Spotlight series

Spotlight is a new series of collaborative events between the Faculty of Engineering, AUEA and industry.

July 2018: Spotlight on Auckland's infrastructure

On Thursday 26 July, the Faculty of Engineering hosted a “Spotlight on Auckland’s Infrastructure”. The Spotlight series is a new collaboration between the faculty, AUEA and industry, replacing the old AUEA Champion events.

The inaugural Spotlight event was held at the Newmarket Campus where alumni, staff, students and industry representatives enjoyed a series of presentations and a panel discussion that focused on the key infrastructure challenges and opportunities facing our growing city.

The presenters and panel members included engineering faculty, industry leaders and professionals from both the public and private sector, including Watercare, Auckland Council, Transpower, Beca and WSP-Opus and AUEA. Despite the diverse panel, key themes emerged including the need for cooperation amongst key players and the importance of people and communities as we seek to address infrastructure issues.

Dean of Engineering, Professor Nic Smith and Head of Department for Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Jason Ingham spoke from an academic perspective. Professor Ingham discussed the responsibility the faculty has as educators, and how we can anticipate changes in a way that means the curriculum can evolve and effectively prepare the next generation of engineers.

Professor Smith talked about the way infrastructure development arises in response to a population’s needs. For a large city such as Auckland, he said it’s important to understand where we are now, where we want to go and how to continue to function on this journey.

Another theme echoed across the other presentations and panel discussions is the ongoing population growth that continues to put pressure on Auckland’s infrastructure. Professor Smith provided long-term statistics that outlined the predicted population rise all the way through to 2041, while the COO of Auckland Council Dean Kimpton provided a much more immediate statistic: 1,000 new people come to Auckland to live every week.

The presenters and panel members discussed potential solutions to these challenges as well, with Watercare CEO Raveen Jaduram noting that the long lead times associated with large infrastructure projects would be better replaced with more flexible approaches. Other topics discussed included the need to embrace technology, the impact of climate change and the growing importance of the concept of a smart city.