Revolutionising city planning using AI-driven big-data

FrontierSI and UNSW collaborate with end users from state and local governments and the private sector to sharpen land and property decisions and enable highly accurate and transparent property valuations using artificial intelligence and machine learning.



Phil Delaney – Deputy CEO


Mark Nassif – CEO


FrontierSI is a social enterprise that exists to maximise environmental, social, and economic outcomes for Australia and New Zealand using commercial strategies to anticipate and solve major problems involving space or spatial technologies.

In Australia, land and property is the nation’s single largest asset class, yet when it comes to development, zoning, protection, risk management, and transacting of properties, a key challenge FrontierSI recognised is how to accurately and transparently model property valuations. 

“It is not just about understanding what a property’s value is, but understanding why it is that value. This critical information would allow us to run a range of future scenarios, which would then help to maximise outcomes such as improve public transport, while at the same time also improving property value,” Phil Delaney, Deputy CEO, FrontierSI.

In addition to this challenge which affects city planning and infrastructure more broadly is that the valuation model being used today to inform things like land tax collection, infrastructure investment, home-lending, insurance risk, and investment returns is slow, dated, labour-intensive, and expensive.


The first part of the solution is the proof-of-concept. Underpinned by a user-centred and co-design approach, the research project involved key stakeholders attending a series of structured workshops to develop an outcome or product that would ensure the greatest likelihood of end user adoption.

As part of the product’s subsequent development phase, the series of co-design workshops allowed for the system requirements and resulting product – Rapid Analytics Interactive Scenario Explorer (RAISE), to be iteratively refined and validated with end users using interactive touch screens and interactive projectors at UNSW’s City Analytics Lab (CAL).

The research project also included UNSW students: four PhD students who focused on technology usability, infrastructure financing and economics, AI-based urban value forecasting, and predictive techniques based on complexity modelling for forecasting land use change dynamics; and four masters students whose role was to explore value uplift scenario options, model validation, and in particular cyber security with respect to issues such as data governance, data integrity and fraud prevention.

The end product is a revolutionary and the first-of-its-kind real estate valuation software tool. Under the product brand name of Value Australia, the data-driven interactive toolkit has a unique ‘what-if’ scenario capability technology to facilitate evidence-based solutions to support better city planning.

The AI-driven technology also enables highly accurate and transparent property valuations. This benefit led to the second part of the valuation modelling solution – commercialisation to maximise value, use, and impact. Through an extensive engagement process, the Value Australia team identified PEXA, an ASX- listed Australian company that provides digital solutions to government and industry problems in digital property conveyancing, as an ideal partner to drive the technology to market.

“UNSW has really created an innovative and interactive technology that allows instant and multiple scenarios in real time to help inform decisions, which is really a game changer for government because it saves them costs and time. The other part which is really important is that it's evidence-based,” Mark Nassif, CEO, PEXA.


In 2022, UNSW, FrontierSI, and PEXA worked closely together to plan out the market entry path for the products and establish the new spinout company, Slate Analytics. Value Australia continues being used as the main marketing and trading name.

By mid-2023, the spinout development reached new heights with the public launch of Value Australia commercial products. Slate Analytics has since secured a multiyear deal selling to a tier 1 bank and has also entered a world first pilot program with an Australian state government. The pilot program is currently in progress and aims to address the housing supply and demand and affordability issue in Australia using real-time evidence-based data to test different planning scenarios.

"The reality is when you're in a commercial practice, it's really hard to devote resources to do innovation because you're so busy doing business as usual. I had never worked with a university in a partnership before, but working with UNSW has really given our business a lot of confidence. It's a massive benefit and in fact it's the most refreshing part for me. It’s been really positive,” Mark Nassif.

“Someone like Chris, who after a decade of working with us, understands the kinds of ideas that we would invest in. Lots of people have good ideas. For us, it was about partnering with somebody who had good ideas, but also had the drive to connect how the idea was likely to make an impact back out in the real world, and who also wanted to be part of the entire journey, including the implementation,” Phil Delaney.