Pause Fest 2018 takes on ‘Places of the Future’

Pause Fest is the annual calling to unify the ‘restless new breed’ in Melbourne’s creative, tech and business scene. Bringing together local trailblazers with global leaders, the multi-day event connects, inspires and empowers the minds pursuing original thought, disruptive progress and creative action.

At Pause 2018, Smart Seeds hosted a panel discussion at the Specialist Stage to tackle ‘Places of the Future – Digital Disruption and Urban Infrastructure’.

Festival goers were challenged to consider how digital transformation relates to our built environment and how emerging technology could influence the ways we experience urban places in the future. To help gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities, Claire Dixon was joined on stage by specialists in place making, urban design, digital solutions and community building.

The Host: Claire Dixon, Smart Seeds Founder & GHD’s Innovation Services Manager

The Scene Setter: Evan Quick, Location Intelligence Leader, GHD Digital

The Panel: Sander van Amelsvoort, Director, Policy & Research, Committee for MelbourneJessica Christiansen-Franks, Co-Founder & CEO, Neighbourlytics, Senior Program Advisor, CoDesign StudioMargie McKay, Manager, City Design Studio, City of MelbourneJacyl Shaw, Digital Innovation Leader, GHD Digital

Spinning out of the discussion was a more intense focus on human needs, lifestyles and expectations. For cities and the technology that supports them to continually deliver valuable opportunities, services and experiences for people, we must understand what people need and want now and in the future.

Interrogating the current focus on creating ‘smart cities’ through infrastructure and technology, the audience was challenged to wonder how a city could be built to adapt to the evolving needs or lifestyles of its people. Would this give rise to more multi-functional places and flexible spaces in urban environments? To design and build with future human needs in mind, a range of plausible futures would need to be considered in planning to help us manage deep uncertainty about the future. What sort of mindsets and skills do we require from our professionals and communities to effectively engage, plan and design for an uncertain future? How can we become more agile in the way we steer the ‘big ship’ that is required to keep up with the rapid growth of our urban centres. What role could rapid prototyping play in de-risking major projects and maximising the chances of achieving the desired outcomes for a city’s people in the short and long term?

The audience was left with a deeper understanding and an open mind about the future of our cities and the role people, infrastructure and technology should play in shaping urban places. We look forward to more meaningful dialogues globally as Smart Seeds invites young talent to connect with our current leaders and tackle the complex challenges defining our future infrastructure. Visit to find out how you or your organisation could be involved.

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