It’s been quiet on the event and ebook front for way too long. Now it’s action stations again.

We’re holding a Surround Sound for Sustainable Precincts on 12 August in Sydney and we’ll soon also publish a new ebook series, Greening Your Office.

Book 1 in the series will be on green ICT. It will be a fantastic book; we know, because it’s in its very final stages and we can see it’s shaped up very well indeed.

Next in the series will be waste, followed by procurement and energy.

The series is in collaboration with CitySwitch and will be distributed and promoted to CitySwitch’s more than 700 signatories.

We know this market is already engaged in the sustainability journey because they are part of CitySwitch.

It’s an unparalleled opportunity to reach these hard-to-get-to but very influential tenants in our city’s major office buildings and we think the ebook series will start to change behaviour in the same way that our Happiness book series has.

What will be really useful to this market is good information and data that will empower stakeholder champions to stimulate change in their workplaces.

That’s what our Green ICT book will do.

It will also open up opportunities to a huge number of other office tenants who are thinking about embarking on the sustainability agenda and don’t quite know where to start.

To be part of this series and to advertise contact us on +61 (0) 2 808 42291

Guests from our Surround Sound event in Perth last year.

Surround Sound for Sustainable Precincts

Well this is going to be popular judging by how fast the tickets are being taken up. It’s our first Surround Sound in Sydney and the event takes last year’s Salon for Sustainable Precincts out to a much bigger audience.

Our audience will be a handpicked crowd who have been identified by their colleagues and friends as key influencers in driving better urban outcomes.

We’ll ask them all to come fully prepared with questions, comments and even small “rants” to provoke some good responses.

We will also be canvassing widely for ideas that need to be put to the panel and audience alike.

Panellists are:

  • Matt Plumbridge (UrbanGrowth NSW)
  • David Barnard (AECOM)
  • Terry Leckie (Flow)
  • David Rolls (Mirvac)
  • Tim Williams (Committee for Sydney)
  • Jonathan Emery (Lend Lease)
  • Erin Flaherty (Infrastructure NSW)
  • Sally Betts (Waverley Council)
  • Michelle Tabet (placemaker)

MC is the inimitable Maria Atkinson, co-founder and first chief executive of the Green Building Council of Australia.

Co-lead sponsors are UrbanGrowth NSW, AECOM and Flow Systems, and supporting sponsor is Waverley Council.

As with our Perth Surround Sound, this will be a highly interactive event, with 70-80 people, soapboxes and microphones scattered through the room and plenty of questions, comments or provocations encouraged. A bit Q&A meets Shakespeare in the Round.

And of course there will be an ebook to bring the event to all our audience.

We will make some tickets available for our readers so keep an eye out for our ticket release.

Some preparatory reading

For some insight into some of the issues that can be covered on the night, see Cameron Jewell’s article, which has been widely republished, including on the UNSW website

A discussion on city governance – with bite

It was an encouraging sign to see newly installed NSW planning minister Rob Stokes at the first UNSW in the City roundtable on Wednesday night, with the minister admitting it was a challenging portfolio he had just stepped into.

Perhaps the advice of Australia’s top thinkers on urban governance could be just what the doctor ordered, especially given the trouble planning reform has landed this government in previously.

The topic of discussion: The Citizen’s City – devolution and localism. Pertinent considering the government’s previous rhetoric on planning reform was about handing back power to the community, rhetoric widely criticised as disingenuous.

Hosted by the Australian Graduate School of Urbanism and Cox Richardson Architects and Planners at Cox’s new CBD office space, the small invited audience of academics, architects, planners and public servants engaged in conversation on how to achieve better decision-making in cities, and whether the solution lies in more devolution of power to a regional or local level.

According to Cox director and chair Philip Graus, the roundtable format is ideal because “people learn more from a conversation than an argument”.

And so to the crux of the roundtable: who runs, and who should run, the city.

Speaking were Professor Mark Tewdwr-Jones, professor of town planning at the University of Newcastle in the UK and adjunct professor of urban planning and design at UNSW; principal of SGS Economics and Planning Marcus Spiller; and Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, founder of the newDemocracy Foundation.

A crisis of confidence

Tewdwr-Jones spoke to the audience about the UK’s experience with “localism”.

He told the gathering there was an appetite for public engagement and participation in metropolitan decision-making, with citizens wanting “a voice in the process of change beyond traditional democratic means”.

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