Urban Informatics Research Lab Turns 10!

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Urban Informatics Research Lab Turns 10!

The QUT Urban Informatics Research Lab is turning 10 years old this year (2006 – 2016), so what better occasion to celebrate this anniversary as part of the ACM Designing Interactive Systems (DIS’16) After Party!


We have exclusive use of the Tiki Bar at Alfred & Constance in Fortitude Valley.


There will be 80s music. And cake! Not to be missed!




Driven by curiosity, initiative and interdisciplinary exchange, the Urban Informatics Research Lab at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is a transdisciplinary cluster of people working on research and development at the intersection of people, places and technologies with a focus on urban contexts.


The lab was founded in 2006 by Prof. Marcus Foth. Since then we have rapidly evolved into an internationally recognised research and development lab. As a key part of the QUT School of Design, our vision is to go beyond disciplinary boundaries to generate and harness actionable knowledge focusing on urban contexts. Under the leadership of the current Director, Dr. Jaz Hee-jeogn Choi, our team consists of researchers and practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds across people, places, technologies: humanities and social sciences; design, planning, and architecture; human-computer interaction, information technology and computer science. 


 What binds us all together is the shared focus on the nexus of all three areas. We came up with the following definition, which was published in the CSCW 2011 proceedings on page 1. The fact that the paper appears on page 1 is actually arbitrary, but we still like to point it out 😉


Urban informatics is the study, design, and practice of urban experiences across different urban contexts that are created by new opportunities of real-time, ubiquitous technology and the augmentation that mediates the physical and digital layers of people networks and urban infrastructures.

(Foth, Choi, & Satchell, 2011)


A main driver of our work is the motivation to deliver not just rigorous research but also real world impact. We first started off with a study that significantly shaped the social sustainability strategies of the Kelvin Grove Urban Village, the Queensland Government’s flagship urban renewal project in inner-city Brisbane. The lab has also produced a number of technology innovations, such as:

  • CityFlocks – an early mobile location-based recommender system;
  • DispoMaps – an iPhone app to temporarily share a map with your location details with others and then dispose of it safely;
  • FixVegas – a mobile app that lets you take a photo of city assets and street furniture that require repair and submit a maintenance request to the local council;
  • CapitalMusic – a mobile app to visually share what music you are currently listening to with people in your vicinity, and;
  • Discussions in Space – a hybrid mobile phone and public screen application that allows passersby to contribute content via SMS or tweets.


Please join us and celebrate our 10th birthday. Cake, dancing, and great company. Who could resist this?!