Hames Sharley has been announced the ‘connectivity’ category winner of the 2016 CityLife Project – an international competition hosted by the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA).

The competition, which aims to promote the development of ‘liveable, affordable, and connected’ Australian cities, announced Hames Sharley’s Connectivity Measuring Toolkit as its winning entry for the category, after receiving applications from urban designers all over the world.

Working in collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Hames Sharley Director and Portfolio Leader of Urban Development, Michelle Cramer, said the Connectivity Measuring Toolkit would simplify planning decisions by providing a common platform for examining and assessing projects for developers and governments alike.

“In future communities, competitive advantage will come from how places are connected, not just what they look like,” Ms Cramer said. “But the infrastructure that facilitates this connectivity can be expensive.”

“The Toolkit will help map the benefits of connectivity and allow governments, developers and investors to direct dollars to the right places.”

UTS Business School researcher Dr Jochen Schweitzer said the key to the team’s successful proposal was that it was a “human-centred”, open and design-led approach.

“The Toolkit will involve ethnographic research and the inclusion of various stakeholders,” Dr Schweitzer said. “This sort of approach to innovation has been shown to result in more accepted and effective solutions.”

Michelle Cramer said that the possibilities of the Connectivity Measuring Toolkit are far greater than pure measurement.

“The research can provide a foundation for unlocking the untapped benefits of urban spaces, for businesses owners, traders and communities,” Ms Cramer said.

“By extension, it can bring developers and governments together to provide a common ground for mutually agreeable outcomes to be tested, discussed and refined – demonstrating a relationship between good economics and good design.

“We’re very excited about winning our category – particularly as it’s an international competition – but we’re more excited to get started on the project and see how we can contribute to the future of our urban environments.”

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