to be the largest undertaking of its kind anywhere in the world.
It aims to address over-crowding in Melbourne and Sydney by developing high-tech and sustainable cities in regional Victoria and NSW.
RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, told the launch: “This is an exciting project that’s a perfect fit with RMIT’s strengths around technology, design and enterprise.
“Our researchers, teachers and students have a lot to offer this project – and a lot to gain in return, whether it is through work-integrated learning projects or research projects.
“We are already engaging in Melbourne’s next big piece of strategic infrastructure, the Metro Rail project.
“But the CLARA project is not just about a train system – it’s also about cities.
“Globally, RMIT understands the urban realm. Whether it’s here in Melbourne or downtown Ho Chi Minh City or Barcelona we use the city as a laboratory for our research.
“Through our deep relationship with the UN Global Compact Cities Programme, RMIT has significant resources to contribute to the creation of brand-new smart cities along the train route.
“Our researchers have much to offer around questions of design, renewable energy, landscape regeneration, compact cities and entrepreneurship.”
The launch was addressed by two former state premiers, Steve Bracks from Victoria and Barry O’Farrell from NSW.
Other speakers included CLARA chair, Nick Cleary; the Mayor of Greater Shepparton, Councillor Dinny Adem; and representatives from GE, CSIRO and SGS.
Professor Martyn Hook, Dean of RMIT’s School of Media and Communication, told the launch: “For the first time since Canberra over 100 years ago we get a chance to design an inland city with a sustainable, liveable, walkable urban future for a significant population, with the benefits of a rural Australian lifestyle.
“At RMIT our academics will work with Master of Architecture students and Master of Urban Design students to research and understand what a ‘smart’ city is in this context.
“We will explore how a CLARA city might be planned, how it can generate its own power, harvest its own water and manage its own waste.
“We will seek to reveal how these new compact cities might embrace technology, form a sense of community that resists the car and foregrounds health and creativity as its core agenda.”
Story: David Glanz