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Innovation precinct in the making

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If you’ve driven past Curtin’s Bentley campus recently, it’s likely you’ve caught a glimpse of extensive construction works in progress. What’s happening at Curtin is no small feat – the campus is dramatically transforming.

The development is part of a long-term plan that will deliver a range of public infrastructure and amenities on campus, including a new bus interchange due for completion in 2018, recreational spaces, and retail, food and beverage outlets.

Aptly named Greater Curtin, the plan is to develop Curtin as a vibrant part of the city – making the campus a year-round destination for the community, and attracting business, researchers and government to partner in innovative pursuits. The development is expected to contribute substantial investment to the state and local economies, and generate more than 20,000 jobs.

“It’s about creating an urban environment that embraces all the things that make great cities around the world – a place where people want to spend time,” explains the General Manager of Greater Curtin Stage One, Tim Urquhart.

“Condensed and active with vibrant street-life – buzzing cafés, lush green spaces, punctuated with art and culture. It invites community and industry to be part of Curtin’s teaching, learning and research environment.”

The cornerstone of Greater Curtin can be seen in the construction of the five-storey Curtin Medical School building and a new major ‘boulevard’ linking the main entrances to the campus.

Plans for the coming years include student accommodation, teaching and research facilities, commercial space, curated retail and a range of public spaces and amenity.

The development has already generated interest from the private sector. Shortlisted parties are preparing detailed proposals to finance, deliver and operate infrastructure with construction expected to start next year.

“We are looking to attract businesses that are aligned with Curtin’s vision to constantly innovate and produce commercial and community benefits,” says Urquhart.

“Our key areas are health, agriculture, mining, big data analytics, technology – there’s a plethora of opportunities for business, from start-ups to major corporates. We are excited to harness research capabilities in partnership with industry to stride forward in innovation.”

The Greater Curtin development is underpinned by a commitment to sustainability, and will align with Green Star certification. Embedded smart technologies will improve efficiencies and convenience in areas such as energy use, transport, housing, safety and security.

“Autonomous vehicles are being trialled alongside smart parking technology, which will provide live data and advice for drivers. Facial recognition technology will also play a significant role in on-campus safety and convenience – allowing for features such as key-less entry housing,” explains Urquhart.

For Urquhart, the vision is not only for the university to be a global leader in learning, teaching and research, but also to become one of Perth’s key thriving urban communities.

“Ultimately, we want people to have a great experience at Curtin,” he says. “We want people to be able to prosper and have a greater sense of wellbeing while being immersed in an innovation precinct – a living laboratory.”

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