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Fast Forward 22

Fast Forward lecture series 2022

Urban Design and Social Responsibility

Aotearoa, New Zealand, faces challenges of high population growth and struggles to ensure resources equity and prevent environmental degradation. As the largest city in Aotearoa, Auckland is experiencing the most critical implications. Due to rapid population growth, there is an overwhelming demand for urban space, urban infrastructure, and services. Creating strategies to accommodate where people will live and how they will move around Auckland can no longer be delayed.

Fast Forward 2022 takes the opportunity to catch up with experts from the education and governmental sectors leading extraordinary projects to shape today’s urban environment. This series will touch on strategies and potential solutions to better prepare for the immense growth and developments underway and the socio-economic implications of Transit-Oriented Developments (TODs) and Auckland’s Light Rail transport project. The speakers will help address urban issues that concern all of us and share their thoughts about the opportunities, the challenges, and the journey ahead.

Fast Forward 2022 begins with an online exaugural lecture from alumna Professor Diane Brand reflecting on a trailblazing career and the series’ theme. 

About Fast Forward

Fast Forward is the School of Architecture and Planning’s annual lecture series. It aims to foster debate, discussion and development within the disciplines of architecture, urban design and urban planning. A well-known and respected event in the community, Fast Forward is generously sponsored by GIB® and supported by Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects.

10 NZRAB CPD points are available at each lecture. Attendance at each talk is free. All welcome. 

Fast Forward is made possible through the generous support of GIB®

Check out the recordings of the May and June lectures below

Fast Forward will continue with more lectures in August 2022 

Miss Mondrian’s Architectural Journey: From Courtyard House to Creative Arts 

Professor Diane Brand


Professor Diane Brand grew up in an Erwin Winkler-designed courtyard house in Wellington. The experience of seeing the modernist building designed and built informed her decision at 12 years of age to become an architect. In 1976, in her first year at the University of Auckland’s School of Architecture, Diane earned the nickname ‘Miss Mondrian’ for her spare, geometric, primary coloured studio work. Her 45-year career in architecture has traversed public service hydroelectric infrastructure provision, commercial projects in corporate architectural practice in Australia, urban design studies at Harvard, teaching and research, university executive management and jewellery making, demonstrating the career reach of architectural education. This lecture follows that trajectory and shows that design has been a central concern in all dimensions of her work.

Recorded on 12 May 2022.

The urban opportunities created by the Auckland Light Rail project

Light rail is much more than a transport project. It’s a significant step towards a better future for Auckland. Investing in light rail provides a foundation for future growth and development to enable our communities, economy, and environment to thrive. When we’re easily connected to the places we visit most, our quality of life improves. As our city grows, light rail will help people move more freely.

Investing in high capacity, high quality, rapid transit is critical to developing a modern, connected city that supports new, improved public spaces, homes, shops, community facilities and jobs.

Light Rail Board Chair Leigh Auton, Business Case and Consenting Lead Cameron Law, and Urban Planners Alyssa Jones and Fleur Martin-Austin join us to talk about the urban opportunities created by this project. Together, they outline how Auckland Light Rail will support more housing and employment choice, enable thriving, vibrant and diverse town centres, and improve quality of life for decades to come.

Recorded on 31 May 2022.

Urban design, transportation and growth management in the post-Covid world

Dr Lee Beattie


The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the risks associated with “regional TOD” (Transit Oriented Development) passenger-transport based urban form outcomes. Although often seen as an alternative to private vehicle dependency, these outcomes can still promote long-distance daily commutes. Factors that make passenger transport effective such as capacity (social distancing), affordability (daily user volumes) or desirability (fear of contagion), can start to fail with serious social and economic consequences. 

These risks highlight the importance of urban form outcomes that prioritise local economy and movement. Re-focusing regional TOD thinking to emphasise local accessibility would better support sustainable travel decisions, enhance local character and vitality, and provide greater social and economic resilience to system shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Lee Beattie is the Head of the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland and a practising urban designer and planner with over 27 years of experience. In this talk, Lee shares insights on a new concept of “local TOD” as an approach with a substantially lesser emphasis on public expenditure and investment than can be seen from the “regional TOD” approach.

Recorded on 7 June 2022.

More lectures to be announced!



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