Lots of us live in them – in fact, almost 80% of the country – but what on earth will cities of the future look like?
Well that’s the question our five speakers tried to answer when the Real Big Things machine rolled into action for 2018.
Getting that ball rolling was the Dutchman at the heart of helping keep Melbourne’s status as the world’s most livable city intact, Sander van Amelsvoort. Sander is the Director of Policy and Research at the Committee of Melbourne, and rather than encouraging the rampant Melbourne versus Sydney rivalry, he talked about the importance of unity between cities if we want to compete (or even keep up) with the economic power and innovation of other global “megaregions”.
Shifting gears, almost literally, was EY’s Louise Rolland, who talked about a future scenario where robots take our jobs, leaving us surplus to requirement. While this fantastical (or, depending on your viewpoint, grim) future isn’t likely to be like the movies, Louise gave us plenty to consider when it comes to the choices we make and the future we create.
Many of us spend around a third of our time at work. For some, it’s closer to half. Considering that, why wouldn’t our workplaces be as comfortable and built for us as our homes are? BRM Projects, “Space Man” Steve Schmidt took us through the what, the how and the where of the workplace of the future. Think buildings that breathe, implanted microchips and personalised everything.
Moving from the workplace to the home, Jonathan Krywicki from Urban Intelligence took us on a tour through the outrageous AV setups of some of Melbourne's most luxurious homes. With the voice activation services of Amazon, Google and Apple changing the way we interact with household products, Jonathan painted a picture of what a day living in a smart home could look like for all of us – not just the rich and famous.
Bookending the morning was [deep breath] the Director of the Research Centre for Integrated Transport Innovation (or more simply, rCITI), Professor Travis Waller. We’ve heard a lot of good and bad news stories about autonomous vehicles over the recent years. While many of us see them as the inevitable solution to inner city and suburban congestion, Professor Waller pointed out that technology doesn’t always lead us to the holy land – unless it’s applied in the right way. In most cases, human behaviour is very much to blame.
The usual mix of coffee, baked goods and thought-provoking talks that is Real Big Things will fire up again on Friday 25th May, where we’ll look to explore all things health and wellbeing. Tickets are already moving right here.