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We had some incredibly deep and powerful conversations around country there and what some of the events that occurred, mean to First Nations people, and how as a designer you can interpret those narratives and stories and then bring them into a meaningful way into design.

Episode 26

On writing a book about Biourbanism, creating an airport for birds and how it feels to be one of Sydney’s 100 most creative people

Adrian McGregor | Founder and Chief Design Officer | McGregor Coxall

Adrian McGregor is a landscape architect and biourbanist. He is the founder and Chief Design Officer of McGregor Coxall, a design firm located in Australia and the UK dedicated to assisting cities achieve resilient prosperity. Selected as one of Sydney’s ‘100 Most Creative People’ and recipient of the Prime Minister of Australia’s Urban Design award, he has designed new cities, lectured, and delivered award-winning projects across the world.

In this episode Adrian talks about what it takes to write a book about Biourbanism, the process of creating an airport for birds and how it feels to be one of Sydney’s 100 most creative people, Enjoy.

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Transcript

Anthony Denman:
Adrian, welcome to the Property Marketing Podcast.

Adrian McGregor:
Thank you very much.

Anthony Denman:
We’ll start this one in a bit of a weird place. I don’t know the answer to this question, but I am quite intrigued by it. Tell me about the time you got stung by a jellyfish.

Adrian McGregor:
Oh, okay. Well, I was surfing just before Christmas up on the Gold Coast and I was in this swarm of those huge jellyfish, and I duck dived under a wave and then somehow one of them bit me on the side of the chin. And then I got this instant pain and decided I better go in because it felt pretty weird. And so I came in and I got down to the shower at the beach edge and I was standing there and I was feeling this increasing pain and thinking, “Is this a blue bottle sting and it’s going to go away, it’ll be fine. So, should I just go home and put some hot water on it and it’ll be okay, bit of vinegar or something, or is this actually something worse?”
So, I was in two minds as to whether to go home or drive to the hospital. And anyway, I made up my mind, I think I’ll go to the hospital. So, I got in the car and I was driving myself along. I was in quite a bit of pain and I drove to the new hospital at Tugun, which I think it only just been completed construction. And I walked in and I said, “I’ve been stung by a blue bottle.” And they said, “The emergency ward’s not open, so you’ll need to drive to Southport,” which is like 40 minutes away.
And I said, “Well, I don’t think that’s a good idea, because I think I’m in quite a lot of pain and it doesn’t feel very good.” And then about that time a doctor walked from behind to the receptionist and said, “What’s the problem?” And I said, “Look, I’ve been stung and I’m not in great shape and I don’t think I can drive 40 minutes.” He took one look at me, he said, “Come with me right now.” So, he grabbed me, pulled me inside and basically took me straight into the emergency room. And the emergency room, I was the first patient, they hadn’t used it yet.
So, he put me down on the bed and started making telephone calls through the hospital and they hooked all these electrodes up. So, I was starting to go into convulsions by then. And it was scary, because it had never happened before. So, I was in this anaphylactic shock reaction and they wheeled me through the hospital and then antihistamines, adrenaline, that kind of thing. And within half an hour I was feeling better and then the whole thing passed. And anyway, so I was the first patient in the hospital.

Anthony Denman:
And probably the only one to ever end up in intensive care when you get stung by a blue bottle. Surely it wasn’t a blue bottle though, by the sounds of it.

Adrian McGregor:
No, it was one of those big-

Anthony Denman:
What color was it?

Adrian McGregor:
It was one of those big purple jellyfish.

Anthony Denman:
Oh, the purple ones. Purple people eaters.

Adrian McGregor:
One of those.

Anthony Denman:
Purple people eater. There you go. I didn’t realize they were that dangerous.

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah. Well, neither did I.

Anthony Denman:
How long ago was that?

Adrian McGregor:
That must have been 30 years ago.

Anthony Denman:
Oh wow. Okay. I’ve done a lot of surfing, man, I’ve never heard of anyone that’s been rushed to hospital, driven themselves to the hospital because they got stung by a jellyfish, let me tell you.

Adrian McGregor:
No, luckily it hasn’t happened again, except for the time that I was in Taipei in a big hotel and ate some jellyfish that I didn’t know about and had the same reaction.

Anthony Denman:
No way.

Adrian McGregor:
So, I have to be very careful with Chinese dishes now, because jellyfish is a delicacy and I just need to be a bit cautious.

Anthony Denman:
And you spend a lot of time too over there, don’t you? We’ll chat about that a little bit later on. Okay. So, how did you go from loading cow shit into the boots of people’s cars to the chance discovery of landscape architecture?

Adrian McGregor:
Well, I think that’s your life journey, isn’t it? I started out at school and my grandmother, who had a tremendous passion for her own garden and had nurtured me for many years helping her in the garden that she loved, found me a job when I was at year 10 in school, and that was working with a local nursery. And my first job when I got there was to basically lift bags of cow manure and chook manure into people’s boots and whatever else that they’d bought at the nursery and drive off with it. So, from there, I think that initial love and passion for being involved in my grandmother’s garden and putting my hands in the soil all the time and really enjoying how that garden changed, to then being exposed to this retail nursery and the whole world of plants and horticulture if you like, started a little flame that has grown over time.
And I then discovered architecture and design when I was at high school, and somehow I came across at a careers advisory day a little A4 piece of paper that had this degree called landscape architecture on it. And I had no idea what it was, but it really sparked my interest. So, I looked at this piece of paper, I read what was involved and thought, “Wow, that sounds really interesting.” So, there I was at year 10 in school basically deciding that I wanted to study landscape architecture and effectively at 16 years of age, setting up my entire life’s career and my professional journey. So, it was quite serendipitous how all of that came together.

Anthony Denman:
Growing up in Merewether, right? This is where you went to school?

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah, I was very lucky to grow up in a fabulous beach side suburb, home of Mark Richards, four times world champion.

Anthony Denman:
The Wounded Seagull.

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah. So, it was an incredible surfing culture I grew up in.

Anthony Denman:
Luke Egan didn’t have a bad hack on him either, right?

Adrian McGregor:
Yep. Matt Hoy, Luke Egan. There was generation after generation of incredible surfing talent that comes out of Merewether. And I was lucky enough to be part of that while I was at school and enjoyed that steel… Newcastle was a steel city, it was very working class, really gritty place, but beginning to undergo that post industrial transition as steel making was on the way out and the Australian economy was transitioning and manufacturing and industry was in this rapid change. So, it was a super interesting city to grow up in, but really working class roots.

Anthony Denman:
Interested in how surfing may or may not have affected your journey.

Adrian McGregor:
Surfing for me has always been a physical and spiritual guide, if you like, I think. It’s enabled me to, I think, work very hard but then find release through the ocean. And a lot of my friendships and a lot of my life has been spent on the coastlines of Australia in those beautiful landscapes. So, it’s had a huge impact on me. And then when I set up McGregor Coxall practice, I was basically a block from the beach. So, I was working seven days a week, working all day and all night, and I was lucky enough to go walk down the street, go surfing, and then just keep working.
And then as the firm developed, we moved into bigger and bigger studios over time. And now we have this incredible cultural DNA. I think it’s a little bit like California where people work, reside in this incredible coastline, and they get some work-life balance. And for me surfing has always provided that work-life balance along my life and I’ve been very fortunate for that.

Anthony Denman:
Can you still put it on a rail?

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah, look, I almost surf every day if I can. And yeah, I can definitely still carve a turn.

Anthony Denman:
You studied in Canberra, right? There’s not many waves in Lake Burley Griffin.

Adrian McGregor:
No. So, moving to Canberra to go to university was a big step, and I think I decided that I wanted to really give this course as much as I could. And in some ways it was actually a positive thing, because I could disconnect from spending too much time in the water and actually focus on the study and on the learning. So, it was intense periods of study and then of course every break and every chance we could, we’d drive to the South Coast and go surfing, or we’d drive to the snow as well. I still snowboard. I started snowboarding at university and skiing, and that’s been another fantastic part of that connection that Canberra had actually to other landscapes.
But it was a big move. And Canberra of course at that time was a really incredible place for urban design exploration. And of course being a city that was designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony was an incredible place to learn about cities and planned communities and the influence that landscape and environment can have on a city. So, I was very fortunate to have that foundation and underpinning to my learning.

Anthony Denman:
If only they had the notion of the importance of walkability when they designed that city, it would be still one of the great ones of all the time, right?

Adrian McGregor:
Yes. I think the original vision was probably far more walkable. And over time as the city developed and the NTA took charge, it developed into satellites that were very much fed through arterial roads and motorways and that’s how the city developed. So, now it’s trying to retrofit itself, but again, it really does need public transport, like any city, to make it livable and fantastic.

Anthony Denman:
So, we’ll get into that stuff later on, but that paid off because you went and got yourself landlocked a bit, but you then ended up in Hawaii. It’s a surfers dream. Did you surf Pipeline?

Adrian McGregor:
I haven’t surfed Pipe, no. I have surfed Sunset, actually Second Reef Pipe was breaking and I surfed Sunset as well.

Anthony Denman:
Yeah. Wow, that’s fair size.

