Urban engineers making our cities smarter

urban engineers

How are urban engineers shaping our cities?

A smart person is someone with information at their fingertips who knows how to use it. A smart city is kind of the same thing, only much bigger and more complex. “Smart city thinking makes good use of technology and information to make cities work better, to make them easier to navigate, to make them safer, and to make them healthier,” says Associate Professor Nick Falkner. It goes hand-in-hand with the ‘Internet of Things’; the digital duplicate of the ‘real’ city that enables us to explore, develop, create and improve it.

A smart city idea might be a virtual overlay that helps visitors explore Adelaide’s laneway culture, or Bluetooth beacons to highlight historical landmarks in the riverbank precinct. It could be a smartcard that allows the elderly to add extra seconds to pedestrian crossing lights, or a sensor laser-based system that can tell us what’s happening with traffic on certain roads.

Nick is director of the Australian Smart Cities Consortium; a University of Adelaide initiative bringing together researchers and future urban engineers in computing, engineering, urban design and many other areas to work with entrepreneurs, and local and state governments. It’s a unique opportunity for students in computer science or engineering and software engineering to put their skills to work solving real-world problems.

“There has never been a better time to learn computer science because students can get their ideas into reality and out there straight away.”

– Bianca Nogrady

Liked this article? Read more about pathways to computer science careers.

urban engineer

“There has never been a better time to learn computer science because students can get their ideas into reality and out there straight away.”

Heather Catchpole

Author: Heather Catchpole

Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs

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