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Darryl Watkins, Executive Director, Operations

After hearing smart thinkers from around the world talk about the future of Cities, and ‘city megatrends’, Darryl Watkins, our Executive Director, Operations, started thinking about where KJA fits in and what role we play in making positive change for our communities.

The increasing level of urbanisation across the world is not a new phenomenon, but the rapid rate of change of is undeniable. In China alone, since the 1970s, more than 160 million people have left rural areas to seek work in the cities - the largest migration in history .

But what is required to create great cities? Last year the Property Council released a report called Creating Great Australian Cities, which examines just that, and looks at the short comings of existing planning in Australia and what is needed to ensure our cities grow in a sustainable fashion. Of particular focus is the failure of infrastructure systems, housing supply and metropolitan governance to keep up with the population growth rate.

One fact I found incredible is that by the end of this ‘metropolitan century’, 85% of the global population will live in urban communities, and this megatrend is one that KJA’s work frequently interacts with. The role we play as engagement professionals provides a vital contribution to the progress we see happening all around us. As a society we will need to work hard to ensure the continued growth of our cities and the inevitable investment in infrastructure which accompanies the growth, brings the community along.

Fortunately, we are seeing more and more that both the government and business sectors acknowledge the importance of early community engagement and the high quality of the work the KJA team delivers.