Shaping Australia’s future cities


Brookfield’s Real Estate Managing Partner, Sophie Fallman, says with this growth, Brookfield is expecting to see an emergence of diverse activated precincts as owners, government and planning authorities increasingly collaborate to provide better human experiences, with economic upside.

The problem for governments with increasingly constrained budgets is filling that infrastructure gap, because cities need to build rail and air capacity as well as roads, ports and energy infrastructure. More pertinently, those essential projects need funding.

And with the cost of debt at an all-time low and significant appetite particularly from superfunds to invest in infrastructure, Hanna suggests that there has never been a better time for governments to build for the future.”

Commonwealth Bank’s Managing Director Future Cities, Institutional Banking and Markets, Michael Thorpe agrees now is a really good time to invest for the future. The key is to create cities that provide the amenity for people’s differing lifestyle choices and aspirations.

Thorpe says some of the challenges and opportunities associated with creating smarter future cities are encapsulated in CBA’s new ecosystem approach within its institutional banking division.

Along with future cities, the other ecosystems the bank has identified are future resources, efficient supply chains, intelligent finance, connected services and smart networks.

Thorpe says the ecosystems are shaped by key trends affecting both the domestic and global economies. For example, he is focused on the construction of our cities and the interaction between commercial real estate, economic and social infrastructure, sustainable financing and technology.

What this means for CBA and how they interact with their clients and their assets is understanding how these sectors are “becoming more and more interdependent,” says Thorpe. “For us, Future Cities recognises that our clients and their assets are far more interconnected than ever before and need a holistic approach.

“More broadly, as a whole society we are thinking carefully about more elements of development – city design, how we live, work and access amenity. This dynamic binds infrastructure delivery, both social and economic, with commercial real estate development. And from a sustainable finance lens we are looking at projects such as affordable housing, build to rent, and other elements that bring the whole of city life together.”

This focus on interdependence was one of the key themes picked up on by all roundtable participants, with Fallman highlighting the importance of “place making” – the idea of building more integrated developments within a city. Places which are not designed for a single purpose but for work, living and play.

For Fallman, the city of the future is “integrated, connected, sustainable, vibrant and safe, and to get that, you need a lot of component parts. These include really good infrastructure, effective planning, and like-mindedness around public and private investment”.

Moreover, she suggests that major stakeholders such as governments, developers and landlords could better collaborate to ensure city precincts continue to be activated. Put simply: ensure the lights don’t turn off after a day’s work and everyone disperses somewhere else.

Chief Executive Officer of Canberra Airport and the Capital Airport Group, Stephen Byron agrees developers need to invest in the quality and the character of the infrastructure that “ties individual buildings together”.

“It’s something so critical in the development of all of our cities, to place make on a larger scale, mixed use developments that create the character people are interested in,” Mr Byron says.

For the Chief Executive Officer of Mission Australia, James Toomey, one novel perspective to ensure that future city precincts have more of a sense of place might be to better optimise existing spaces. For example, a lecture theatre might have multiple uses ranging from education to religion or even a cinema, while a café could potentially have multiple uses in a building so it could be utilised 24/7. So, it is a case of venues having multiple uses which is more sustainable approach.

To get to this point, Toomey says policymakers and developers really need to think about who they are creating cities for. The key here is talking to their constituents and get a real understanding of the human element.

And getting a better understanding of the human element might lead to building “places that make people feel good” which involves a degree of planning and future-proofing.

Byron agrees and highlights the expansion of Canberra Airport where the Capital Airport Group understood “you only get one chance to do it right and get the quality right”

“It’s always going to be cheaper to build additional capacity today and hold it at the normal cost of capital, which in reality is your interest rate cost. While it might take five to 10 years to be used, the amount of money you save in future construction costs on infrastructure is a no brainer,” he says.

Building for the future also includes building a much better communications infrastructure than we currently have because connectivity is already playing a huge role in how we live.

More pertinently, Toomey says better connectivity and access to data plays an important social role in that it creates opportunities. We therefore need to ensure technology doesn’t just benefit a “semi-elite subset” and that it is widely dispersed.

In conclusion, Toomey comments our future cities should not lose their actual sense of place in their rush to modernise.

“Every city has an essential characteristic, Sydney has a harbour, Brisbane is on a river so make the most of it and optimise its use.”



Source link Finance News Australia

Enter your Email Address

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *