The annual PIA Congress was held in the newly opened ICC Sydney, the perfect location to gather planners from across the nation, showing off views of the iconic Darling Harbour. The three days of congress began with tours across the city, from Barangaroo to Western Sydney. A great way to frame how development is shaping Sydney’s future. With over 600 registrations for the event, congress 2017 was a hit, professionals from across the nation came to Sydney to grab their slice of the planning cake. Technology, growth, and innovation were the key take homes from the Congress titled: “Growing Up. Growing Out.” The first keynote speaker of Thursday’s session, after Brendan Nelson who opened the proceedings was Prathima Manohar, world renowned urbanist who discussed urban growth issues in Delhi. Prathima made the problems we face here in Australia and some of the issues Sarah Hill and the Greater Sydney Commission face on a daily basis seem minute in comparison – first world problems, as the saying goes.
The Congress had consistent undertones of the importance that technology has in shaping our future cities. Nicola Mansfield, Director, Deloitte summed up the relationship between technology, data, and the success of their implementation perfectly, in a presentation that detailed the history of technological uptake and its capacity to integrate into urban life. Nicola provoked discussion amongst the audience when she proposed the following: We have access to all the technology, are we ready? And is it the right thing to do?
Interestingly, she also highlighted that some ideas are beyond their time, such as virtual reality, and often take many years to become accepted as a tool to be used in planning for better cities. Who would have thought, considering that VR is now an embedded technology in many facets of planning.
The planning industry’s Keynote speakers; Brendan Nelson, Prathima Manohar, Sarah Hill, Julian Bolleter, Jan McCredie, Joanne Jakovich, Nicola Mansfield and Morgan Parker didn’t fail to deliver thought provoking content which continued over the course of the Congress on Friday.
In summary, the 2017 Planning Congress was a hit, and the MacroPlan Gala Dinner on Thursday night provided a memorable evening of dancing, eating, networking and celebrating some of the industry’s most influential planners, including MacroPlan’s own Gary Prattley who honoured for serving 50 years in planning!
The MacroPlan team are already looking forward to PIA Congress 2018 which will be held in Perth from 9 -11 May 2018. For more information, go to www.piacongress.com.au.