Liveable City Digital Twin

Analytics for Agile Decision Making

Piloting a precinct level, analytics-aided, and standards-based 3D/4D digital twin in Western Sydney (NSW) focused on urban liveability and climate adaptability use cases.


The Challenge

A robust city modelling framework is essential if local, state and national governments and communities are to work together across complex multi-sectoral problems to improve urban liveability and climate adaptability. Currently there is a lack of a publicly available, broadscale 3D digital representation of the impact of the urban landscape and building design on urban heat islands, street shading and walkability. This project aims to develop a demonstration digital twin which will embed the required analytics within a 3D city modelling framework to address these critical challenges within the built environment.

The Solution

Digital twins have the potential to transform the design, management and performance of the built and natural environment. While a variety of digital twins support exploration, visualization and analysis of multi-dimensional data, use cases which demonstrate the analytical power of digital twins – and specifically 3D and real-time data streams within an integrated analytical treatment for situational awareness – are still lacking. Purpose-built use cases which are developed on common frameworks and are open standards-driven, will contribute to the wider use of digital twins.

This project will pilot a digital twin illustrating how behaviour (i.e.: movements) change as a function of a complex interaction of environmental and physical conditions. Such conditions include the impact of 3D urban landscape and building design on urban heat islands, street shading and walkability, understanding walking behaviour as a function of heat, time of day, 3D structure, and how, for example, this may allow mitigation and adaption to be designed in relation to social distancing.

This collaboration aims to develop the following outcomes:

  • Algorithms for real-time monitoring and propagation of temperature (i.e.: 3D contour maps), computation of shadows, and analysis of pedestrian movement.
  • A spatial schema and generic workflows for creating a digital twin from data portals, BIM data and sensor data.
  • A mechanism and interfaces for maintaining up-to-date digital twin data.
  • Recommendations for follow-on Developing strategic overview, industry stakeholder review and recommendations


The pilot will concentrate on 3D analytics to urban micro-climate, including urban heat islands, temperature propagation, shadowing and its effect on pedestrian thermal comfort, mobility and walkability across selected urban scenarios in Western Sydney, a fast-developing area posing many challenges to urban planners and stakeholders. Once digital twin frameworks are further developed through use cases such as this Pilot, there will be other application areas that will benefit, including construction, asset management and planning/design. This Pilot will make progress towards a digital twin framework for data ingestion protocols, data management, workflows and real-time data analytics for situational awareness. It is designed to be scalable and transferable to other application domains, for example melding 3D city-models and real-time data streams to other problems.

Project Participants

This project is supported by FrontierSI, AURIN, UNSW Research Infrastructure and in collaboration with NSW Spatial Services, Data61, QLD DNRME SpatialVision and Astrolabe.

Participant’s details Organisation Responsibility
Sisi Zlatanova UNSW Project Lead
Abdoulaye Diakite UNSW Development team
Negin Nazarian UNSW Development team
Jack Barton UNSW Project Coordinator
Michael Comninos Astrolabe Steering Committee
Stuart Barr AURIN Steering Committee
Jim Sloan DNRME Steering Committee
Sudarshan Karki DNRME Steering Committee
Kathryn Salm FrontierSI Steering Committee
Emily Tinson​ Liverpool City Council Steering Committee
Wayne Patterson Spatial Services Steering Committee
Zaffar Mohamed-Ghouse Spatialvision Steering Committee
Christopher Pettit UNSW Steering Committee
Tomasz Bednarz UNSW/Data61 Steering Committee
Pascal Perez UoW Steering Committee




Contact persons

Jack Barton

Abdou Diakité