Shaping the future state

Technologies, innovation, mega trends, how are they shaping our future? How are we anticipating change and planning the transformation of our built environment and our communities? These were the big questions posed to sustainability leaders and pioneers at this year’s Green Building Day in Sydney and Melbourne, themed around Shaping the Future State.

In both cities, the day kicked off with a state economic outlook as well as an assessment of the local property market. Dr Stefan Hajkowitcz, Senior Principle Scientist at the CSIRO then set the scene with an analysis of key global megatrends – major change drivers set to leave a mark in the next 20 years including resource scarcity, an ageing population, Asia’s rapid transition to a service sector economy and artificial intelligence.

“If you want to anticipate change in your sector, spend some time outside of it”, he said. It’s not the threats that you can see on the horizon that you need to track, he explained, but the ones that you can’t see that are likely to have the biggest impact.

Frasers Chief Executive Officer and GBCA Chair Rod Fehring agreed. Speaking as part of the leaders’ panel on visions and strategies in Sydney, he argued that many of the megatrends were already upon us. He acknowledged that understanding and navigating these risks can be tricky in the development sector but was also critical when building for future generations.

During the same panel session in Melbourne, Michelle Howard, the Managing Director of Collaborations pointed out that change is a constant, and that meant we needed to become more comfortable with uncertainty. It also meant that as planners and designers, we need to understand that we are managing a process of change, and build flexibility into plans and processes accordingly.

This theme was also echoed in the masterclass resilience in Melbourne, where Melissa Schultz, Group Manager Sustainability for Vicinity Centres discussed the importance of embedding resilience thinking into current frameworks, so their impact can resonate across organisations rather than sit on top of existing processes.

The sustainable digitalisation of buildings and cities was another theme explored by Simon Carter, Director of Morphosis, and Adam Beck, Executive Director of the Smart Cities Council of Australia and New Zealand on the two days. Given that we are crossing the threshold into a digitalised world, audiences heard about research projects and estate and cities, and the various projects underway to apply digital technologies and data ethically and sustainably, in a way that would benefit the sector and wider community.

Following a project update on the Green Star Future Focus and the Carbon Positive Roadmap, as well as the launch of the GBCA’s biodiversity paper, audiences in both states heard from a panel of experts and leaders from the public and private sectors on the challenges around achieving carbon positive buildings and the ways they were being overcome.

The afternoon was devoted to showcasing examples of industry leadership both internationally and locally, of putting carbon positive processes and strategies into practice. In wrapping up, audiences were treated to an engaging presentation from Brookfield Scientific Solutions Group on their market leading applications of biomimicry through innovative and unique building designs.

The Green Building Council of Australia would like to thank our sponsors on helping to deliver terrific events in both states:

Premium Sponsors: Frasers Property; Lendlease

Pit Stop Sponsors: BlueScope; GeoAir

Session Sponsors: Big Ass Fans; Integral Group and Living Green Star

Don’t miss our upcoming Green Building Days in Perth on 7 June and Brisbane on 14 June.