Adrian McGregor:
That was the biggest surf I’ve ever been in. That was pretty scary, but also exhilarating. No, I was very lucky. I worked overseas and traveled and then came back to Australia, and then when I arrived I was looking for a job and I ended up interviewing with Bell Collins who were based in Honolulu. And at that stage I think were the second largest landscape architecture firm in the world along with EDAW. So, I was very lucky to interview and got a job working in their Queensland office. And I then was able twice a year to go back to Hawaii for board meetings and directors meetings.
So, it was pretty fantastic. Pretty amazing firm, because they were really entrepreneurial and they had offices all over Asia and the US and they were in some very interesting cities that were developing very, very rapidly. So, it was a fascinating culture to be part of. And they had their landscape architecture, planning, environment, engineering services all wrapped up together. So, it was interdisciplinary and very interesting about their business model and what they were doing at that time. They were quite unique.

Anthony Denman:
Is that what inspired you to start your own thing?

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah. So, I spent eight years with them and learned a lot. I did a lot of travel throughout Asia and worked on a lot of different projects with them, and then ended up back in Sydney eventually. I was actually the managing director of the Australian business and I was still quite young, so I was lucky to have this incredible foundation and learnt some very valuable skills from some really wonderful people. And then decided in 1998 that I’d embark on my own journey and began what was then McGregor Partners, which ended up as McGregor Coxall, after Phil Coxall joined.

Anthony Denman:
So, I don’t know if you go to many barbecue. Are you more of a barbecue bloke or a dinner party bloke?

Adrian McGregor:
I think I’m 50/50, actually. It would be split.

Anthony Denman:
Right. Well, let’s go with the barbecue. If you were at a barbecue and you got a whole bunch of people around, people you’ve never met before, some of them you know well and some freak show comes up to you. Well, not a freak show, that’s probably a bit unfair. Some nice person comes up to you and says, after you get talking, “What is it that you do for a living?” How do you answer that?

Adrian McGregor:
Well, that’s a question I’ve had millions of times. So, my rehearsed answer is that I am a landscape architect and I design cities.

Anthony Denman:
You’re a landscape architect and you design cities.

Adrian McGregor:
Yep.

Anthony Denman:
Okay. And what do they say to that?

Adrian McGregor:
They usually say, “What do you mean? I don’t understand.” Or they say, “Wow, that sounds incredibly exciting. Tell me more.”

Anthony Denman:
Yeah, wow. So, what do you say then?

Adrian McGregor:
In recent times I’m starting to say that I’ve authored a new book, it’s called Biourbanism, and it sets out a model for how to design prosperous resilient cities for the 21st century. And that a lot of my work, recent work and career has been really working inside helping cities become better places and using environmental innovations to help them on that journey.

Anthony Denman:
Wow, you should just say that. You should just say, “You know what? I’m an author, man, I write books. And my latest book is…” Just cut straight to the chase. We’re going to dig deep on that book a little bit later on. Firstly though before we do that, talk about the evolution and the importance of landscape design. Because it used to be, and I’ve seen some significant change recently, there’s no doubt about it, but it used to be, and when I say used to be just two, three, four, five years ago, that when we were briefed as an agency, if we were briefed on telling a story for a project, that the landscape plan was a bit of an afterthought.
It’s like, “Oh yeah, and by the way, do you have a landscape plan yet?” And hadn’t really been that well considered, whereas now a lot of the projects we’re working on, it’s like the first thing that we talk about. How has that change affected your business and the way you operate?

Adrian McGregor:
Look, I think over the course of my career I’ve seen huge change in the profession of landscape architecture. The scope and scale of the projects that are being tackled and the research done now is really quite different to what it was when I first graduated. So, I was always interested in urban design and right from the beginning I was interested in cities. So, landscape architecture has allowed a specialization in urban design, which I think has grown. And also technologies like GIS, which is geographical information systems, have allowed the scope and capacity of the scale of planning to increase in size.
So, starting with Ian McHarg, for example, in his sieve-mapping analysis, which is really aligned with the advent of GIS, we’ve seen the ability to be able to work at scale with data. And that’s really now accelerating very, very quickly. So, I’ve seen that in my lifetime, in my career, this incredible capacity to spatialize huge amounts of information. And I think landscape architecture has been one of the drivers for that, allowing the evaluation analysis of large scale landscape environments in terms of the context of planning and urban planning.

Anthony Denman:
Technology, huh?

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah, it’s incredible. The work we’re doing now is often underpinned by digital twins. So, it’s our business now building a lot of digital twins for cities both in fact, right up at the city scale and the biggest scale is the size of a whole country where we are bringing in digital data and then using that as an evidence base for creating planning decisions for cities and regions. So, every year the amount of processing and information that you can use is growing, access to satellite data is growing every year. And we have access to incredibly powerful tools that allow design to be much more evidence based.
And what that’s allowing landscape architecture to do is get involved in discussions around metrics and indicators and performance that were difficult to quantify in the past. So, it’s much easier to quantify engineering and architecture in terms of materials and engineering. But we’re starting now to learn how to actually understand and develop tools for the value of ecological systems and landscape systems. And of course scaling up now to the idea of carbon and the impact that that has on our biosphere. So, all of those systems are now within reach in terms of our ability to understand them much more comprehensively.

Anthony Denman:
Thanks. Like I said, we’ll get into that biourbanism idea on that scale you’re talking about a little bit later on. Before we do that, just a quick one on hearing a lot about biophilic design lately. Taking a step back, I mean how would you describe biophilic design?

Adrian McGregor:
Biophilic design, to my understanding, is mimicking nature and the processes that nature uses to improve or innovate in terms of engineering and products and objects and things that we are designing in today’s world. So, it’s trying to use the processes of nature in everyday design. I guess in one sense, airplanes and flying could be said to be biomimicry of a bird. So, it’s probably a good example of a correlation that people would understand quite quickly. In other ways it could be the chemicals that are produced by an insect or by an animal that then find their way into something else that we use as humans, or there are many different ways of using the processes of nature.

Anthony Denman:
This will test you, I don’t know, it test me, I don’t know if I can pronounce this fellow’s name correctly, Heraclitus. Does that make sense to you? Some Roman dude, 475 BC?

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah.

Anthony Denman:
Yeah? Anyway, the quote was, “The only constant in life is change.” And then Charles Darwin, “It’s not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent,” thank god for that, “But the one most adaptable to change.” This is you now from your book, “In the midst of our current urban revolution, we need to unplan the plan, think differently, and establish genuinely adaptable frameworks for growth and change.” So, just as a preamble, I guess you’d call it, into the book itself, the Biourbanism book, which I’ve got to say I just read and it’s amazing. The amount of work that you’ve put in, I think it’s a piece of work, there’s no doubt about it.
For me, I found it incredibly pivotal, one of the most pivotal books I’ve ever read actually, in terms of the way I think about the way we as Homo sapiens inhabit this planet. In terms of a preamble, maybe just give our listeners a little bit more context. And for everybody that’s listening, please forgive my gravelly voice, but my snotty two-year-old has managed to turn me into a snotty, I was going to say late forties, but I’m probably more early fifties, so I’ll give it my best shot. Biourbanism presents a radical rethink of cities as a powerful weapon in the fight against climate change. An evolutionary framework that empowers city leaders, planners, designers, and citizens to lead the charge in transforming their urban habitats and stopping the destruction of the planet. Cities, and this is a fact, cities are responsible for 75% of global greenhouse emissions.
And if we can rapidly decarbonize the world’s 10,000 plus cities, we can effectively slow global warming. So, founded on landscape architecture, urban design, and ecological sciences, Biourbanism is a city planning and urban design platform that assist mayors, city leaders, and planners create healthier, more resilient cities, which simply the research led platform asserts that cities, for me this is the big one, cities must be considered a form of nature. Developments in environmental silence of underlying humanities impact on the planet, signaling earth’s entry into a new, and there’s a few, fuck me dead man, I am not an academic, hey, and some of these words that you use, I’m going to mispronounce them and shit. So just, you’ve got to help me, right?

Adrian McGregor:
Sure.

Anthony Denman:
Signaling the earth entry into a new epoch called the Anthropocene, is that how you say it?

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah, that’s correct.

Anthony Denman:
Anthropocene.

Adrian McGregor:
Anthropocene.

Anthony Denman:
A point in evolution where the planet’s wild places have been radically altered by humans and complex biological systems upon which we dearly depend. So, the book compromises 10 systems, and we’re going to actually wade through those 10 systems in the simplest possible way that we can without turning this podcast into a… I mean it’s going to be a long one though, folks, so I dare say you might want to settle in or at least hope you’ve got a long drive ahead of you, because we’re going to cover a lot of content here. Or simply hit pause and come back to us when you’re ready.
The book comprises 10 systems managed mutually through data. We were talking about data before. A paradigm shift in thinking, which allow us to quickly decarbonize our cities and transform urban environments into more equitable, vibrant, climate resilient places that are better able to support the needs of their citizens. The book itself is a playbook for assessing resilience capabilities using holistic circular economy based approach to offer roadmaps to prosperity in all facets of life in humanities urban environments.
So, that’s the preamble, that’s what the book is about. COVID-19 came along, some people had babies, others moved to regional areas, some binged on Netflix and all the other new apps, streaming apps that you’ve got now. You decided to write, design, and produce a book of this scale. Oh dear, how hard has it been to put that… like I said, don’t drop it on a small child, because you may cause some serious damage to said child. How hard was that shit?

