Sensor Networks for Urban Green Spaces

Communicating the benefits of intangible things is inherently difficult. In the same way that quantifying benefits are inherently difficult in complex systems such as an urban landscape.  Although the cooling benefits of trees and parks exist, there is difficult in measuring the benefits.

New devices and sensors that are connected are enabling the establishment of an intelligent network of environmental sensors throughout the grey and green space matrix of the urban landscape. These sensors gather and capture data providing a means to shape understanding of the less tangible benefits that trees and green space provide to the community.

This project is establishing and trialling a sensor network to demonstrate the potential of a distributed sensor network to measure and monitor the conditions in the urban environment. The sensors will continuously monitor air temperature, relative humidity, noise levels, light levels as well as carbon monoxide and nitric oxide concentrations. This data provides a unique layer to be included with numerous other data sets (traffic, population profile, building footprints) and the data will be linked to spatially discrete indicators of environmental benefit on the City of Melbourne's 'Urban Forest Visual Map'.

Research Team

Research Partners

Michelle Fitzgerald
Chief Digital Officer
City of Melbourne

Ian Shears
Urban Sustainability
City of Melbourne

Steve Perumal
Senior Project Manager
City of Melbourne


Seed Funding 2016

Cleaner safe air needs you! by Andrew Trounsen, Pursuit, 11 October 2016.

Global 'greening' mops up carbon dioxide - but for how long?, Phil Ritchie, Cosmos, 27 April 2016.

Does higher-density city development leave urban forests out on a limb?, The Conversation, 14 April 2016.

In a heatwave, the leafy suburbs are even more advantaged, The Conversation, 8 February 2016.