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Please note: This is not a NSIN event, we are only promoting this event. The event organiser is Committee For Sydney (CFS).

In partnership with HSBC, the Committee is delighted to host one of our favourite speakers, Greg Clark, Senior Advisor on Future Cities and New Industries, HSBC Group.

COVID19 arrived just as we entered the 5th decade of the urban century. During this century a clear consensus had emerged on the positive effects of urbanisation. The United Nations and OECD have celebrated the power of cities to drive productivity, enable social mobility and narrow wealth disparity. According to the WTO, cities are the junction boxes of global trade and exchange. The IPCC asserts their vital importance in managing the twin pressures of population growth and resource depletion. Wherever we encounter “good urbanisation”, through investment in high-capacity public transport systems, capable and trusted institutions, strong leadership and long-term planning and investment, we find the building blocks of inclusive and sustainable prosperity.

And then COVID19 has arrived with 2 contrary effects:

  • An unintended demonstration project in low travel, low touch, low waste, low congestion, low carbon living driven by a massive uptick in digitised business models forced by lock downs. We have leapfrogged a complete cycle in digital transformation and revealed a road to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.
  • The return of anti-city sentiment, with fears of contagion resulting from human interactions on public transport, in gathering spaces, and in compact and dense real estate, leading to renewed prophecies of the unbundling of the city, the death of geography, and the revenge of the regions.

So where does this conundrum lead to, and what opportunities will it provide?

Enter ‘the blended city’ and its partner ‘networked urbanisation’. An acceleration into a new shape of cities, fit for next phase of the urban century.  Cities with virtual communities, as well as resident populations. Cities will use omni-channel strategies and services, as well as land use plans transport systems. The magnet of agglomeration with the shape of sustainability. The opportunities for medtech, data, tech, logistics, food, and retail are already visible, and the scale of the transport, real estate, energy, and education are to be discovered. Can we make it? A big leaf forwards or a big fall backwards?

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