Adrian McGregor:
Oh look, it was very hard. It’s the biggest project I’ve ever undertaken and I tell people it’s 15 years to write it and build it. And I think probably it goes back even further than that. But I had been working on this thing for a long, long time and COVID actually gave me the time and the space to focus on the completion. So, it allowed me, because I was locked in a room, as we all were, and couldn’t go anywhere, that I was quite focused and couldn’t be distracted by everything else that you’re normally doing in your business.
So, it gave me the quiet space to just sit back and actually get the thinking completed and do the writing and then pull it together. So, COVID for me was actually the thing that helped unlock the completion of the book. But it was incredibly difficult, I would say to anyone who is thinking about authoring a book themselves, “Look, I really encourage it, but depending on what you take on, it can be a pretty Herculean effort.” And I think the last 5% was the hardest. And I talk to people who have done PhDs and they say the same thing, that actually getting the last part of it over the line when you’re so close and you think you’re finished but you’re actually not, then you think you’re finished again, but you’re not. That’s the most grueling part, I think.
So, very lucky that something good has come out of that COVID period. And the other interesting thing is that COVID I think has galvanized a lot of global action on climate change and on environmental policy. And I think launching the book at this time is probably the right time. I think if I’d finished it five years ago that would’ve been launching it into an environment where people were still debating whether climate change was even a thing in Australia, for example. So, there’s been a huge amount of progress and I think the timing now is very good, because the conversations that I’m having with people about the book and the contents are resonating with people.
And the idea of resilience is really now a huge global issue. We’re seeing these incredible climate events, heating cities every day. You just look at the news and there’ll be another climate related weather event or something that has hit a city. And the idea of resilience and adaptation now is really taken a front seat, I think, which it has to be top of mind. And in many ways it’s more important than even dealing with COVID, because ultimately it’s going to impact a lot more people.

Anthony Denman:
I mean Volvo gifted the seatbelt to humanity. Did you know that?

Adrian McGregor:
I did, actually.

Anthony Denman:
Yeah. So, Volvo invented the seatbelt and just gave it to everyone else and said, “Here’s our gift.” They didn’t want people going through windscreens and what have you. So, I’ve got a question for you. It’s a question of morals really. So, people could view this thing one of two ways. One is Adrian McGregor, he gifted this book to humanity like Volvo did the seatbelt to humanity. Adrian McGregor, I don’t know if Elon Musk came out and said that everyone still has to go to work, that no one shipped anything great remotely. You’ve got to actually go into the workplace.
Now the reason he said that is not so people could ship great things, that they drive their fucking cars there, right? So, they’re commuting. So, he comes out with a statement, which is obviously what’s driving that statement is some sort of capital gain. Is it a gift to humanity, or is it just driving some capital gain from McGregor Coxall, this book?

Adrian McGregor:
I’ve written the book… It’s interesting, before you said that I’d used a lot of planning speaking big words, because I actually really tried to do the opposite. I tried to make this for mum and dad.

Anthony Denman:
No, but you’re dealing with me. You’re dealing with the lowest common denominator.

Adrian McGregor:
You’re still a dad, so…

Anthony Denman:
This is the acid test, man. This is the acid test.

Adrian McGregor:
So, I wanted it to be accessible, number one, and therefore that it was understandable because the concepts are far reaching. So, that was very important, that it could communicate in a clear way and resonate with people. And secondly, that it is completely open source. So, everything that I’ve included there is everything that I have learnt myself along my journey in what I’ve done. So, in that way I’m hoping for it to be a legacy for the human race, for Homo sapiens. I think hopefully it forms an important piece of conversation on cities and how we design them and what we do.
Now, does that translate into work for McGregor Coxall? I don’t know. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. I haven’t written a book before so I can’t really answer that question. However, there are a huge amount of talented people in our firm that are doing incredible work. They’re so passionate. Everybody’s united by this DNA of helping humanity and the planet on this incredible journey. So, if people from McGregor Coxall are engaged in exciting things, working with cities and helping solve these challenges, then I don’t think that’s a bad outcome either. I think whatever journey it takes is what it takes.

Anthony Denman:
Yeah, good man. No, that’s a very good answer. What I really liked about, I mean like I said, I found it incredibly pivotal the book. I mean it surely shifted the way I think about planning cities. And what was really cool too was all the graphics that you managed to… I guess a lot of what you were saying needed to be depicted in a visual way. And I think it was really interesting that you were able to create a whole bunch of infographics, I guess you’d call them, that tell that story. Who did you get to do that? How did you pull that together? Because that in itself would’ve been a significant piece of work, I’d imagine.

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah, the illustrations were a huge part of the effort, and the research that was done to of underpin those was also enormous. So, I knew that the infographics were crucial to tell the story and make it understandable. So, I found a Dutch designer who’s just outside Amsterdam, Eric, and he worked with me for the last year to effectively pull that together. He’s an incredible designer and has this ability to take data and illustrate it in a simple way. So, this incredible Dutch sensibility to design and information. So, I was very lucky to work with Eric and he was a huge support and helped me build a lot of that work.

Anthony Denman:
How did you find him?

Adrian McGregor:
I found him through really researching infographics on the web and just hunting basically to find the right person. And I was lucky to uncover him in a little village outside Amsterdam.

Anthony Denman:
So, I’ve got a quote here and this is Andy Goldsworthy. Should I know who Andy Goldsworthy is?

Adrian McGregor:
He’s a highly renowned contemporary artist.

Anthony Denman:
Contemporary artist, okay. I probably should know who Andy Goldsworthy is.

Adrian McGregor:
You probably have seen his work.

Anthony Denman:
I probably have seen his work. Yeah, note to self, I should have Googled that previously. But I love the quote, “We often forget that we are nature, nature is not something separate from us. So, when we say we’ve lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves. Put it another way, we don’t see ourselves as being…” This is what has driven the current planning context, “We don’t see ourselves as part of nature, but rather sitting above it, we’re above nature.” I think everyone, if they ask themselves that question, they’ll probably answer it truthfully that they at one point in their lives have always felt themselves as sitting above nature, which then allows us to treat our environment as a resource for exploitation, exploit the environment rather than to treat it as a life sustaining home.
And this is the paradigm shift. This is what has to change. And that is the essence that the urban environment needs to be considered as a human modified biome, contesting the common view that exists outside of nature. So, therefore we have the Anthrome, which is a human modified biome. So, how do you shift? That’s such a quantum shift to get people to stop thinking the way they’ve thought for so long and to reevaluate planning in that context. How do you that? How do you shift the paradigm and that perception?”

Adrian McGregor:
I think that the way that I describe this issue to people now is through Buckminster Fuller’s terminology, when he coined the phrase a spaceship earth. So, you think about all the space movies that you’ve watched-

Anthony Denman:
Let me just throw the quote in there before you go. And this is the quote from Buckminster Fuller who’s from NASA. “We are not going to be able to operate our spaceship earth for not much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.”

Adrian McGregor:
And I think that makes it really clear. We’ve all watched the space station hurtling through the stars and then it’s got its gardens and its food production areas that keep everything alive and create its oxygen and all these kinds of things. So, people understand that concept. And then that thing for some reason is damaged and then it leads to the final destruction of the people on board, and then the whole thing is a catastrophe. So, it’s the same with planet earth, it’s no different. We have the biosphere that sits around spaceship earth and inside that biosphere is everything including us and everything that we make, everything that we build, operate. And nature is everything. So, the simplest way to understand this concept is to understand that the cities that we build are simply our habitats for how we live on this planet, and they sit inside the Biosphere.
So, they must be nature, there can’t be anything else. They’re not on a spaceship or something else. So, having that mind shift to understand that everything that we touch and that we alter is part of nature is a difficult thing for people to grasp. I agree. I think it’s a really difficult thing, especially the way that we are taught through our education system and everything that we believe. It’s always that we sit on top of nature and that it’s just a resource for us to exploit and make money. And that’s effectively how GDP works and all of our economies and all of our prosperity indicators work that way. So, this is a big shift. And of course carbon that we’re spewing up into this biosphere has now become the biggest issue, this waste product that we’re sending up. But it’s all sitting inside a system, it’s all circulating around and it’s cause and effect.
You raised the Greek, what’s the philosopher before and the idea of change? It’s just entropy. It’s energy moving around. And where effectively what we’ve done is we’ve taken fossil gas and fossil oil and fossil coal and we’ve combusted it, and that’s quite simple. It turns into atmospheric carbon and then the planet heats up. They’re all very simple concepts that your kids learn in first year of school now. So, I don’t understand why adults struggle with it so much. So, really this idea of cities as nature is fundamental to shifting what we do. And that is we’ve got to have the understanding that our cities are a set of systems.
And you’d spoke before about the 10 systems in the book, and effectively one decision impacts another. And to design a great city, you’ve really got to be thinking about all the systems together, because they’re a system of systems and that’s how ecosystems and the biosphere work. We know that in science that if you impact one thing, it has an impact on another. So, they’re quite simple concepts, there’s nothing new there. However, the idea that cities in nature, that is going to be something that people struggle with. But really I task anyone to say, “Well, what else is it? What else can it be?”

Anthony Denman:
Yeah, absolutely. Let’s talk about these systems. So, number one on the list is citizens, right? Just tell me one sentence… Sorry, I laugh because I’ve read the book. It’s one sentence is pretty hard. But just give us a bit of a really super brief overview of what are the citizens? What are citizens referring to?

Adrian McGregor:
Well, citizens are us, so they’re Homo sapiens who are mammals, and they’re those Homo sapiens that reside inside cities. Simple as that.

Anthony Denman:
Okay. Great. And so that just involves, I guess, what? Their socioeconomic status, whether they’ve got jobs, homelessness, race, ethnicity, I mean all those sorts of things, is that right? And getting the balance of that right?

Adrian McGregor:
Exactly. So, the systems in the book, I identify indicators which are effectively ways of measuring how successful a particular system is. And the citizen system contains things like governance, health, law. So, all of those processes that we use to maintain our societies.

