Fifth year of Green Sky Thinking launched at City Hall

siredwardlisterSir Edward Lister
, Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor, gave the keynote address to a audience of 130 industry leaders.

In his speech, outlining the London Infrastructure Plan 2050, he emphasized the challenges faced with water, waste, energy, transport, and above all population. To accommodate all the required upgrade works Sir Edward stated that the city had no plans of cutting into the green belt – “We have enough land, we just need to use it better.” Notably he spoke of the importance of green infrastructure like green spaces and public areas and drew attention to their role in making London a globally desirable city to live in. And why to people wish to live and invest in London? Simply ‘because its a green and pleasant city’ that boast all the soft infrastructure amenities of a world-class capital. And in implementing the Infrastructure Plan and ‘the agenda for improving green infrastructure is not just about greening itself but also using it to solve London's hard economic challenges.’

A panel chaired by Mark Reynolds CEO from Mace followed the keynote. Comprising of:

  • James Cameron (Chairman, Overseas Development Institute)
  • Matthew Pencharz (Senior Advisor, Environment and Energy, GLA)
  • Jo Negrini (Executive Director, Place, LB Croyden)
  • Lynne Sullivan (Partner, SustainableBY Design)
  • Andy Keelin (Partner, BuroHappold)

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The two main points unanimously agreed upon were the absolute need of new financial  mechanisms and the need for integration in the supply chain.

'Business as Usual' funding mechanism simply won't work, Jo Negrini from Croydon stated, if we are to achieve the goals set out. She discussed the possibility of boroughs directly developing infrastructure to save on developer costs and achieve truly ‘affordable’ housing for the borough. Lynne Sullivan grounded the discussion by talking about the economics of providing sustainable infrastructure. Which Mark Reynolds summarized as ‘joined up thinking and integration - as well as funding - is the key to bringing forward change to make London a more resilient city’.

Speaking in integration and implementation Andy Keelin highlighted the importance of retrofitting the existing stock of buildings to help the housing crisis. Which James Cameron further commented that ‘climate change is not just a risk but can also be a stimulus for innovation.’

Mark Sparvell from Interface concluded the event by launching the Commit5 Campaign. Celebrating the 5 years of Green Sky Thinking Week, Commit5 asks participants to commit 5 hours in 2015 to cross-sector knowledge exchange. Encouraging participants to get out of their industry silos and learn from adjacent experts, with the purpose of reducing the ‘knowledge gap’ across the board. Continuing the Green Sky 'thinking' outside of the week and into the year ahead.

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