Returning for the first time in years, the NAWIC Great Debate was a forceful, no-holds-barred tête-à-tête between the local design industry’s most critical thinkers.
September 8th, 2017
The topic: “We Should Drive Development ‘UP’ And Not ‘OUT’” proved a contentious one, where facts, figures and evidence-based thinking played a major role – alongside some playful mud-slinging of course.
Adjudicated by our own Indesign Co-Editor Sophia Watson, the two sides (Affirmative and Negative) argued passionately for their positions, presenting their well-researched points tied with more personal, anecdotal experiences.
Following a welcome and introduction speech by NAWIC NSW President & MPA’s Marketing & Client Relations Director, Sarah Hogan and Head of Design for Roberts Pizzarotti, Catherine Hart, the Affirmative team kicked off the evening with their persuasive ‘UP’ arguments.
The “Uppers” as they were later termed by their opponents, opened with City of Sydney Councillor Jess Scully, followed by Grocon’s Head of Development Chris Carolan, and brought it home with Tracey Wiles, Partner at Make Architects.
The Affirmatives focused on solid statistical analysis and peer-reviewed studies including the recent CEDA Report on the issue of housing in Australia, which outlined the mental, physical and economic benefits of the “UP” argument.
While the evidence was certainly on their side, the Affirmatives also threw in some more personal experiences for good measure, including some choice comments such as:
Though the Affirmatives ultimately took home the victory, the Negatives certainly put up a hell of a fight with some compelling points of their own. Lead by Jason Varker Miles, Director Aston Consulting, followed by Lend Lease’s General Manager of Workplace and Change Natalie Slessor, and finishing with a bang – Tom Goode, Director of Ethos Urban, the affectionately nicknamed “Sprawlers” argued that “OUT” not “UP” is the Australian dream, and that this vertical-obsessed “war on BBQs” must come to and end.
The Negatives proposed that “OUT” was the primary – but not only – solution to urban density and growth. They suggested that when “OUT” is done well with supporting public infrastructure and smart technology, distance is no longer and issue, and quality of life greatly improves.
In response to the “Uppers”, the “Sprawlers” presented some worthy points, but in the end failed to link their findings to cold, hard facts. This isn’t to say however, that they didn’t get some wonderfully entertaining one-liners in there, too. Some of the top comments included:
The sold-out evening was a roaring success, and discussions are already in place in planning for next year’s program. NAWIC wishes to thank all of those involved in putting together The Great Debate, and looks forward to seeing you again in 2018!
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