Anthony Denman:
Yeah, cool. So, in that system too, I think you talk about employment and the creation of green jobs. Is that correct?

Adrian McGregor:
Yep.

Anthony Denman:
What would be your dream green job?

Adrian McGregor:
My dream job green job?

Anthony Denman:
Yeah.

Adrian McGregor:
That’s a very difficult question, but I’m pretty interested in carbon and the way that the world deals with the economies of carbon and how it prices carbon into emissions trading or goods and services. That’s a pretty fascinating area that I don’t think anybody’s really cracked yet.

Anthony Denman:
Because what you’re saying is that although we’ve got to shift the thinking on jobs, because we lose a lot of manufacturing based jobs, I guess, there will be an equal amount of new green jobs that’ll be created, right?

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah. I mean there’s a huge amount of new employment now going on with electrification, for example, and decarbonization. So, the energy transition is really sparking a huge amount of innovation and a lot of different kinds of new jobs that didn’t exist before. Battery technologies. And I mean fossil fuels, we’ve been using fossil fuel since the 1800s. So, we’ve been burning those things in combustion engines since, well, since America started pumping oil in the 1850s, for example. And then we had the Model T Ford in the 1900s.
So, we have not really been innovating much in terms of many of these systems for driving production and manufacturing. So, we are entering this tremendous period of change, which is driving all sorts of new technologies. And that’s super interesting, I think, for the human race at the moment. So, I think it’s very, very exciting times.

Anthony Denman:
Number two on the list, food and food production. So, I guess what you’re saying there is that you’ve got to try and produce as much food locally as you can to be as resilient, as sustainable as possible. And there’s stuff like vertical farming going on, I guess that wouldn’t be as hard as being an actual farmer, would it? Like to get up at sunrise and milk cows and shit, would you?

Adrian McGregor:
No, you wouldn’t. And I think we’ll probably see more mechanized forms of robotic driven food production probably for fresh food I think maybe inside cities in the future, certainly. But the important concept around food is security. And this comes back to the idea of resilience at the nation state level as well. And we’ve seen it today with the shocks to the global grain trade coming out of Europe and then the knock on impact to other countries that are suffering. So, resilience is quite a simple idea for cities and nations in that if you can produce and supply your own food through your own bio capacity, then clearly you’re going to be resilient.
Because if anything happens to a global supply chain, and we’ve seen that happen multiple times in the last few years, then your citizens, your population, are at risk, whether it be food or water or any other basic commodity that you need to survive. So, the concept of biocapacity, which is your capacity supply using your own ecosystems in environment is crucial. If you exhaust that or you exploit it and then you rely upon biocapacity from others, then clearly you have a poor state of resilience. And with food, that is the key thing at the moment.

Anthony Denman:
Landscape number three. So, that’s obviously just creating as much landscaping space as possible on routes, on building throughout the master plan of neighbourhoods, so on and so forth, yeah?

Adrian McGregor:
Yep. And it also includes the terrestrial ecosystems. So, it includes all of the plants and animals as well. And so they all sit inside that system.

Anthony Denman:
How is London a National Park city? Apparently it has 47% green cover. Who would’ve thought?

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah, I was there recently. In fact, I launched the book over there at the NLA and I actually met quite a cities National Parks people who are volunteering, for example, and creating this network in London. But they’re striving to increase their open space, their accessibility to it and their urban forest, and trying to improve these conditions to create a more prosperous city. They have big issues. Their whole urban forest, a lot of it is more aged and it’s getting old, so they have huge issues in terms of trying to replace that and having to do it all at once. They also have very big problems with the amount of open space in the center of London, because population’s growing, but there’s no room to continue to supply extra open space to support population density. So, they’re looking at rooftops and other innovative ways to provide public open space. So, these things are a big challenge for mega cities and highly urbanized places.

Anthony Denman:
Waste. All right, so I guess whatever we make, we’ve got to get rid of. That’s number four. What is urban mining?

Adrian McGregor:
Urban mining is, well, the important concept with waste is that it becomes a feed stock for urban reuse. So, currently we dispose of our consumables, mostly landfill, or we burn it and then it has absolutely no value. So, we’re taking natural resources, sometimes non-renewable, sometimes renewable, and then we’re converting them into consumables and then we discard what we don’t continue to use. So, that is not a cycle, it’s a dead end. And what we have to do is, as we know, we all know about paper and cardboard recycling and some countries and cities are very advanced and recycle a lot more. Urban mining, I think, is a concept of going back and taking out old landfills and then pulling out materials from them for reuse in a way that it’s a little bit like going back to an old gold mine and sieving through the remains to find valuable material that’s still there.
So, it’s a concept of going and finding discarded materials that do have value. But the book talks about the circular bio-economy, and that’s really all about better ways of tracking the production of materials, tracing them and then putting them or keeping them in the cycle for reuse, either upcycling or reuse. And they’re not new concepts, but there needs to be a lot more done. And some of the best performing cities are those that actually have slums where people are living on top of the landfill in places like India, and they’re really picking everything out of these landfills and it goes back into the city.

Anthony Denman:
Wow. There you go.

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah, they’re really high performing recycling systems, but of course there’s people living in terrible conditions and it’s not good. But Western countries and other cities have got to get much smarter about this stuff.

Anthony Denman:
Water or blue gold. Blue gold. Where does blue gold, what’s that all about? Blue gold.

Adrian McGregor:
Well, the easiest way to describe this, I think the human body’s 85% water. Something like that.

Anthony Denman:
Something like that. Are you asking Professor Denman, are you?

Adrian McGregor:
I am, yeah.

Anthony Denman:
Okay, we’ll go with that. Sounds about right.

Adrian McGregor:
I think it’s about 85%, something like that. So, we need to put clean water into our body to actually get up in the morning. So, that clean water is a finite resource around the world, because a large part of the world’s water is either salt, or it’s locked up in glaciers, or it’s inaccessible to us, it’s aquifers. So, there’s only a very small amount of clean, fresh water that exists and we rely upon it, as do other species. And it’s a resource that is under great deal of threat. It’s either polluted, or it’s been exploited and especially in aquifers and groundwater tables. So, right around the world that fresh water that’s available to Homo sapiens is disappearing rapidly.
And then with the climate emergency, we’re seeing the distribution of rainfall changing rapidly. And one of the things I talk about in chapter one, the rise and fall of cities, is impact of climate change on cities in the past. So, cities that were in areas of plentiful rainfall have ended up in drought and the cities collapsed. And that’s happened time and time again over the millennia.

Anthony Denman:
Yeah. Amazing amount of research has gone into this book. When you get your hands on it, you’ll see what Adrian’s talking about. And I guess that’s all part of you can’t plan a way forward till where you’ve been, right? There’s huge amount of research that’s gone into that. What’s a sponge city?

Adrian McGregor:
Sponge city is a-

Anthony Denman:
Is this not where SpongeBob lives?

Adrian McGregor:
SpongeBob City. That could be a new term. The sponge city, well, look in the simplest sense, effectively cities are impervious. So, we cover them in concrete and asphalt, bitumen. And when it rains, there’s a cloud burst event, that water runs off everywhere and ends up very quickly in concrete channels, engineered structures, and then it runs out into rivers and often creates flooding. So, the landscape before we build cities is very pervious.
When it rains, that water goes into the soils. Into vegetation and it’s absorbed. So, it’s like a sponge. So, the landscape is normally, prior to urbanization, a sponge. So, the idea of sponge cities is to retrofit parts of cities to increase permeability or return it to a permeable outcome by removing concrete and roads and things. And then allowing infiltration of water back down into the water table, into the aquifer, and replenishing these systems that have been impacted. So, that’s the simplest answer, I think.

Anthony Denman:
Economy, wellbeing budget. Wow. Imagine that. Imagine, well, I probably could imagine old Albanese getting up and talking about a wellbeing budget. I don’t know about Schomo talking about a wellbeing budget though. When do you reckon we’re likely to see a fair dinkum wellbeing budget?

Adrian McGregor:
It takes a fairly progressive leader to begin a conversation around that. We talk about health at the moment in the simplest terms as how many people are in a hospital, how many people are sick, or how many people are well. We struggle to deal with funding for mental health and resources, still grappling to understand the impact of mental health in our society. So, progressive leaders, and I think I mentioned Jacinda Ardern in the book and her exploration of the wellbeing budget is really simply saying that the citizens of a country or a city need to be thought of across the entire spectrum of health.
And that cities make people sick, there’s plenty of research to prove that that’s the case. So, if you spend too much time driving, if the city is not walkable, if you don’t have access to open space, there’s plenty of research now that tells us that it creates illness. And the cities and the way that they’re designed certainly can have a huge impact on health and wellbeing. So, it’s really escalating it up to, like you say, up to the federal level and the discussion on cities and their impact on the health and prosperity of each of the citizens are very important. Health budgets are huge. And the avoided cost to government of keeping people out of hospital is enormous. The money that is saved by just keeping people healthy is vast if you escalate it across 10,000 cities. So, health and wellbeing, very important to the bottom line of a nation as well.

Anthony Denman:
When do you think we can see the environment trading on the stock market?

