Future-proofing Auckland: is building a sustainable city really possible?

Future-proofing Auckland: is building a sustainable city really possible?

With Auckland’s population set to swell to 2 million by as early as 2029, growing demands on housing and infrastructure, and climate change exposing our city to impending natural disasters, future-proofing Auckland has become more important than ever before.

5:00pm: Networking & refreshments
5:30pm: Start
7:00pm: Finish

The way we plan, design, construct and govern our city will determine Auckland’s future viability.  The world’s cities are under threat by climate change.  Building a sustainable city is an integral part of Auckland’s future.

But what does the ideal sustainable city look like?  And is it possible? 

Join us with Dr Michelle Dickinson as she facilitates the conversation focusing on crucial attributes and solutions – high-rise medium-density, incorporating resilience into urban design and development, and high-quality living for our people with easy access to employment, social infrastructure and clean, green spaces. 

This Auckland Conversation is brought to you in partnership with New Zealand Green Building Council.

Dr Michelle Dickinson


Michelle has a PhD in biomedical materials engineering, runs New Zealand’s only nanomechanical testing laboratory and is a self-confessed adrenaline junkie.

Her passion for both sports and science has enabled her to travel the world on the search for her next adventure or research project.

With specialist knowledge in nanotechnology, Michelle has contributed to the development of cutting edge technologies.

Secretly, however, Michelle has been working on advancing these developments to help her to achieve her childhood dream of becoming a real life superhero. In her spare time you will usually find her outside kitesurfing, cycling, running, paddle boarding, or inside practicing martial arts.

Her move to academia from industry was a step towards her goal of inspiring females to push the boundaries in both science and sports, and to encourage environmentally sustainable living through engineering design. As well as being the founder and Director of Nanogirl Labs Ltd, Michelle has also authored two books, No 8 Recharged and The Kitchen Science Cookbook.

Member of New Zealand Order of Merit Michelle was winner of the Women of Influence award for science and innovation in 2016, was awarded the Sir Peter Blake Leadership in 2015 and was winner of the Prime Ministers Science Media Communication Prize and the New Zealand Association of Scientists Science Communicators Award in 2014. Dr Michelle Dickinson uses the popular twitter handle' Nanogirl ' (@medickinson) On a mission to use science for good, not evil!

Davina Rooney

GM of Sustainability and Corporate Procurement, Stockland

Davina is the General Manager of Sustainability and Corporate Procurement at Stockland. She is a property professional with a broad range of sustainability experience, from environmental projects, not-for profit boards and overseas community development work, spending 8 months working in the Indian Himalayas on the construction of a school which won multiple international awards. Davina has been recognised by numerous industry awards including NAWIC NSW 2016 Sustainability Award, PCA 2014 Future Leaders Award and Sydney University Engineering Young Alumni Award.

Career highlights include simultaneously holding the most sustainable real estate company in world (DJSI Global Property leader), GRESB Global leader (Retail/Office) and recognised on the Carbon Disclosure Project Leaders in 2016, and again in 2018. The success has been maintained whilst simultaneously holding these in 2018. In mid-June Davina will commence as the CEO of the Green Building Council of Australia.

John Mauro

Chief Sustainability Officer, Auckland Council

John Mauro is Auckland Council’s first Chief Sustainability Officer.  John and his team provide thought leadership, drive strategic direction and champion change to mainstream sustainability and resilience in the Auckland region.   

The focus of the office is to unlock the potential of Auckland’s low carbon transformation, build climate resilience, and lead by example through business and operational practices – from building portfolio to procurement, from fleets to financing - so all activities deliver smarter sustainability outcomes. 

John has over 20 years of experience in climate policy, research and advocacy.  He came to Auckland from Seattle, where he worked as Policy Director for a transport not-for-profit, helped deliver the US Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement and Seattle’s first climate plan while in the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and Environment, and ran an organization dedicated to smart growth policy and advocacy. 

Jacqueline Paul

Ngapuhi, Ngati Tuwharetoa, and Ngati Kahungunu ki Heretaunga

Landscape Architect, Researcher for the National Science Challenge: Building better homes towns and cities at AUT University, Lecturer at the Landscape Architecture Department at Unitec and Co-founder of Innonative Ltd (social enterprise + practice)

Key research interests focusing on building better homes towns and communities, Maori housing, mobilizing rangatahi and Maori voices, transformative policies, improving architecture and urban planning.

Jacqueline is currently involved in the National Science Challenge: building better homes, towns and cities projects. Future neighbourhoods research stream focussing on the urban regeneration in Glen Innes and the Kainga Tahi Kainga Rua – Maori housing and papakainga projects.

Jacqueline is a proactive advocate for better youth inclusiveness in the development of planning the future cities and communities. She is a member of Ngā Aho Network of Māori Design Professionals and an appointed member on the Auckland Youth Advisory Panel – Auckland Council and US NZ Youth Council.

Ludo Campbell-Reid

General Manager of Auckland Design Office, Auckland Council

Ludo Campbell-Reid is a globally renowned thought-leader on Cities and Sustainable Development. He is a City Planning & Urban Design expert with over 24 years’ public & private sector experience on large-scale city transformation projects in London, Cape Town and Auckland.

Ludo is currently the General Manager of Auckland Council’s Auckland Design Office (ADO), a department of multi-disciplinary built environment professionals charged with spearheading Auckland’s design-led urban renaissance.

Ludo is also Council’s Design Champion and is accountable for achieving design excellence in Council’s plans, policies and projects; working alongside the private sector and community to deliver exemplary design outcomes and promoting the council’s design-led city agenda across the organisation, the wider Auckland community and internationally.

In 2015 he was described by Metro Magazine as one of the Top 50 Most influential Aucklanders. The NZ Property Council People Awards in 2016 labelled him as the "lightning rod for the transformation of downtown Auckland". While Paperboy magazine branded him as "the Design Champion with an unshakeable faith in Auckland". He was nominated as one of NZs Most Creative People by Idealog magazine (2017) and made an Honorary member of the Designers Institute of New Zealand in 2018. 

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