This research tests the usefulness of newly available datasets to inform the planning of social and community infrastructure in rapidly growing areas of Australian cities. It focusses on greenfield areas of Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth to demonstrate data sources and methods that can be replicated in other locations.
Overall, the project finds that big data sources can enrich spatial and infrastructure planning in high-growth areas of Australia. These data sources include Geoscape buildings growth data—used to add urban development information to population data; OpenStreetMap (OSM) —open-source map data; median speed data for every road link across Australia used to measure travel time by car; and General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data—used to measure travel times on transit in Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth. The new datasets are available for very fine-scale geospatial analysis and are updated with greater frequency than traditional data sources such as the census.
Currently there are difficulties in data and information sharing across agencies, and in translating data insights into funding and delivery priorities. There are also difficulties around accessing valuable data maintained by individual government agencies, despite increasing commitment to open data platforms. Further efforts to develop innovative measures for understanding and informing social infrastructure requirements and provision in Australia should address these implementation challenges.