We’re holding our first Surround Sound for Sustainable Precincts on 12 August and if you send us a good question to put to panellists or the audience you could win one of 10 tickets we’ve reserved for our readers.

Send an email to editorial@thefifthestate.com.au

Or take this  survey to help shape out content for the night and the ebook that will follow.


6pm, Wednesday 12 August
AECOM offices
420 George Street, Sydney

Co-lead sponsors: AECOM, UrbanGrowth NSW, Flow Systems

Supporting sponsor: Waverley Council

MC: Maria Atkinson, co-founder and founding CEO of the Green Building Council of Australia, former global head of sustainability for Lend Lease


  • Matt Plumbridge, UrbanGrowth, Senior Manager – Sustainable Development
  • David Barnard, AECOM, Urban Design Leader
  • Terry Leckie, Flow
  • Sally Betts, Waverley Council, Mayor
  • David Rolls, Mirvac, Head of Cities & Urban Renewal
  • Tim Williams, Committee for Sydney, CEO
  • Paul Walker, Lend Lease, Head of Investment, Urban Regeneration
  • Erin Flaherty, Infrastructure NSW, Executive Director
  • Michelle Tabet, independent strategy director

So what’s a Surround Sound?

Here’s the quick view: a cross between Q&A and Shakespeare in the Round. There’ll be soapboxes scattered throughout the room with microphones – designed to make it as easy as possible to jump up and have your say!

Up on stage will be our expert panel, ready for the cut and thrust of vigorous discussion. It might get a little bawdy… but MC Maria Atkinson will be on hand to keep things professional but fun!


We see a time that’s never been more disruptive. Here’s our quick view, but what’s yours?


There’s the rise of the 20 minute city, demands for distributed utilities and new methods of finance. At the same time, sharing economies are on the rise and communities want better transport, better place making, affordable housing, social equity and new governance models.


Exponential advances in technology are driving us to a future we can barely imagine right now: a massive switch to clean energy (Vivek Wadhwa, one of “The most 40 influential minds in technology” says it will be 100 per cent in 15 years); huge advances in sensors that will detect and decode our every habit and hopefully minimise waste and help create the circular economy.


Overriding all is the critical phase of climate change that we’re entering, demanding mitigation and resilience planning throughout.

At the intersection of all of this are the developers, the planners, the designers, the governments and the myriad consultants whose job it is to think ahead and design today what will be delivered in five or 10 years.

The challenges will be immense.

What are the important questions you want to see us address now, on 12 August and in our book? What message will we send to Australia and to the world?

Send your best question to editorial@thefifthestate.com.au

Also answer our survey and tell us what you want to see discussed.

Closing date for free tickets will be Friday 7 August.

Expect a great night.

There will be plenty of time to chat and network, and plenty to eat and drink thanks to our hosts AECOM.

All the better to loosen inhibitions and set the night in motion.

Then watch for the ebook.