PANEL: I, HUMAN AND PEOPLE – HOW TO DRIVE SUCCESSFUL COMMUNITIES: Lauren Kajewski, Jess Miller, Helen Papathanasiou, Rod Simpson, Eugene Tan

Did you ever wonder why we rely on most of our progress in buildings and cities to be voluntary?

We don’t expect seat belt use to be voluntary.

In the growing urgency around climate, materials, urban heat islands, water scarcity and energy challenges, it’s equally absurd to expect an atomised industry full of competitive, profit-driven developers and their dependents to do anything much at all voluntarily.

To expect them to produce outcomes for the public good or anything remotely approaching a long term perspective could be asking way too much.

  • Readers can win one of three free tickets to Tomorrowland by sending in a question they’d like us to put to one of the panels. Send in your ideas to

But ask Helen Papathanasiou about the City of Parramatta’s impending mandates to significantly raise water and energy efficiency and install recycled water infrastructure for all buildings in the Parramatta CBD, and she will say it’s not been as hard as you’d expect.

Already, around 30 design excellence competitions have incorporated the new energy targets that include 25 per cent improvement on government targets for buildings of five to15 storeys and recycled water pipes.

And this is before there is final sign off from the state government on the targets.

There were a few questions at the start, but pretty soon developers simply got on with the job. Especially when Papathanasiou explained that the state government has plans for a recycled water treatment plan for the region.

At Tomorrowland19 next week, these interesting insights into a changing landscape for development will be just part of a fascinating panel with other members of government or government agencies, who will each bring their perspective to how the game is changing.

That’s the building side.

From Lauren Kajewski (Landcom), we’ll hear how master plans are being tapped for their opportunities to deliver better large scale urban projects. Eugene Tan, from Clayton Utz, works closely with Kajewski and will reveal how the law can become a handy ally in sustainability objectives, and City of Sydney councillor Jess Miller and former deputy Lord Mayor will be on hand to take questions of what her local government bailiwick is thinking.

From a bigger perspective, Rod Simpson from the Greater Sydney Commission will cast his views.

And moderating it all will be Alice Thompson who’s worked deep in the bowels of government and knows a thing or two about how it works.

But this is just a teaser. We promise there is so much more.

Don’t miss this day.

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