Integrated design infrastructure for australian cities

This project has developed an innovative and integrative infrastructure for urban design research activities that can help researchers visually examine the inter relationships of social, economic and environmental performance of a typical urban precinct in Australia.
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3d simulation
3D modelling using the UrbanViewer

Project overview

The Integrated Design Infrastructure for Australian Cities project has developed a decision support environment suited to indicative scenario testing, in order to enhance our predictive modelling capability of interventions and investments in the built environment.

Currently, infrastructure investment and project scoping lacks an integrative evidence based infrastructure. A national e-research infrastructure that can be applied in 3 dimensions enhances the application of research in infrastructure investment.

This project has developed a prototype for Australia’s first 3D volumetric visualisation portal intended to provide policy makers, researchers and professionals with an interface to model alternative evidence-based scenarios in precincts of varying scales, and beyond the current capability of 2D GIS based software.

Two demonstrator sites, Tonsley in South Australia and Logan in Queensland, are being used to test the applicability of 2 dimensional AURIN e-infrastructure (data and e-tools) by translating these datasets in to 3 dimensional environments. This online platform serves as a basis to assess alternative approaches offering extensible functionality to be applied in different parts of a city or in different cities of Australia.

The Tonsley, South Australia demonstrator site is within Daws Rd to Sturt Rd, South Rd to Marion Rd, comprising Clovelly Park, Mitchell Park and Tonsley Park site, Adelaide. This wider precinct is to be included in 2D only to test the integration of 2D and 3D information in a larger precinct beyond the site. The Volumetric model is limited to the Tonsley site only. In 2012, the Government of South Australia prepared a master plan for the site comprising buildings, streets and cycleways and open space. The 3D volumetric visualisation models this master plan, including alternative scenarios for the mix of program uses, energy, waste and water consumption, identified by the Demonstration Site partners and Expert Panel.

3d modelling tool
3D modelling capability

The Logan, Queensland demonstrator site comprises two areas defined by Beenleigh and Yarrabilba, broadly located adjacent to the Pacific Motorway between the City of Brisbane and the Gold Coast City Council area. The Logan Redlands RDA (Regional Development Australia) has indicated its support for an integrated e-research tool to inform work in the region.

The study area is located within Logan Redlands, which has the fourth fastest growth rate in the South East Queensland conurbation, located between the first and second most populous local government areas of Brisbane and the Gold Coast. More than 200 ethnicities are represented, with more than a quarter of residents born overseas.

Around a third of the population is aged under 20 years. The population is expected to increase by up to 200,000 within the next 20 years and Logan’s objective is to create at least 53,000 jobs to support this population growth. Redlands is ranked fifth most disadvantaged local government area in Queensland.

The study area has been chosen in consultation with the City of Logan and RDA Logan Redlands, to assist with the Beenleigh implementation plan and planning of the Yarrabilba greenfields development.

The project has developed an innovative and integrative infrastructure for urban design research activities that can help researchers visually examine the inter relationships of social, economic and environmental performance of a typical urban precinct in Australia, and to undertake scenario testing that is dynamically linked to evidence based visual output.


The e-tools developed by this project allow policy makers, urban researchers and built environment professions to:

  • access 3 dimensional spatial models of the demonstration sites
  • input alternative scenarios based on parametric mesh-based and object-based modelling
  • have access to guides, specifications and standards on the translation of 2 dimensional data in to data with volumetric characteristics
  • visualise the relational impact of inter-dependent datasets, including land use and transport networks
Residential building report using the Tonsley site

project team overview

The Integrated Design Infrastructure for Australian Cities project is led by Tim Horton, Professor Mark Burry and Professor Robin Drogemuller and managed by The Australian Workplace Innovation and Social Research Centre (WISeR) within the University of Adelaide.

WISeR focuses on work and socio-economic change. WISeR is particularly interested in how organisational structure and practices, technology and economic systems, policy and institutions, environments and culture interact to influence the performance of workplaces and the wellbeing of individuals, households and communities.

