On how Tomorrowland taps our brilliant network of the best people

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: This year’s Tomorrowland on 1 December will be the best ever. 

It needs to be, right?

Everything we all do in this industry needs to be a daily moonshot – a powerful leap past what’s reasonable and everyday to reach a brilliant, better, more exciting future than the one we’re heading to.

A provocative blurb I spotted this week nailed it for me: keeping climate warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is not good enough, it said. We need climate restoration. We need nature restoration – not just the limp ambition of minimising harm. And we need a collaborative world to live in that has equity and a flourishing planet. That’s exciting. Because if we can free the human spirit, we can actually do anything. History tells us. Moonshots can get us there.

That’s our guiding star to Tomorrowland. And to reach this lofty ambition we doggedly tapped into the amazing network of people we orbit, and who form the centre of gravity of this big movement underway, to dig out the most creativity and courageous thinkers – those people who have the will to keep pushing the agenda and see how far it can take us. 

Our “advisory committee” is the huge mix of readers, supporters, sponsors – and even some sources who prefer to remain private who make up this wonderful core.

For this year we’re starting Tomorrowland with a dive into the shaky geopolitics that are unwinding the sense of complacency and certainty we might have had about globalisation, supply chain and investment drivers. These will have an impact on us all but they also offer opportunities to respond – with more local manufacturing, more material and operational efficiencies and discovering the possibilities of true circularity.

Then we go into the world of future buildings and energy and discover what the exciting collaborations between science, industry and academia are carving out for us. 

Precincts are next – with a big part of the day delving into the various nuclei that underpin vibrant communities.

And there’s a big bang effect to close the day where it just might get a bit messy (but polite). We’ll range across the fundamental implications of the growing clash between planning better outcomes for all and the development and community sectors that seem to be falling further into a toxic relationship even though they absolutely need each other and rely on each other (– co-dependence?)

Now we’ve got a third party complicating the scene – climate change. The states and local government authorities’ ability to manage these competing forces is not looking good right now. Is it time for the Feds to step in? 

In all of this, our briefings with speakers and panellists are a constant source of revelation (and we confess way too much adrenaline than is recommended on a daily basis) as we see where these people are taking us… and reimagine the possibilities.

The briefing with Bruce Crook of HDR on his session on healthcare infrastructure is a case in point. Who would have thought hospitals could be so interesting as a fundamental part of creating a precinct?

Yet they are. That, and community.

Here is a man who’s worked in multiple countries over many years in this field and has picked up a few interesting ideas along the way. Both in terms of the tech that‘s roaring around the corner and will soon give us “hospitals without walls”, as well as the growing cultural sensitivities that just might generate much better health outcomes than we now have.

Bruce also pointed out that other than accidents or physical illnesses that drive people to big hospitals, mental illness and domestic violence also need care and attention.

Bruce and his team are grappling with how to integrate these health care facilities that can deal with issues at a local level and at the same time take pressure off big central hospitals that deal with acute care but are woefully under-resourced.

According to Bruce many patients are over 65 years of age and their carers are sometimes older. 

A more sensitive approach to layout can make things so much easier for these patients but also for staff. Where is the parking or drop off area for instance? And what are the waiting and admission areas like?

Bruce recalls his time with a big Canadian hospital and observing that its ER (emergency room) was actually the size of an entire sports stadium plus half of the stands. A big toll on patients and staff alike. 

How about going highrise? I offer. Ah, an option not so well received in suburban or regional locations, Bruce observes.

Hmm, maybe it’s time to make some exceptions. 

Happily Bruce and his team are asking regional and Indigenous communities what their community hospitals need.

The clear vote is more views of nature. Wherever possible. Indigenous communities have also asked for waiting areas to be outdoors. Hallelujah! Even, wait for it, outdoor treatment areas such as for infusion services. How much nicer, and more positive it would be for your mental health when undergoing these difficult treatments if you could blend it with some injection of emotional treatment as well.

There’s so many innovative and forward thinking experts coming to our event to share their insights into where the next five years and beyond will take us. 

Come to Tomorrowland and find out more!

Add your voice. We’re listening.

And don’t forget the fun and the networking. Plenty of that there too!

Back to our Future is a new film about Climate Restoration, and how scientists, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and activists are working together to change the narrative from a bleak uncertain future, to a sustainable world we can leave our children and future generations. Image: Back to our Future.

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