And why our ideas are worthless without the ability and ambition to implement them

Julie Castle

Our industry still has a long way to go in terms of sustainable infrastructure and working towards a circular economy. We need to take advantage of recent investment into our industry and capitalise on this through smart infrastructure and working towards an innovative, fresh, and green future.

However, the biggest caveat is the motivation for stakeholders to participate in this movement.

Each stakeholder has their own vision, responsibility, and drivers they need to meet to participate in the industry change. Whether it has to do with implementing sustainable infrastructure or circular economy principles – everyone works towards their own agenda.

However, we are seeing more interest across the board in incorporating sustainable infrastructure into our landscape. This is why the motivation for collectively coming up with a new framework that enables change across the whole platform of infrastructure is the next step-change in the process.

How can we drive sustainable principles in infrastructure?


Ideas, theories, and concepts are worthless if we don’t have the ability, drive, and ambition to implement them into tangible outcomes or solutions. We need to shake up the industry to be more in touch with future generations and make infrastructure sexy and exciting again.

As the Managing Director of Struber, I have advised, consulted, and fulfilled in-house roles on over 200 infrastructure projects and seen many companies resist the new ways of working simply due to the lack of incentive or drive for change.

Sustainability is a balance and does actually work for a lot of people. However, we need an across-the-board movement, so everyone starts to use the same metrics at the same time. There also needs to be a motivation for businesses to create the step change. By unlocking our entrepreneurial mindsets and creative thinking around circular supply chains, we can look to drive sustainable infrastructure principles from start-ups, new business ventures, and exciting takeovers.

We need to develop a framework that motivates businesses, demonstrates benefits, and measures successes and learnings to make it business as usual moving forward.

What tactics can we implement to drive sustainable infrastructure forward?


Working on the London Crossrail opened my eyes to a new approach to sustainable infrastructure. I realised sustainable infrastructure is very much centred around transit-oriented communities. This type of urban planning brings people, activities, buildings, and public spaces together with easy active and public transportation. Residents in Melbourne already understand the advantage of living near transport infrastructure and are proud to do so, because of how much it benefits and improves their everyday life.

We can help drive change forward by communicating and engaging with communities on the benefits of sustainable infrastructure. We can also use case studies and learnings from other projects to see where and how we can implement sustainable infrastructure principles into our future projects.

One great initiative taking place in Australia right now is the focus in New South Wales on ‘placemaking’. The Placemaking NSW Advisory Committee brings together public and private sector expertise to set a strategic vision to deliver places that drive growth and investment opportunities. The approach focuses on injecting new life and ideas into communities by repurposing and converting old buildings and spaces to create exciting new public, community, residential, and commercial spaces.

In Brisbane, we are looking at ways to bring people together, which is why it’s the perfect time to have these conversations about sustainable infrastructure and drive these ideas to reality. The 2032 Olympics and Paralympics are the perfect catalyst for making key areas in South East Queensland accessibility hubs, and creating conversations for the public and private sectors to look at how to unlock this step change that could benefit people for not only those couple of weeks but for decades.

How do we turn our ideas and concepts into reality?


The Infrastructure CoLab offers the chance for specialist matter experts and leaders to shake up the infrastructure industry through a collective group of people from different mindsets and experiences. Great change isn’t always created through the documentation of whitepapers, so the CoLab approaches change by extracting knowledge from the theories and ideas of the experts to try and work out how, as a group of different parties, they can activate the solutions.

The CoLab has an entrepreneurial edge that means once we develop the solution, businesses can create something out of it to make sure we create that step change in policy or attitude towards sustainable infrastructure.

Be a driver of change and find out how you can help implement these solutions with our think tank today:

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