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Emergent cities

  • Wilkinson Building, Lecture Theatre 250 148 City Road Darlington, NSW, 2008 Australia (map)

City Size and Inequality

Applying scaling laws and complex system models to Australian data illuminates the relationships between city size, economic inequality and urbanisation. Dr Somwrita Sarkar, the University of Sydney, demonstrates how adopting a complexity science method can produce equitable outcomes for the city.


Barangaroo: Machiavellian megaproject or erosion of intent?

12 years, seven state premiers, one highly popular Mayor of Sydney, a confrontational ex-prime minister of Australia with a single-minded vision and acerbic tongue, a host of international starchitects, a billionaire casino magnate and one powerful development firm delivering it all exempt from City of Sydney planning regulations. What could possibly go wrong? Join Mike Harris, the University of Sydney PhD candidate as he focuses on mixed-use megaprojects in Australia and Denmark.


Smart Cities

This talk delves into the spread of smart city practices and promises around the world questioning how we can build telecommunication infrastructure into  strategic planning.  Dr Tooran Alizadeh, the University of Sydney makes the case for a first generation of ‘telecommunication planners’ in smart cities. 


Free event.
Refreshments available from 6pm.  Register here.  


Questions will be moderated at the event. If you have a question please submit to

Dr Somwrita Sarkar


Somwrita Sarkar is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney. Her research looks at complex systems and networks in various design, technological, engineering, and biological domains, and developing models and methods to better understand them. Specifically, she has worked on spectral methods of modularity detection in complex networks and network structure discovery from functional data. Her work is in the areas of city science research and urban data science, where she develops novel machine learning and data mining methods and uses the physics of complex systems to provide a deeper understanding of problems in urban planning research, especially focused around the social and economic dynamics of housing and transportation in the city. She teaches urban data analytics and information visualisation.


Dr Tooran Alizadeh


Dr Tooran Alizadeh is an interdisciplinary academic researching policy and planning implications of telecommunication infrastructure with a focus on the National Broadband Network (NBN) in Australia, smart cities, urban digital strategies, and telework. Her broader interest, however, includes spatial planning and urban design, post-disaster/war planning, spatial justice, and planning education. Prior to academia, Tooran had several years of professional practice and project management experience in metropolitan planning, new town development, urban design, and disaster management.


Mike Harris

Mike is a landscape architect and urban design researcher, teacher and practitioner. He is a lecturer in landscape architecture at UNSW and is currently undertaking a PhD on mixed-use megaprojects in Australia and Denmark through the University of Sydney and the Architecture School, KADK in Copenhagen. His PhD research investigates how the aims of mixed-use megaprojects with an explicit narrative of global economic competitiveness are reconciled with the delivery of strategic infrastructure, liveability goals, local identify and social equity.