Smart City Development: U-city

Creating a technology rich development in specialist disability and senior living

In Adelaide, South Australia, we are working with the not-for-profit organization Uniting Communities on a unique multi-use development that will combine specialist disability living accommodation with retirement apartments, a social services hub, café, offices and retail space.

Called U-City, this exciting project has become known as ‘the vertical city, within a city’ because at 20 stories high, its upper floors will offer spectacular views of Adelaide and the coastline.

Technologies that will assist U-City’s residents in their day-to-day lives, while at the same time offer optimum energy and environmental performance, were central to the vision of Uniting Communities. So we have worked closely with the scheme’s architect, Woods Bagot, to design features that will address the varying levels of living accommodation to be provided.

U-City is a smart hospital in Australia
Woods Bagot

Specialist disability accommodation and assistive technology

U-City incorporates all the attributes of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) which is specifically designed for people with significant functional impairment and/or very high support needs. In collaboration with various specialized equipment vendors, we combined many types of ‘assistive technology’ into the design of the building.

Assistive technology is not an ‘off the shelf’ solution, so a significant design challenge was to ensure the interoperability of the various technologies, while ensuring the apartments were Future Ready.

Energy efficient and sustainable

The embedded technology and assistive technology solutions that have been selected also support U-City’s sustainability goals. Sensor technology is used extensively throughout the building, for example, to manage lighting, heating and ventilation systems depending on occupancy levels. Other high-performance sustainable features include an embedded electricity network, a 55-kilowatt solar PV array on the roof, gas-boosted solar hot water provision, natural ventilation throughout all living spaces, double glazing, and shading features on the facade.

These initiatives have resulted in the award of a 6-Star Green Star design rating for the development from The Green Building Council of Australia, with the design scoring a total of 84.9 out of a possible 100. U-City has been recognized as South Australia’s ‘greenest’ building design to date, predicted to use 45 per cent less energy and 30 per cent less water than a comparable new building.