Developing Resilient Future Cities

31 July 2019
Stafford Hopewell, Special Counsel, Brisbane

The 2019 Asia Pacific Cities Summit (APCS) and Mayors’ Forum provided a platform for connection and conversations on cities’ innovation, mobility, liveability and sustainability. A powerful contingent of some 1480+ delegates, spanning 140 cities, close to 90 Mayors and Deputy Mayors, and entrepreneurs came together to solve complex problems to develop resilient future cities. What does this mean for our home and our city?

Liveability is a key driver of population growth and attractor for economic investment in cities across the Asia Pacific region. Stafford Hopewell, Gadens Planning and Development Partner recently presented at APCS on the challenges for city leaders and managers for governing and planning spaces for mobility, liveability and sustainability. Strategies for liveability need to be able to manage the built environment and its impact on the natural environment and understand how these affect the experience and lifestyle of the peoples who occupy and use the urban environment. Maintaining and improving liveability in the face of rapid urban change is however a key challenge for today’s governments (local, state and federal), regulators, industry and businesses. Liveability is ultimately about striking a balance between competing priorities and needs to decide what development is suitable for what areas or in what circumstances. This is an inherent part of the political, policy and plan-making process. With cities experiencing increasing conflict and resistance to change from established communities, a healthy debate is required on key governance and development issues and strategies for bringing communities and business together to positively engage in the planning and delivery of urban solutions for cities.


Liveability with digital technologies

Former Amazon scientist, Andreas Weigend shared, at APCS, the importance and challenges of using data to reshape cities. Dr Andreas shared a case study on Boston and how data is captured via the smartphone application (Citizens connect) which enables the community to make their local areas better by giving them an easy tool to report service problems such as potholes on their smartphones and councils using that data for road maintenance.

The IoT (Internet of Things) sensors can also help to capture data and monitor situations. For example, in Victoria, the Yarra Ranges Council is able to monitor their stormwater drains in real-time allowing to clear blockages to avoid flooding.

As a society, we have gone from data-poor to data-rich and that requires data strategy and policy to minimise complications.


Low Carbon Economy – Electric Vehicles (EV)

In 2017, the Queensland Government launched ‘The Future is Electric: Queensland’s Electric Vehicle Strategy‘ which outlines a plan to facilitate a transition to EVs. Bloomberg New Energy Finance in “Electric Vehicles Outlook 2019” has estimated that by 2040, Electric Vehicles (EV) will account for 57% of new vehicle sales globally.

David Finn, Managing Director, CEO & Founder of Tritium shared, at APCS, results of EV uptake in California and Norway resulting in less carbon emissions.

We are seeing the introduction of EV impact various industries. The property sector has welcomed the opportunity to repurpose infrastructure to allow for recharge stations to minimise range anxiety for users. In addition planning and environmental application approvals are accommodating for charging ports for new and existing residential and commercial developments.

The Energy retailers are ensuring the grid is able to sustain the load, with the increase of EV, and are offering rebates to charge during off-peak periods to manage the grid utilisation effectively.
With the increase in the number of batteries required for EV, the energy and resources sector is also impacted. Key minerals such as cobalt, lithium, copper and nickel are in high demand and conversations are in play on re-injecting investment in our mining industries to avoid a global shortage of battery minerals.

The business case for innovation, mobility, liveability and sustainability is compelling. Technology, globalism and environmental change push us to think and act differently. By harnessing technologies, renewable energy and sustainable design, that responds to the global mega trends, we are partnering with our clients, government, and the community to assist in developing low carbon economies and resilient infrastructure, to make our home and our city mobile, liveable and sustainable.


Authored by:

Stafford Hopewell, Partner

Marty Rowen, Director

Greg Meek, Director

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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