The project is closely partnered with the University of Melbourne, Queensland University of Technology, RMIT, Renewal SA and the Logan City Council.

Tim HortonTim Horton
Project Leader
WISeR, The University of Adelaide
0410 410 525
Mark Burry Black-White (2)Prof Mark Burry
Director, Design Research Institute
Robin DrogemullerProf Robin Drogemuller
Professor in Digital Design
Queensland University of Technology
07 3138 6965

Bianca BarbaroBianca Barbaro
Project Manager
WISeR, The University of Adelaide
08 8313 3351


Project Partners

UoA_logo_col_horz RMITLogo_resize3 QUT_Logo_Standard_CMYK




further reading

  • Badland, H, White, M & MacAulay, G 2013, ‘Using Agent-Based Modelling to Inform Neighbourhood Walkability’, Spatial Data Access and Integration to support liveability, p. 23.
  • Burry, M 2013, Scripting cultures: Architectural design and programming, John Wiley & Sons.
  • Davis, D, Burry, J & Burry, M 2012, Yeti: Designing geometric tools with interactive programming. Design and semantics of form and movement, p. 196.
  • Ednie-Brown, P, Burry, M & Burrow, A 2013, ‘The Innovative Imperative: Architectures of Vitality’, Architectural Design, vol. 83, no. 1, pp. 8-17.
  • Salim, FD 2012, ‘Probing Streets and the Built Environment with Ambient and Community Sensing’, Journal of Urban Technology,  vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 47-67.
  • Salim, FD, Jaworski P, Kaftan, M, Friedrich, E, Urquiza, R, Oh, S, Fihn, J, Galaso, JP, Roa, R, Banke, T, Bak, J, Kalvo, R, Di Leo, S, Madeddu, D, Albuquerque, J, Gillespie, D, Østergaard, J 201 ‘Informing Architecture and Urban Modeling with Real@World Data on 3D Tangible Interfaces and Augmented Displays’, Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA 2011), Banff, Canada.
  • Salim, FD & Jaworski, P 2013, ‘Exploring Human-Computer Interaction in the Design Process’, Inside Smart Geometry, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, April 2013.
  • White, M 2010, The Subtracto Sun: 4D Solar Envelope Modelling, in Homo Faber: Modelling, Identity and the Post Digital, eds M Burry, M Ostwald, P Downton & A Mina, Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory, Melbourne, Australia.
  • White, M 2013, The ‘Subtracto-Sun’ – Using Four-Dimensional Solar Planning Envelopes to Maintain Solar Amenity whilst Increasing Population Density, Aachener Geographische Arbeiten, Aachen, Germany (forthcoming).
  • White, M 2007, Densification, Pedestrian Catchments and the Battle for Middle Earth. Can Agent Based Pedestrian Modelling be Used to Inform Urban Morphology?, IFHP 2007 Copenhagen Future of Cities Impacts: Indicators: Implementations, 51st IFHP World Congress, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • White, M 2007, ‘The plan is an inadequate tool for planning: Enhancing the urban design process through the use of 3D+ digital tools directed towards sustainability’, Forum on the application of sustainable theory to urban development practice proceedings, College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning on the University of Cincinnati. Cincinnati, Ohio, US.
  • White, M 2008, Informing an Integrated and Sustainable Urbanism through Rapid, Defragmented Analysis and Design. PhD Thesis, RMIT University.
  • White, M 2008, ‘A Real Walking City’, Unbuilt, Architecture Australia (Jan 2008) Melbourne, Australia.
  • White, M and Langenhiem, N 2014, ‘Urban Street Tree Modelling: Urban Street Tree Shade Analysis Using High Polygon 3D Models with Photometric Daylight Systems’,  ISUFconference proceedings (forthcoming), Porto, Portugal.
  • White, M 2013, Using The ‘Subtracto Silhouette’ Parametric View Shed Method’ in Structure Planning and Architectural Design, 20th International Seminar on Urban Form Proceedings, University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.