Adrian McGregor:
That’s a really good question. I was speaking earlier about decarbonization and carbon emissions, whether it’s tax, trading, whatever it is. But I propose in the book a NASDAQ for the environment and I think that what we clearly need is a way of costing carbon into our economies. And whatever form that takes, I think needs to be worked out by economists and mathematicians now. I mean we’re focused on things like cryptocurrency and Bitcoin or what have you, but really the true challenge for the smartest people in this space is to figure out how on earth you trace and track carbon and then it’s priced into things.
Because it’s the only way that we can actually make change. The fossil fuel subsidies are still gargantuan, I mean there’s trillions still going into subsidizing fossil fuels today, and that hasn’t moved much to my knowledge. So, until those things shift and until there’s a cost to that subsidy, then we won’t be able to overturn this quasi economic model that’s created, that’s called GDP. And that Nasdaq for the environment needs to sit along the other indices and be part of that way that we measure prosperity. And until that happens, until there’s actually a financial mechanism that embeds that, I think we’re going to struggle to decarbonize as quickly as we need to.

Anthony Denman:
Number seven, energy. Got to say, Australia looks like a bit of a bioterrorist really in regards to our energy use and reliance on fossil fuels. How do you see us transitioning to renewables?

Adrian McGregor:
Look, unfortunately, Australia, I was reading recently, is one of the places that still is planning a whole number of carbon bombs. We have got huge oil and gas projects that are still cooking away and sitting there. So, those countries, there’s half a dozen or so countries with carbon bombs that are being still proposed. So, I think that to move away, well, we’ve got to let go of these things. We really have to move on. It’s the time of 1800s of reliance on fossil fuels for our energy production is just really, really crazy. And what we do know, we have all the technologies today, they exist, they’re there.
And I think that the private sector’s been leading the charge in many ways. There are innovators who are pushing and moving ahead, but the federal policies and the federal mechanisms are often not sitting behind to support these entrepreneurs, although things are changing rapidly. And I think clearly the conversation now is around electrification. It’s how do we use renewables to electrify? How do we store that energy? And then how do we deploy it as fast as possible? Stationary energy is one of the key carbon emissions contributors to those 10,000 cities. So, decentralization, electrification are really the biggest things that we need to tackle as quickly as possible.

Anthony Denman:
Solar generated liquid fuel. Apparently someone’s worked out how the fuck they could make that. Is that right?

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah, well there’s the different forms of green hydrogen, I think, are really being worked on quickly. The interesting thing, I was speaking to a banker recently actually who is involved in funding energy nationally. And I’d always had the view that you could retrofit the gas pipe network in the city and use green hydrogen, for example, in those pipe networks. And he was telling me that actually it’s not possible. You can’t just change that infrastructure and put a new gas into it. It doesn’t work. So, these fuel transitions and infrastructure transitions are actually huge. You’ve got to pull the whole network out and reinstall it.
So, the use of gas or green hydrogen, for example, probably will be for specific facilities, I think. I went to Iceland many years ago and saw the aluminum smelter that they have that uses geothermal energy, which is incredible. So, I think that green hydrogen as a fuel will probably be very useful for high intensity manufacturing and industry potentially as a fuel source, because I think it’s much easier to retrofit the electric power grid than it is that the gas pipe infrastructure. Because we can create renewable energy and we can port it back into the grid, which apparently we can’t do with the gas infrastructure.

Anthony Denman:
Unless it’s zero carbon hydrogen, right?

Adrian McGregor:
That’s green hydrogen, so that’s created with sun, or wind, or a renewable energy source basically.

Anthony Denman:
Yeah. Okay. So, you can’t get that into the gas grid?

Adrian McGregor:
No, no. Apparently it can’t be deployed at scale.

Anthony Denman:
Right. Maybe yet.

Adrian McGregor:
Unless somebody invents a smart way to do it, but at the moment the engineering is not compatible.

Anthony Denman:
So, number eight, infrastructure. Is it possible for a city to become a 15-minute city? And maybe you should explain to our listeners what a 15-minute city is first.

Adrian McGregor:
15-minute city is a urban planning term that describes the ability of somebody to get the majority of their daily needs taken care of within a 15-minute travel journey from where they live. So, it could be work, shopping, visiting health facilities, cultural facilities, all those kinds of things. So, effectively it’s having great accessibility to things that you need frequently. You’ll hear 10-minute city, 20-minute city, 15-minute city, there are different versions of this depending on what part of the world you are. But effectively the idea is that you have great walkability that’s connected to modes of mobility that are allowing you to travel quickly and efficiently to get you where you need to go.
So, clearly the antithesis of that would be urban sprawl, and having been in LA recently and sitting in gridlock for hours and hours and hours because it’s the only mode that you have a choice for, is this isn’t a 15-minute city. Or if I were sitting in, for example, London and I can jump on the Tube and I can pop up 10 minutes later and be at work or what have you, that’s basically the idea.

Anthony Denman:
Number nine, mobility. How long until you think we have a drone superhighway in place?

Adrian McGregor:
I don’t think it’s too far off. I think that we will be seeing some form of transport via drone reasonably quickly, but what will probably happen even faster is the deployment of freight through cities via drone. It’s already being tested. I think the issue with drones is the noise pollution and they’re not unlike helicopters, for example. So, they do create a lot of noise, and I think the difficulty in planning for drones is do you use existing motorways, for example, for a highway to transport, or to allow drones to travel like a corridor, for example?
And the issue I think there is that the noise walls that are built to contain sound inside a motorway corridor are a certain height and they’re designed for noise that is emanating from a surface. So, if you put those drones above, then how do you protect all of those homes and people from the noise pollution of the buzzing drones on mass, if that is something that becomes very popular, if you like. So, I think some of those things are really issues that I haven’t seen anybody actually figure out yet. And I think that cities actually need to take these things on now and start thinking about how do you integrate a system of drones either for personal mobility or for freight into the city networks in a way that doesn’t have a negative impact.

Anthony Denman:
Number 10, technology. So, we talked a bit earlier about technology. I guess what I’m interested in is construction jobs. Do you see a lot of those construction jobs being replaced with robotics?

Adrian McGregor:
Absolutely. The construction industry will be largely impacted by robotics. We’re already seeing 3D printed concrete, 3D printed metal and the conversion of BIM drawings, building formation management and CAD being coupled to robotics. So yeah, I think all of these technologies will advance quickly. Content computing is not too far off, and as soon as they stabilize those computations in quantum computing, then we’re going to see an incredible acceleration of technologies and I think robotics will be a key part of that. So, I see a huge amount of automation in the building industry, most definitely.

Anthony Denman:
Your idea is you’ve got these 10 systems and then it’s about creating an action plan around those 10 systems, potentially like a digital twin. We talked about that before, setting up a digital twin, running those 10, plugging in those systems and then having a dashboard indicator, if you like, which would be run by a chief resilience officer. Now if I was to go on to seek and type in chief resilience officer, am I likely to get many job opportunities come up?

Adrian McGregor:
You’ll find a few popping up. Actually I was just in Singapore recently and I met with the Resilience Network there in the Asia Pacific region and it was begun, I think with the Rockefeller Center. There are now resilience officers in a number of cities around the world. So, those kinds of jobs are appearing and it would still be a rare opportunity, however you will find them. And if you get involved with the Resilient Cities Network, then I’m sure that you’ll find opportunities and openings that are beginning to emerge around the world.

Anthony Denman:
I’ll tell you what really worried me was this species extinction thing, right? 5,000 of the total 6,000 extinctions have occurred. So, total 6,000 of species extinctions, right? 5,000 of those 6,000 have occurred in the last 30 years. I mean, WTF, right? In the last 30 years we’ve lost, what, over 90% of the species that we’ve lost so far. How do we stop this from happening?

Adrian McGregor:
There’s a great concept that suggests that humans need to, or Homo sapiens-

Anthony Denman:
Homo sapiens. I’ve got to say, Homo sapiens, by the way, are doing that research. Homo sapiens means wise man. Bit of an oxymoron that, isn’t it?

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah, very much so. One of the concepts, I think E. O. Wilson suggested is that Homo sapiens need to leave 50% of the planet in its wild condition. And that’s the idea of the wild, going back to the wild biome and letting it regenerate. Because on spaceship earth, that amount of biocapacity is required to ensure the continuation of us. If we can’t consume the foods that we need, that animals and plants, if they don’t exist and can’t be sustained, and clearly our continuation on spaceship earth, our days are numbered.
So, I think that finding solutions to prevent sprawl and basically setting the limits on the expansion of cities and trying to stay out of as much of the wild biomes that are left is crucial. And then the way that we manage the existing wild places is really, really important. So, the wetlands, the mangroves, the forests, all of these things are crucial in terms of trying to help that species extinction rate and bring it down.

Anthony Denman:
So, I want to talk about your average developer, right? So, Joe, I wouldn’t really call him Joe Blow, because they’re not really Joe Blows are they? They’re cruising around, living the life, high on the hog, so to speak. So what can they do? Do you know what I mean? Because they’re just, I was going to say trying to make a buck, but they’re trying to make couple million bucks regularly. So, what can they do? I know that certain things like cement, which is used in the production of concrete accounts for 8% of global emissions. But there is a solution, which is clean concrete, that is concrete made without cement. And funnily enough, a lot of people in the industry just not aware of that, architects and what have you. So, I guess the question is how readily can our industry access things like clean concrete and other clean building products such as cross laminate timber, synthetic limestone, and low carbon steel?

