Visionweek NZ 2020 – day four

Visionweek NZ 2020 - day four

Visionweek - Some of the best and brightest minds from across NZ and the globe envision what the new New Zealand could look like.

Quality Living

One core theme to emerge from today’s discussion was the importance of community and the need to put people at the centre of all our infrastructure decisions, whether it be housing, transportation systems or electricity networks.

The idea of the 20-minute city, already being tested in Sydney and Paris, promotes the design of communities where education, healthcare, shopping and work are all within a 20-minute walk or bike.  Could this be the future blueprint for decentralised cities?

A number of the speakers spoke about housing and urban design and the importance of creating safe places for people to gather and connect and develop a sense of community. Sir Peter Gluckman noted the need to reduce the depth of control of bureaucracies on vulnerable people and enable communities to support themselves.

The importance of achieving quality living sustainably was also noted. Kate Boylan encouraged us to work with what we have instead of always focussing on building new.  Kirsti Luke and Tamati Kruger spoke of new design that exists in harmony with the environment: net zero water, energy, waste.

The newly established infrastructure Commission has been tasked with the job of developing a 30-year infrastructure strategy for New Zealand.  Community and wellbeing is at the centre of their thinking.  Their challenge – to balance the need for bold changes with strategies that are achievable and affordable.

Jon Grayson (CEO, InfraCom) noted the need to develop an infrastructure strategy that builds agility into our infrastructure systems.  Agility and infrastructure are traditionally quite juxtaposed.  So how can this be achieved?  We’ve been working with the critical infrastructure community since we began in 2004.  Over that time we’ve seen a gradual shift from infrastructure as an asset to infrastructure as a community service.  NZTA now see their role as ‘connecting people’ rather than building and managing roads.  Auckland Transport are focussed on ‘easy journeys’.  We need to take the next step and, working with community, design the next generation of infrastructure.

When we think about the resilience, adaptability, and agility of our built infrastructure we need to radically shift our thinking.  Are our centralised infrastructure systems suitable for the high change world we live in?  Do we invest in upgrading old systems or invest in new decentralised systems (grid electricity to household generation)?  How can we design houses that are adaptable to the changing needs of our communities?  Can we build transport systems that meet today’s transportation preferences with tomorrow in mind?

We need to be testing our decisions against multiple futures to ensure they are robust in the face of uncertainty.  We need to involve diverse stakeholders to get creative and relevant ideas.  We need to create an enabling regulatory environment that empowers new ideas and allows us to rapidly respond to disruptions and take advantage of opportunities that emerge through new technologies or crises.  And of course, community and wellbeing must be at the heart.

Visit #visionweekNZ for details of the speakers and to listen to webinar.