Arrived into Auckland airport still jet lagged and it didn’t feel like I had ‘hopped over the ditch’ Little did I know that this fleeting visit to the city of sails would turn out to be very interesting and full of surprises. It is a shame I didn’t have more time to get to know this very welcoming and diverse place. Before the main event I had the opportunity to look at a remarkable example of smart working – the new home of the consolidated Auckland City Council. Housed in a former bank HQ the Council is operating in a completely agile and flexible working environment, more about this later.
I was invited to Auckland to speak at the CoreNet symposium -The Age of the City – CRE in a changing urban environment. It turned out to be quite an experience. Delivered in a former dockside warehouse – Shed 10 is now enjoying a new lease of life as an interesting heritage entertainment and conference space. The Symposium attracted a large audience of 350, which enjoyed a packed programme with a difference. I was taken by the organiser’s cocktail of street theatre which when added to the core program made for a very stimulating and thought-provoking event.
I was there to make the case that we need to shift our focus in relation to spaces and places and to recognise the convergence of people and place. During my session I aimed to engage the audience to look outside of their silos to consider the workplace as a journey not a product. Hopefully I persuaded some people to agree with me that we are looking at things through the wrong end of the telescope and we need to take a fresh perspective on how we make the best use of our spaces and places.
During the course of the day I chatted with a great deal of people and this along with having a look around remarkable buildings such as the ASB North Wharf waterfront headquarters left me with the view that the Kiwis are right up there when it comes to a forward-looking view making the best use of our built environment.