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Construction Declares: The Climate Revolution

Architects, Builders, Engineers and Planners worldwide are standing up to revolutionise the built environment and demand a positive future. Locally we’ve seen the rise of the Declare movement – Australian Architects, Engineers, Planners and Builders Declare a Climate & Biodiversity Emergency. The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issue of our time. Globally, buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats.

For everyone working in the construction industry, meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in our behaviour. Together with our clients, we will need to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system. We’re raising our voices and invite you to come on this journey with us.

Panellists include:

Lizzie Webb

Lizzie Webb is a co-founder of Australian Engineers Declare and CEO of Kindred Spirits Enterprises.  Lizzie loves working with great people to get new ideas up and running, finding new ways to tackle social challenges, and promote environmental stewardship. She played a key role in the development of Engineers Without Borders Australia for more than a decade, and supports multiple organisations through board positions.

Chris Buntine 

Chris Buntineis a co-founder of Australian Engineers Declare and a Sustainability Manager with Northrop Consulting Engineers.  In response to the climate emergency he seeks opportunities through his work in the built environment to make one planet living desirable and regeneration business as usual. Chris brings people together within projects and industry groups to drive transformation, foster innovation and create shared value.

Claire Bowles 

Claire Bowles (i2C) is a passionate regenerative practitioner who sees the world through an ecological lens believing we are all connected in a web of life and all have a role to play in ensuring a healthy living future for all. Claire works as Sustainability lead for i2C Architects and has worked to establish their core sustainability principles around People, Place and Nature and builds capacity across the teams to care for, respect and learn from our natural environments. Claire is a keen advocate for Living Buildings, Biophilic design and place based design.

Steffen Welsch

Steffen Welsch is one of the coordinators  of Architects Declare. Growing up in East Germany, Steffen liked buildings but was always more interested in the environment as a whole – social, economic, political, built and natural. As a child, he wanted to be a zoologist. As these things happen, at 16, Steffen and his best friend took an aptitude test for architecture at the former Bauhaus School in Weimar. The test preparation tasked Steffen with pencil drawings of his favourite band (Led Zeppelin) and to read a book about Lyonel Feininger (an American-German artist and former Bauhaus teacher). Both Steffen and his friend passed the test, and ended up at Weimar, not knowing that it was the birthplace of one of the most influential art and architecture movements of the 20th century. Its mission resonated well with Steffen then and still influences his work today: architecture is part of the “Gesamtkunstwerk” and only one part of our complex environment.

Simon Clark

Simon has been in the construction industry since the year 2000. Founded Sustainable Homes Melbourne in 2014 and has become an advocate for environmental improvement. Has served time as a committee member of the Australian Passive House Associate and the Yarra Environmental Advisory committee amongst other things

Jeremy Spencer

Jeremy is a registered builder, energy rater and director at Design & Building company Positive Footprints.  Positive Footprints is a multi award-winning design and construction company, dedicated to making high-performance sustainable homes and renovations easy to achieve and affordable.  His company has worked for the last 19 years to show that energy-efficient sustainable design and high-performance construction is a cost-effective option and can be a mainstream reality.

Jeremy Spencer currently sits on the Design Matters Board, and the Sustainability Hub, representing Thermal Performance Assessors. He is a judge at the Sustainability Awards and is also one of the founding members of the newly established Builders Declare movement.  An educator, and previous Master Builders GreenLiving instructor, he is passionate about spreading the message of environmentally sustainable design and to help bring about change in the way we build homes.

Roland Postma

Roland is  and urban planner and a researcher at RMIT University. He is currently analysing the sale of public land in Victoria through the lens of the public housing crisis.

Urban planners increasingly don’t have rights or are disenabled to plan despite the perception or expectation they are able to plan for our growing population. Whilst in the backdrop, Australia faces a severe housing, quality, transportation, and ecological crisis.

All these crises are linked to the profession of planning. Roland is therefore very interested in the idea of a planner and the culture around planning. 

Current research is exploring the transition of young planners in Victoria from Higher Education into the planning system and analysis of public land sales in Victoria to show the missing opportunity of public housing. 

Roland’s research interests are land-use planning, planning practices, and education, application of housing around ecological footprint, density, public housing, and quality housing stock. 

He is the co-founder of Planners Declare calling for the planning profession to lead the charge to a carbon-free society and a member of PIA.

Brighid Sammon

Brighid is an urban planner committed to pursuing equitable and flexible cities. She is currently working as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning with a focus on land governance.

As the 2018 Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation
 John Monash Scholar she completed a MSc of Urban Management and Development at Erasmus University, Rotterdam with distinction in 2019 where she specialised in Urban Land Governance focusing on the financialisaton of housing.

Her philosophy to urban planning and management focuses on the planner as the advocate: enabling positive outcomes for cities.  She focuses on establishing productive and meaningful relationships between relevant parties to reach successful outcomes.

In 2017, she was awarded the PIA Australian Young Planner of the Year for demonstrating leadership in the field of planning, particularly in relation to affordable housing.

Her work in the cities space intersects across professional, volunteer and academic sectors. Sher has been actively involved with the Planning Institute of Australia as a committee member of the Vic Young Planners and more recently as the Convenor of the Women’s Planning Network. In addition, she served on the RMIT Professional Advisory Committee and while based in Australia was on the advisory committee for Ethical Property Australia.

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