It was with great pleasure that Edge hosted delegates from the Tianjin Urban Construction Design Institute at our Manly offices in December. The Chinese delegates were visiting leading organisations in Australia, with the main objectives of developing relationships and learning techniques in sustainable design and construction.
The delegation was led by Mr Liu Aiming and Ms Sun Jie and included a party of ten executives, directors and engineers from the Institute. The delegates had a particular interest in water sensitive urban design (WSUD), given China’s rapid development of the built environment to manage growing populations and increasing water scarcity issues in the region. We presented them with an overview of WSUD in Australia including the drivers, integration with regulatory and voluntary reporting and rating schemes and how we work with designers to manage water in the urban context. The presentation was delivered multilaterally over Chinese tea and Australia’s favourite – Tim Tams. Using our project experience, we presented case studies on how we have used life cycle assessment to inform design decisions based on life cycle water use of buildings, infrastructure and even the development of building products.
Interestingly, the presentation resulted in a fantastic dialogue about sustainability challenges in both Australia and China. We discussed opportunities for both countries to learn from each other. At times, the common language was in fact, sustainability. The translator was almost forgotten while we discussed learnings and cultural differences in delivering sustainable outcomes across our two nations. They asked why we have so many golf courses instead of forests? What is our Government’s role in delivering sustainable outcomes? Is there a market for sustainable products in Australia developed in China? Our 45-minute presentation turned into a 2-hour discussion where I think both parties benefitted greatly.
It was certainly a pleasure hosting the delegation from the Tianjin Urban Construction Design Institute and I hope they learnt from us as much as we did from their insights. They appreciated greatly the space, resources and beauty that Australia has and in some way, they hoped that we would not take it for granted. Hopefully we were able to show them a little bit about what we do here, both at Edge and in Australia, so they can take our techniques back with them and also learn from our mistakes.