Smart Cities

The ‘Smart City’ is not an urban planning term, it was dreamed up by large global tech companies.

This week we hear from Dr Tooran Alizadeh about smart cities, the digital infrastructure that is required to enable them, and the need for telecommunications planners. This Sydney Business Insights podcast is from our friends over in the University of Sydney’s Business School.


Tooran is an interdisciplinary academic leading cutting-edge research on the policy and planning implications of telecommunication infrastructure. Her research agenda covers the National Broadband Network (NBN) in Australia, smart cities, urban digital strategies, and telework. Tooran has published widely on the urban and regional policy and planning implications of telecommunication infrastructure.

Read more about Tooran’s work on digital infrastructure and cities here: The NBN: how a national infrastructure dream fell short in The Conversation

Music via Free Music Archive: Catching Feathers RMX by Ketsa


Digital Cities

The terms ‘Car Sharing’ and ‘Smart Homes’ conjure up images of driverless cars and automatic coffee machines.

But the digital transformation of our lives is a bit more complex than this. In this episode, Robyn Dowling and Sophia Maalsen take a look at the digitisation of our urban lives. Sophia talks about doing digital ethnography and Robyn talks about the politics of digital infrastructure and data.

Professor Robyn Dowling is well-known for her work on social and cultural geographies of cities, and in particular suburban homes, neighbourhoods and lives. This includes long-term research on the suburbs and homes of Sydney, documented in international journal publications and her co-authored book Home (with Alison Blunt, published by Routledge). This is currently being extended in a project on the ways in which energy transitions are being enacted in commercial office spaces. She conducted Australia’s first qualitative research on car sharing that is being widely cited internationally.

Dr Sophia Maalsen is the Ian Fell Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, where she is researching the role of technology in ‘smart homes’ as a locus to address future environmental and social challenges. Prior to joining the University of Sydney, Sophia was a postdoctoral researcher on the EU funded Programmable City Project where she investigated the digital transformation of cities and urban governance. In particular, she worked on the development of the Dublin Dashboard, a city metrics indicator designed to provide Dublin City Council and the residents of Dublin with real-time and relevant data on the City’s performance.

Music via Free Music Archive: Catching Feathers RMX by Ketsa

Foreign Investment & Cities

You could be forgiven for thinking that the Chinese are the only foreign investors buying housing in Sydney and Melbourne.

Sha refers to this chart

There has certainly been a lot of stories about foreign real estate investment in Australia in the news lately. Often, this news is about Chinese investment in housing. In this episode of City Road Podcast we talk with University of Sydney PhD scholar Sha Liu, who has been digging into the patchy data to find out just how much foreign investment in Australian housing comes from China, and what makes Australian property so attractive to foreign investors.

Sha’s research focuses on the growing interactions between domestic housing policies in Australia and international housing markets and buyers. Her current research looks toward China, and the way the Chinese housing market is driving foreign investment.

Music via Free Music Archive: Catching Feathers RMX by Ketsa

Pets and Cities

There are more than 24 million pets in Australian homes. But our cities are not the easiest places to own a pet.

You can’t take your dog on the train in Australia, and if you’re a renter owning a pet, well that can make things really difficult when you try to secure a home. In this episode of City Rd Podcast we talk with Drs Emma Power from the University of Western Sydney and Jen Kent from Sydney University, about why Australian cities don’t necessarily share Australians’ love of pets.

Dr Jennifer Kent is a University of Sydney Research Fellow in the Urban and Regional Planning program at the University of Sydney. Jennifer’s research interests are at the intersections between urban planning, transport and human health and she publishes regularly in high ranking scholarly journals. Her work has been used to inform policy development in NSW and Australia, including Sydney’s most recent metropolitan strategy – A Plan for Growing Sydney. Prior to commencing a career in academia she worked as a town planner in NSW in both local government and as a consultant.

Dr Emma Power is a Senior Research Fellow at Western Sydney University. She is an urban cultural geographer who researches housing, home, ageing and human – animal relations. A particular focus is on everyday practices of homemaking and neighbouring, and the governance of everyday life within home. Emma’s research interests include: companion animals and community making; and the governance of companion animals in urban Australia, including in strata apartments and through tenancy policy; the place of wildlife in cities and suburbs.

Music via Free Music Archive: Catching Feathers RMX by Ketsa

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