New modelling tool to improve regional planning for Illawarra

A new modelling platform called Vision Illawarra has launched to help local governments access relevant data and modelling tools to properly contribute to regional planning.

The platform was designed by the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility and provides access to consistent and up to date information on transport, land use, economic growth and demographic change. A new modelling platform called Vision Illawarra has launched to help local governments access relevant data and modelling tools to properly contribute to regional planning.

Vision Illawarra is made up of two parts called the Vision Illawarra Dashboard and the Vision Illawarra Modelling Platform.

The Dashboard is a free public site that compiles available data on recent economic demographic, transport, utility usage and land use figures. It is kept up to date to allow benchmarking and spatial analyses.

The Modelling Platform is a subscription based platform that helps planners and policy makers understand the change a planning or policy change will bring to the area.

SMART Director Professor Pascal Perez says the combination of rich data and sophisticated modelling software is of extraordinary benefit for a rapidly expanding area such as the Illawarra.

“Vision Illawarra achieves two objectives. First, it provides a one-stop shop – based on regularly updated data – to those organisations that contribute to the economic and social development of the Illawarra,” Mr Perez said.

“Second, it provides models for various growth scenarios so we can collectively plan for the future of the region and create a place that supports employment and creates a great place to live.”

“What makes this special is that the key players can easily work together using one platform, where they so often otherwise come into conflict, each pursuing their own individual agenda.”

“Council planners had already told us that it was one thing to access historical data, but crucially, they needed to know what might happen in the future. Vision Illawarra provides that capability,” he said.

The partners of the platform include Wollongong, Shellharbour, and Kiama councils, as well as data providers and the NSW Government.

General Manager of Wollongong City Council David Farmer highlighted the importance of liveability.

“We believe that quality information leads to quality decisions. Both the collation of new data, and the presentation of existing data onto one site provides that information and creates opportunities for people to make decisions in a whole range of ways,” Mr Farmer said.

“The future of cities is about liveability. If you attract the creative class, you create economic growth. In this new service economy, Wollongong wants to be able to attract people who are creative, who are attracted here for its liveability, and who also have an entrepreneurial spirit and will create employment.”

“If you don’t do that and you try and exist on other things, the future of an economy in a post-industrial world, isn’t bright,” he said.


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