From the CEO

28 July

It has been a difficult few weeks for many of us; looking outward as international conflicts escalate and directly impact many Australians and their families.

Ahead of the tragic, unthinkable events of the past fortnight, the future of our cities and built environment has been under the spotlight.

Built Environment Meets Parliament BEMP was held on 15 July. The major theme from the day was climate change and discussion centred on recognising and planning for the very real threats it poses. There were thought provoking sessions with the Hon Greg Hunt, MP, the Hon Jamie Briggs, MP, the Hon Kevin Andrews and Senator Scott Ludlum. Our invited keynote was the Hon Tim Fischer who spoke boldly about railways and the need to plan ahead and how our regions can grow sustainably. The summit also marked the launch of some fantastic programs. The Property Council previewed their City Deals case study with KPMG based on the UK’s City Deals program – a smart approach to supercharging economic growth and productivity through collaborative deals; and Livable Housing Australia launched a new website and online portal making it easier for all to design and build liveable housing using their voluntary guidelines and certification system.

It is clear that with initiatives such as these, we are competing internationally. We can all make positive changes and governments will follow.

BEMP is so important because it puts the conversation in front of politicians and involves collaboration between ministers and the host organisations. The event demonstrates unity of purpose and I believe we have to keep doing this as our leadership in this area is so important.

As outlined in last week’s e-news, the Australian Awards for Urban Design were announced BEMP eve, 14 July at the National Portrait Gallery – I’d like to congratulate the winners of this important program. More information here.

Following BEMP, the Institute presented its 47th Griffin Lecture at the National Press Club for the first time with a televised address. City of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore asked the question, ‘Should cities rule the world?’ Clover’s speech was bold and insightful – and incredibly relevant. Many of the experiences she recounted about Sydney reflect those of our other cities. Despite the politics and red tape she must contend with, Clover is hopeful for the future of our cities.

I would like to thank Clover for launching what we hope will be an annual presence at the Press Club, and also to the staff at the ACT Chapter and National office, who coordinated this very successful event. If you didn’t catch the broadcast, it is available to watch online.

The World Architecture Festival has announced the shortlist for the 2014 WAF Awards, which will be held during the Festival in Singapore (1-3 Oct). Spanning 30 categories and including architects in over 40 countries the WAF shortlist is the definitive compendium of global architectural excellence in 2014.

Happily, 36 Australian practices are on the list – including Lyons for designing our very own 41X in Melbourne. Congratulations to all members that have been selected and we wish you the best for the announcements in a couple of months. The full shortlist is available here.

Finally, next week sees the presentation of our formal bid to host UIA2020 Congress in Melbourne. Themed ‘Dialects of Place’, this bid has been a long time in the planning. You can read about our proposal here. We are off to UIA2014 Congress in Durban at the end of the week – and look forward to reporting back to you on our return.

Kind regards,

David Parken, CEO.