Adrian McGregor:
Starting with low carbon steel, that is emerging technology that I believe is just going to market, it’s effectively being produced. There’s a company call, I think, Boston Metals in the US and there’s another one in Europe that are making low to zero carbon steel. So, those industries need to scale up massively. The cement industry and the steel industry are responsible for a vast amount of the embodied carbon in all building construction. But what has to happen is that the policy settings need to be in place at the federal level to drive the decarbonization of cities.
So, to leave all the choices and to leave the decisions to the developer is really not fair on them, because they’re at the end of the chain. So, the federal government needs to put in place the drivers that allow these alternative materials to be produced at scale so that the end developer and the builder and the construction firms can pick them up and use them. And then there needs to be some pricing incentives for them to move down that path. So, those things are really crucial. And the problem that we have at the moment is we get target setting for carbon at the federal level. So, we’ve got targets for 2050 for Australia, net zero carbon.
So, how do you achieve it? Well, we know that the cities produce 75% of the carbon. So, in order to produce it, the government needs to move beyond just setting a carbon target. It actually has to move down and work with the states into the cities and then figure out what are the big policy triggers or mechanisms that need to drive decarbonization down at city level, so that developer or that builder at the end can actually be part of that structure. It’s unfair to just leave the whole thing on them at the end, I think. There are of course some great innovators who are picking up CLT timber and some of these other things and using them, but it really, for the industry to change quickly and to pick up these measures and decarbonize rapidly, then those policy settings and the economic settings must be in place in order to drive the change. And that’s the gap I think that we have from this national target for carbon and then actually delivering at the project level.

Anthony Denman:
Since COVID, a lot of people have left the city and regional areas have really taken off. Have you been able to give much consideration to how that lifestyle trend is affecting the concept of biourbanism?

Adrian McGregor:
If regional development is eating into important environmental assets, then I think it’s not a positive thing. Because, for example, you take the koala habitats that we have on the East Coast of Australia, we’re seeing incremental degradation of that. We know it’s going to lead to species extinction. So, if the impact of tree changers and sea changers, that creates the impetus for the destruction of some of these regional habitats is in place, and I think that’s a very negative thing. So, you look at Europe and when they decentralise from the bigger cities, they live in villages and they’re still quite compact.
So, I think our tendency to move into hobby farms or large acreages and have this impact on landscape systems is a problem. I think we’ve got to think more about beautiful villages, for example, Byron or even Brunswick Heads or any of those fantastic little regional villages that are-

Anthony Denman:
Yamba.

Adrian McGregor:
Yamba, any of them, they’re great little places. And if we can build strengths in those villages and have population density there, so I could live in a village in a great place across from the beach or something, without relying on sprawl, then those kind of models I think work very well. But sprawl is the problem, because it has such impact on landscape and water systems.

Anthony Denman:
What’s the worst example of a city that you can think of developing resilience to climate change?

Adrian McGregor:
I think I’d slightly change that question to what cities or the most potentially impacted by climate change? Because it’s important to think about cities either in the developed world, or in the developing world. And clearly the cities that are mature have much more capacity and skills to be able to recover from events whether climate events and what have you. Although cities like New Orleans are still struggling to come back and we’re seeing long term impacts from climate emergency taking a long time and perhaps never recovering already in developed countries. But in the developing world, places like Bangladesh, I think the impact of sea level rise there with so many people living effectively at waters level.
And then the potential for flooding there is just huge, tens of millions of people. In the book I have sea level maps included, and when I was in Frankfurt recently and I spoke at the climate conference, there are a number of scientists there from around the world who are saying that the realistic trajectory that we are looking at at the moment for the world is probably about six, six and a half degrees or something by 2100 if we don’t change rapidly.
So the IPCC, I think, is quite conservative in some of its projections for sea level rise and they need to do what they need to do, but-

Anthony Denman:
Well, six degrees. I mean six degrees would effectively fuck us. That takes your hottest day to over 50 degrees Celsius.

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah. And it means the loss of huge amounts of glacial ice, which we’re talking very, very large amounts of sea level rise, well beyond the meter. I mean a big glacier that’s hanging in the moment, the Tyson Glacier, whichever, they’re really not sure what shape that’s in because it’s difficult to understand what’s going on below the ice that you can’t see how much cracks there are and how much degradation there is. So, the sea level rise could come at us much more rapidly. And I think from what I’m hearing from scientists, many sciences, it’s going to come much more rapidly than what we’re talking about or what is being projected.
And that’s just sea level rise. The temperature changes in hot areas and the tropics and deserts are clearly going to be really, really difficult to deal with. So, I think certainly there are a number of challenges and the earlier that cities can start looking at these things and planning carefully and making appropriate decisions around flooding and temperature, sea level rise, then the more prosperous they’re going to be in the future. Those that simply sit and wait, I think are going to be faced with extreme challenges.

Anthony Denman:
What’s the best example then of a city dealing with being resilient in the face of climate change?

Adrian McGregor:
I think it would be hard to signal out a single city that’s doing a good job. I think New York recently has been looking at some projects along its shoreline for dealing with sea level rise. Levy banks and integrated green infrastructure parks and things that help the city in terms of hurricane events and things. So, there are cities that are making moves, but I don’t know of a city that really has a holistic set of strategies around resilience that is taking it very, very seriously. But there’s a lot of work done by insurance companies around the risk currently to property.
And I know in the UK when I was there, I did some research, and there are currently more than half a million properties in the UK that are at high risk from climate change or climate emergency. So, there’s a growing list of assets that are facing significant risk. And whether you are a public or a private entity, those assets on your balance sheet clearly have risk attached to them. And understanding the impact and value of those risks, I think, is really important.

Anthony Denman:
The book was of industry first. I just maybe justify the name of the podcast here, the Property Marketing Podcast. Believe it or not, yes, we have been talking about marketing. You create a book. Let me tell you, that’s probably one of the most significant exercises in marketing you can undertake. Certainly an industry first, there’s no other, as far as I’m aware, and correct me if I’m wrong, no other biourbanism books, anywhere else on the bookshelf, if I go into a bookshop, am I likely to find a section called biourbanism books.

Adrian McGregor:
Not that I’ve ever seen.

Anthony Denman:
I didn’t think so. I think one of the other industry first that you’ve done, completed, which is pretty interesting, is the Migratory Bird Airport Project. How does one design a airport for birds?

Adrian McGregor:
Well, that’s a very interesting project. It’s really fascinating that there are many birds that travel these global flyways from north to south and then reverse on the seasons. It’s incredible to see how far they fly. The project that we were looking at there is in Northern China, it’s in Tianjin, which is near Beijing, it’s a port city next to Beijing.
What was happening there in the bay is that urbanization has been land filling the parts of the shoreline and they’ve lost a lot of bird habitat as a result. The bay was an important nesting and breeding ground. The birds stop on their journey and they usually get food and they rest and then they head off again. The birds are very similar to us in that we get off an airport and we refuel and rest and get our supplies or whatever, and then we go again.
This site was actually a brownfield site. It had some industrial contamination on it and it was an area that was filling up with water. We kind of decontaminated and then created this idea for a constructed wetland. The water for the wetland comes through recycled black water from the sewage treatment plant nearby. Then it would come into the wetland and it would go through further treatment through these kind of large constructed wetland systems.
Then the birds would come, they generally come in the spring and the autumn and they would fly in and then they’d use these huge constructed wetlands that we’d designed to effectively stop and nest. Then they’d feed off small worms and things that were living in the soil. There’s a whole soil ecology that goes with it. Then we design these incredible kind of education and research facilities and then bird hides. They call them birdos that kind of study these migratory birds.

Anthony Denman:
You’ve seen a show I think it’s called The Big Year. It’s so funny. Great cast, Jack Black, Steve Martin, I think it is, and someone else Geez, It’s funny, it’s based on a true story about these guys that basically spend a year counting as many different birds as they can. It’s like a truth kind of system, where you’ve got to take the word for it. I just saw a black bower bird ding, ding, ding every time. They write them down in books -. It was pretty bizarre. Yes, there are people out there like that.

Adrian McGregor:
Oh yeah, the birdos are incredible. People will travel halfway around the world to just be able to have the chance of spotting some kind of rare bird. That project was quite innovative and it is part of that conversation we’re having about species extinction whereby cities can actually create new kinds of green and blue infrastructure that effectively rehabilitate parts of their shorelines and things to repair habitat and then allow these species to continue to have this flight path. If they can’t get the food on their journey, then clearly they become weak and then predators can get them, or they just simply don’t make it to the next place. They’re flying tens of thousands of kilometers. Super interesting project, that one.

Anthony Denman:
Totally. You see, anything I ever look forward to on my stopovers was the Tabasco sauce and the Worcestershire sauce. I think Qantas had a little set up there where they had the Tabasco and the Worcestershire and some lemon. Go fix yourself a bloody Mary. That’d be enough for me to get me through to the next leg of the journey. Okay, so Parramatta Road. Oh man, I got to tell you, when I’m on Parramatta Road, I’m in hell, is it ever going to become a Central Parkway?

Adrian McGregor:
Oh, that’s a very good question. I think that unfortunately when the M4 connection was made, that was the chance to remove lanes out of Paramatta Road and to effectively create additional walkability and to try and connect those communities either side of the road and allow greater walkability and less pollution noise and the reactivation of retail.
Unfortunately, that opportunity wasn’t taken up and the lanes remained, and therefore the potential for it to become the heart of the city and a fantastic corridor to live on, I think have been slowed. So really what has to happen is those lanes, the Parramatta Road needs to go on a diet and those lanes need to be removed. It comes down to whether it be light rail in a single lane either way or whatever, but that’s the only way that can ever really become that fantastic sort of central city boulevard that it should become.

Anthony Denman:
Sorry, for those of you who aren’t from Sydney, it was the original connection really, wasn’t it, from sort of the city to the west way back before all of the motorways.

Adrian McGregor:
Originally it was the Aboriginal walking line.

