Shaping our City

On Thursday, 21 February Arup’s Melbourne Office launched the first event in their thought leadership series, Shaping our City, a forum for open debate and discussion around the future of our built environment.

Arup invited five prominent thinkers and doers to participate in a panel discussion. Andrew Wisdom – Director of Distilled Wisdom set the scene with his presentation on Cities as Systems.

"Cities are complex beasts. We need to make sure that we are very clear on what we are ultimately trying to achieve through the systems and processes and organisations we use to manage and shape them. If we get this right, then our efforts will resonate with a broad range of people, will transcend the political cycle and will have a greater chance of success." Andrew Wisdom

The panel was moderated by Narelle Hooper – Former Editor of Financial Review’s BOSS Magazine. Each panellist was invited to speak about their specialist area and the impact each one has on shaping of our cities. The panel included the following participants:

  • Professor Billie Giles-Corti – Director, McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Mental Health and Community Wellbeing, University of Melbourne who focused on health and wellbeing

  • David Hodge – Executive Director, Planning, Building and Heritage Reform, Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) who focused on connectivity

  • Peter Bowtell – Building Practice Leader – for Australasia, Arup who focused on the Built Environment

“We each need to own the discussion about the future of our cities. It is clear that the time is right for us all to have a part in setting the future of our urban environment. We need community leaders who are prepared to articulate the important systemic changes that will add value to our future cities in a sustainable way.” Peter Bowtell

After the panellists presented their thoughts in five minute soundbites, Narelle Hooper opened the floor for comments amongst the invited audience and active debate ensued. A particularly pertinent comment from the audience is provided below:

“There is plenty of blaming the government going on in our field(s). What there is not enough of is presenting alternative ideas and plans, putting them out for the public to support or critique, and building a foundation of support to drive (or force) governmental change. I think we should keep this in mind and definitely consider how we might use this process to build some momentum amongst our peers, business partners and competitors going forward. We, as the planning and design community have the knowledge, tools and audience to catalyse this transformation...so let's do it!

To hear audio clips from the evening please select one of the audio links below. We would also like to continue the conversation and encourage those that would like to be involved and/or to add comments to the site to email Monica Hatcher.

The next series of Shaping our City is planned to be held in September, please feel free to contact Monica if you have any suggestions on speakers and/or if you would like to attend.

Listen to the Event

Introduction by Brendon McNiven – Principal Buildings Melbourne / Melbourne Office Leader, Arup and Andrew Wisdom’s presentation on Cities as Systems. Download.

Narelle Hopper and panellist’s responses to Andrew Wisdom’s Presentation. Download.

Narelle Hooper’s questions to the panellists. Download.

Discussion with the attendees. Download.