About Marcus Foth

Professor Marcus Foth is founder and director of the Urban Informatics Research Lab, and Principal Research Fellow in the School of Design, Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology.
Marcus’s research focuses on the relationships between people, place and technology. He leads a cross-disciplinary team that develops practical approaches to complex urban problems. He adopts human-computer interaction and design methodologies to build engagement around emerging issues facing our cities. Marcus’s recent work has examined:

Urban planning – new approaches to community participation and engagement
Environmental sustainability – new strategies for energy monitoring in domestic settings
Food futures – new ideas to re-think eating, cooking and growing food in the city
Collaboration and co-working spaces – new aspirations for libraries in the 21st century

Marcus has received over $2.3 million in national competitive grants and industry funding. He was inducted by the planning, design and development site Planetizen to the world’s top 25 leading thinkers and innovators in the field of urban planning and technology.
Marcus has authored and co-authored over 110 publications in journals, edited books, and conference proceedings. He is the editor of the Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics (IGI 2009), co-author of Action Research and New Media (Hampton Press 2009), co-editor of From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen (MIT Press 2011), and co-editor of Eat Cook Grow: Mixing Human-Computer Interactions with Human-Food Interactions (MIT Press 2013, in press). He was the co-chair of the Oxford Internet Institute’s Summer Doctoral Programme 2009, conference chair of OZCHI 2009 and the 5th International Conference on Communities and Technologies (C&T) 2011.
Marcus has been invited to give presentations at leading research institutions, including MIT, Harvard, Emerson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Oxford, University of Manchester, Tsinghua University, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, IT University of Copenhagen, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

Early experiments show a smart city plan should start with people first

May 30, 2014. QUT Reconciliation Week Flag projection. phototonyphillips.com

Brisbane May 30, 2014. phototonyphillips.com

The federal government’s recently released Smart Cities Plan is built on three pillars: smart investment, smart policy and smart technology. Yet, it also suggests that:

Cities are first and foremost for people.


If our cities are to continue to meet their residents’ needs, it is essential for people to engage and participate in planning and policy decisions that have an impact on their lives.

Despite this quintessential policymaking statement, the plan largely uses language that conveys a limited role for people in cities: they live, work and consume. The absence of a more thorough response is surprising considering the rich body of work calling for better human engagement in the smart city agenda.
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Why we should design smart cities for getting lost

The ‘Lose Yourself in Melbourne’ ad was onto something: instead of being directed to the fastest or shortest route, some people might want to take a diverting detour. 'It's Easy to Lose Yourself in Melbourne', Tourism Victoria

The ‘Lose Yourself in Melbourne’ ad was onto something: instead of being directed to the fastest or shortest route, some people might want to take a diverting detour. ‘It’s Easy to Lose Yourself in Melbourne’, Tourism Victoria

The internet has reached our cities. A smart city is optimised for efficiency, productivity and comfort.

The smart city uses intelligent transport systems. It is administered by integrated urban command centres, which analyse the omnipresent raw material of the digital era: big data. As citizens go about their everyday lives, they leave data traces everywhere, even in the sewers.
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A kind of magic: interaction design for participatory and civic innovation

Kenya 2008, Arab Spring, Stuttgart 21, Fukushima, Istanbul… we believe that design research across people, place and technology is a significant and timely topic to help bring about innovation for local communities and civic issues.
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