Anthony Denman:
We’re going to talk a little bit more about that later on in connection with the indigenous culture. Mate, how does it feel to be one of Sydney’s most 100 most creative people?

Adrian McGregor:
Well, that was a surprise to receive that accolade. I’m not sure what kind of process they had for working out who received that, but I think, look, it’s always good to be recognized, I think, for the work that you do, and especially by your peers and people outside of your industry. I think it’s exciting to be recognised because sometimes it allows you or give you a platform to be able to talk about things and that’s kind of important. So us having a chat here today is really a result of hard work and effort that leads to certain opportunities, I think. Then that allows you to have great conversations with people about innovation and change.

Anthony Denman:
How do you and your team conjure ideas? What’s the perfect set of circumstances that allow you to achieve your best work?

Adrian McGregor:
The perfect set of circumstances I think begins with the client, whoever’s engaged us, whether it be the public sector or the private sector, but it’s a client who is looking for some kind of innovation and vision to bring to a project to deliver something special. They’re willing to engage in the conversations to explore what the best outcomes could be and give us the scope and also the fee as well to be able to do some exploration with them and then try and work out the most creative and the most valuable product that we can in terms of that design process, which ultimately always will end up as a greater investment in their asset.
Design always creates better outcomes and better value. Great design will always allow project to have legacy and longevity, and those things will generally translate into higher value. Internally, our process is to hopefully receive a great brief from a client or an open-ended brief and help work through that brief with a client. Then to bring our teams together and begin that journey of usually starting with research. We usually will begin with analysis and using our digital twins now and some of that data that we build is usually a foundation for the discussion.
Then once we’ve pulled that together, then we’ll get together and effectively start to brainstorm and use our other projects that we’ve got quite a big library of projects from around the world that we use for kind of evidence base if you like. Then, yeah, we generally get together and try and ideate and sketch and draw and move things along until we kind of develop a few options. Then generally we’ll bring those to the client and then try and bring those options down to a preferred version, which suits the brief if you like.

Anthony Denman:
I really like that answer about the importance of the client. How long does it take you to realise and how do you realise when you’ve got a like-minded client?

Adrian McGregor:
Look, it usually is something that we figure out fairly quickly. Projects always change over time and often I’m involved in projects that are five years plus, so they’re long gestation. The relationship with the client develops over time and changes. But I think we realize fairly quickly about how committed a client is to delivering innovation and whether they’re kind of aligned also to the way that we think and what we’re trying to do as well. It’s always good to have a great fit between the client and the design team. I think it’s really important. Certainly all the amazing projects that we’ve delivered on, the most award-winning projects have been those where the client has really engaged pretty deeply with us and allowed us to develop our work and encouraged us to do so.

Anthony Denman:
About quarter past five in the afternoon. Looking out the window, it looks like it’s probably a little bit onshore. I don’t think there’s any swell. I think very little swell. What’s the tide doing? I think it’s sort of filling in again. Nothing much happening out there now. What happens? Let’s say it’s one o’clock, say it’s 11:00 AM actually, and it’s offshore and it’s pumping. Do you and are your staff allowed to go for a surf during business hours?

Adrian McGregor:
Well, if you kind of stroll into our office and have a look around, then you’ll probably find, I think there’s maybe 15 to 20 surfboards in the studio. Then there’s a wetsuit room and a shower and plenty of facilities. We do take health and wellbeing seriously. I kind of mentioned that California spirit that we have. I think that ability to work hard and play hard is super important. If you come in here, you’re going to find people surfing probably from about 12 to about two-ish or something, people floating in and floating out. That’s just a normal day’s work.

Anthony Denman:
That’s unreal, man. Congratulations. Okay, this is a tough question. I’m not sure if you can answer it, but of everything you’ve done, is there one particular project that you’re most proud of?

Adrian McGregor:
One of the projects I’m most proud of would be the regeneration of Maitland’s Main Street, just west of Newcastle. I think that was a pretty powerful use of design to regenerate what was a really derelict main street and a place economy that was in very, very poor shape, 50% retail vacancy. By the time we’d finished the project, we turned that around to a sort of a 10% vacancy. We did that through great design and through consultation with the community and the business owners and our client, which is a council.
Then we really used a fantastic contemporary design to reinvent a place. I think that’s one of my favorite projects just because of the social and kind of community impact that it had on an entire town. I think that’s one that I’ll remain proud of. There are others too. The National Gallery in Canberra, the extension that we did there I think is a beautiful project. Ballast Point Park in Sydney, another great one. The Drying Green just opened in Green Square. Actually the whole design of Green Square, we were part of the urban design team that won that international competition and that’s now taking shape and almost finished.
There are quite a few projects that I have that I would consider to be legacy projects, I guess. For me, those projects are the ones that stand the test of time. If you can come back to a project 10, 15 years after you’ve finished it and it’s maturing and improving and actually growing stronger than when you finished it, then you’ve really delivered a legacy. That’s how I view all of the great projects is you travel the world and visit places. Those ones that have stood the test of time, not something that is just a spur of the moment thing that’s a fashion that is just put together because everyone else is doing it. Those things have no longevity. But when you build something of great quality that’s thoughtful and based on good kind of design evidence, then you end up with legacy projects and they’re the most wonderful, I think.

Anthony Denman:
What is the most intriguing place you’ve been to in the world?

Adrian McGregor:
Intriguing. Define intriguing.

Anthony Denman:
Oh, intriguing. Fascinating. Go with fascinating, engaging, tempting, tantalizing, riveting, absorbing, engrossing, charming, captivating. A lot of words you’d associate with me really.

Adrian McGregor:
I have seen so many cities in so many incredible places, that that is a tremendously difficult question.

Anthony Denman:
I’ve asked David Milton, he’s 84 countries I think from memory. Andy Hoyne. Actually David Milton and Andy Hoyne came up with the same answer.

Adrian McGregor:
Really?

Anthony Denman:
Yeah. Do you want me to tell you what it was?

Adrian McGregor:
Sure.

Anthony Denman:
Cuba.

Adrian McGregor:
Havana. Yeah, I’ve been there. Rich and inspiring place, but intriguing. You know what I’m going to say? I’m going to say it’s the villages of Ache in Northern Sumatra.

Anthony Denman:
Okay, now you’re talking my language.

Adrian McGregor:
Very remote places, actually even out in out Suraga in the Philippines. So places where it’s really developing world and you are back to the very basics of living.

Anthony Denman:
No refrigeration, right? Dried fish heads and goat’s head soup.

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah, just really remote places that are taking you back to the sort of basics of life and livability. You see the villages and how thriving they are and you see the kids, the smile on their faces that they might have absolutely nothing. They might have a ball, a soccer ball and that’s it, and a pair of shorts, but they’re so joyous and so happy and you see the simple kind of lifestyle that they have and that they lead. It reminds you of everything that we have in our western life that what does it all mean? Intriguing places.

Anthony Denman:
It’s superfluous. But that’s really interesting too, because you take citizens, food, the landscape, waste water economy, it’s got all that energy infrastructure, mobility. Probably the only thing doesn’t have is technology.

Adrian McGregor:
A lot of them have got little flip phones and 3G connection.

Anthony Denman:
Okay, let’s talk about the reconciliation with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and the work you’re doing there, and your reflect reconciliation action plan, which is titled Listen, Learn and Acknowledge, which has been fully endorsed by Reconciliation Australia. Do you want to maybe tell us a little bit about that initiative?

Adrian McGregor:
As part of our practice, we’re trying to improve the way that we engage First Nations people in our projects and how we involve them and how we work with country. I’ve been working with First Nations people in Australia for a long time. I think I worked 15 years ago with the Aboriginal Land Council in Mildura forshore on a master plan that I was doing there. I have done a lot of projects over a long time, but what we’re trying to do now is just align our whole business with the values that we hold to be important in terms of reconciliation and truth telling as well.
Then I’m working on a whole range of projects with First Nations engagement and it’s a very important part of our practice at the project level. I work with some incredible consultants too, working with Carol Vail from Brisbane. We’ve had some really actually kind of cathartic conversations around country and the narrative and stories and truth telling, especially working around Circular Quay. We had some incredibly deep and powerful conversations around country there and some of the events that occurred mean to First Nations people, and how as a designer you can interpret those narratives and stories and then bring them into a meaningful way into design.
But Carol would always say to me, Adrian, when you’re working, you need to, first of all, you’ve got to undertake truth telling initially as a way of uncovering what actually took place. Then once you have truth, then you can move on to reconciliation and looking at how to build more inclusive kind of places.

Anthony Denman:
By truth telling, you mean the wrongs that were done?

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah.

Anthony Denman:
Injustices, right?

Adrian McGregor:
Exactly. Carol, she’s really encouraged me to step into the space were her words about … Obviously being a Caucasian Australian, it’s difficult to feel that you have the authority, if you like, to work or try and convey stories and narratives of country into projects. But she’s always encouraged me as a bit of a mentor actually to say, no, you need to step into the space, you need to listen to what we’re telling you and you need to translate that in your ways into modern country and design. Those stories then can be understood by others.
I think the whole country, the whole nation is still probably a little bit behind in how we engage with our First Nations people in design. I think probably I always go to New Zealand and I see them as being much more advanced than us in terms of Maori culture and how deeply embedded it is. I think there’s a lot of positivity here. I think there’s some great new understandings about how to engage with country and design and First Nations people, and we’re certainly making progress and I do feel it’s been rapid progress more recently.
It’s really an enjoyable part of a design process because you’re always learning new things, it’s incredible. I’ve learned so much only in the last kind of few years actually in some of the projects that I really didn’t have any exposure to before. That’s great. Great to continuously learn and understand the cultures of First Nations people here.

Anthony Denman:
Can you give me an example of designing a interpretation of a story into a physical manifestation?

Adrian McGregor:
I’m currently working on a big master plan for the Australian Botanic Gardens actually at Mount Annan. We are effectively, the big idea is to restore Dharawal country, which is the local First nations group. We are looking to create … We’ve taken some of the plant symbology if you like, of Aboriginal graphics and paintings and we’ve got an idea around a coolimon as a vessel for holy water. Then we are looking at creating an Aboriginal farm as well, growing bush tucker and then having that in a restaurant cafe kind of place where you can actually sit down and have damper that’s made from yam daisies for example, and grain and some of these aboriginal foods. That’s a good example that we’re working on at the moment of one kind of large scale, if you like, interpretation of the Dharawal people.

Anthony Denman:
Yeah, that’s cool. That’s really cool actually. Am I going to enjoy my sauteed witchetty grub and possum tail for an entrée.

Adrian McGregor:
Why wouldn’t you? You’re having that with a dark emubeer. That’s what it’s all about.

Anthony Denman:
Not a chilled Sangiovese?

Adrian McGregor:
Doubt it.

Anthony Denman:
Let’s talk about scale, shall we? From manure shoveling kid to world domineering futurist, so how do you go from the dinghy to the frigate to the ocean liner?

Adrian McGregor:
Hard work and perseverance. I’ve been lucky that I’ve been very passionate about the work I’ve been engaged in for many years and that has allowed me to stay involved and to remain committed to giving lots of energy to what we do. That’s what motivates me really. I’ve been lucky, but without effort and perseverance, I don’t think you achieve anything.

Anthony Denman:
Really interesting. I remember doing a project for Dr. Stanley Quek actually many years ago on the corner of Bathurst, and I think it was Bathurst and George Streets in the city we called Lumiere. That was designed by Sir Lord Norman Foster and I think he was one of the first kind of developers to work hard at introducing that kind of big name international architect into Australia. I think it’s really interesting that we’ve still got a lot of that going on. Those sort of big name international architects being imported into Australia to create a bit of extra brand equity. But it’s really interesting to see that Australians as landscape architects are kind of doing the same overseas, right?

Adrian McGregor:
We’ve been working in China, we’ve had a studio there in Shenzhen for kind of seven, eight years and then now in the UK in Bristol and London and working across Europe, working in the Middle East, we’ve got projects all over the world, India. I think that the profession here, the design professions are really, I think they’re highly regarded globally and certainly the expertise that we have, especially in resilience, considering that the sort of climate impacts we’re already facing. I think people understand Australian expertise and what we can bring.
I think the quality of our design education here in the universities now is very high. We have quite a sophisticated understanding of cities and public domain and really many of the Australian cities are, they’re world class now. You can travel around the world and see and compare and benchmark what we’re doing here to any of the great cities in the world. I think Australians can be very successful.
I think there’s been perhaps a bit of timidity, or I don’t know, some reluctance to export design services. I think that that should change because I think Australians have a lot to offer in the global marketplace and clearly we’ve got some fantastic clients in many different places in the world now. It’s great to engage with different cultures and experiences and different people and bring our knowledge and bring it back to Australia too. What we learn overseas, we bring back here too. It’s a big kind of melting pot of ideas now that we can move around in.

Anthony Denman:
Lord Adrian McGregor. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Adrian McGregor:
Perhaps I’m a Republican so maybe I won’t be a Lord.

Anthony Denman:
Why is your partnership with Philip Coxall been so successful and how has it stood the test of time?

Adrian McGregor:
Well, Phil and I were at university together, we were quite close and we spent a lot of time at university critiquing each other’s work actually. He was an intellectual sparring partner if you like, and a designs sparring partner. Then after we left university, we went our own ways for a long time. Phil worked in Europe and then Hong Kong for a long time, in China and all over. I went my way and then we eventually arrived back in Australia and then I started the business and been going a year or two and maybe two years. Phil had come back, I’m kind of exhausted from the whole Asian experience. He’d been working very, very hard in Hong Kong and China working on some huge projects. So he came back and he was kind of having a rest and saying, oh look, I’m a bit burnt out.
Then eventually I gave him a call and I said, Phil, we’ve got a design competition we’re looking at. Why don’t you come in and let’s do this competition together and see what you think? He kind of went, eh, okay, maybe I’ll come in. Anyway, he did and we did the competition. We had a ton of fun together, designed a crazy project and we didn’t win the competition, but effectively that was us kind of reuniting intellectually and exploring design. We went, oh, that was actually kind of fun, why don’t we keep doing it? That was really the beginning of Phil coming into the business. Then the rest is history, 25 years next year and I think we’re over a thousand projects now. Been a pretty long partnership and a really fantastic and tremendous journey.

Anthony Denman:
A lot of the successful partnerships that I talk to my guests about are based on the premise that they sort of stay in their own lane and they do things, they kind of complement each other. But you guys are both designers, so how does that work? How do you stop from stabbing each other in the eye with a pitchfork?

Adrian McGregor:
I think when we started, there was a bit of that going on. The staff would get really, really kind of annoyed because I’d come over to their desk and say, do this. Then five minutes later Phil would come over and go, no, don’t do that, do this. We did fairly early figure out we had to stay in our own lanes. In fact, the staff told us that. Look, for a very long time we’ve kind of each run our own projects and collaborated on design review and those kinds of processes. We’ve really been able to individually do certain things inside the business.
Now I’ve stepped down as managing director and we have a CEO who’s a fantastic guy, very experienced, and he’s also hired a CFO. My role now is design and just working with the teams and clients around the world and also of course on this thought leadership cities and book and really enjoying that kind of conversation and collaboration again in design, which is tremendous.
Then the business, we’ve got a really strong operations team that takes care of it all. Kind of a hundred people now globally. It’s a very diverse business and we now have urban design team and environment team specializing in water and other ecological sciences. Then we have obviously landscape architecture and the biourbanism lab. We’ve set up a lab off the back of the book and it’s our research group and they are, they’re the ones that are building the digital twins now and working with some of the universities and clients on advanced data modeling for cities.

Anthony Denman:
You’ve got yourself a white coat, like those guys in laboratories wear or is it one of those black jumpers, the turtleneck jumper, what is it exactly that you wear when you’re in said lab?

Adrian McGregor:
The funny thing is that the lab is run by doctor, doctor, and doctor. We’ve got three PhDs that run the lab and they’re all a lot smarter than me. When I come into the room, I’ve got to learn how to converse in academic terms.

Anthony Denman:
Done a very good job of, let me tell you, with that book of yours, even though you try to keep it simple. What is your purpose? Why is it that you do what you do?

Adrian McGregor:
I think my purpose is to try and leave a legacy both in my personal life and in the business that has hopefully some kind of longevity beyond me and that the projects that I’ve left behind and maybe some of the critical thinking in the book and other things are, or make some kind of contribution to humans and to people, that there’s time kind of spent that leave behind some of the things that I’ve been able to enjoy in my life and that I’ve learned and hopefully bring that prosperity to others. That’s probably the key things.

Anthony Denman:
Just on the book, how do people get ahold of this book? Is it actually finished? Because I’ve only read the online copy, haven’t actually seen the hard copy yet.

Adrian McGregor:
I’m waiting any day to receive the fully printed kind of draft copy after multiple iterations of prints and proofs and edits and the whole thing. Provided that that is in good shape when it arrives and we sign it off, then it goes into full print production immediately and it is supposed to be first edition one will be printed mid November then available on Amazon in kind of probably end of November, mid to end of November and self-published book. It’s been completely produced without a publisher, which it’s been an interesting journey. Amazon should be available and we’ve set up a website called biourbanism.info and you can go to that website and you can register your email address and we will notify you when the book is ready for purchase if you are so inclined.

Anthony Denman:
Awesome. Mate, that’s it. We’re done. Thank you so much for me taking the time. Been incredibly interesting to me, this conversation. I hope that if we can just maybe influence one person to think a little bit differently about what they do, then it will be a huge success. Is there anything you want to say, a final word, so to speak, before we sign off?

Adrian McGregor:
Final word would be that I really hope and I encourage everyone to try and be strong in their conviction about their work and what they leave behind as their legacy. Especially I think in property and development, all of our projects are important and if we can leave behind great projects for the people and the communities that occupy and people that use them and create great cities, then that’s a fantastic purpose that should unite all of us and a pretty exciting prospect.

Anthony Denman:
Well said. And resilient, right?

Adrian McGregor:
And resilient. Absolutely.

Anthony Denman:
Stand the test of time. Little bit like yourself actually. You do look like a resilient fella. Good physical shape there.

Adrian McGregor:
In business you need resilience, right?

Anthony Denman:
Thanks again so much. I really, really appreciate it. Let’s maybe catch up again in another, I don’t know, five or 10 years.

Adrian McGregor:
Yeah, thanks Anthony. It’s amazing to chat and really appreciate the opportunity and it was tremendous to have a great discussion.

Anthony Denman:
I look forward to receiving my hard copy of the book.

Adrian McGregor:
No problem.

Anthony Denman:
Thanks, Mate. I’ll see you soon.

Adrian McGregor:
Cheers.

About Us

The Property Marketing Podcast is an original podcast hosted by Anthony Denman, co-founder of Our Agency. In each episode Anthony talks to Australia’s most experienced property professionals, exploring their personal & professional stories whilst unearthing insights on how to create the most successful property brands possible.

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