My Brave Idea for Brisbane @BrisbaneInst

15 years ago you could only buy eggs. Then something exciting happened. You could buy eggs laid by chooks that had broken out… barn eggs. Then things got funky. You could buy organic free range eggs. The ultimate sensation happened a few years ago. Mr Egg was presented in a bio degradable box.

We all want change.

We all want a story and we all hope to be part of the next big story. (I’ll ‘fess up and admit I borrowed this from Tim Smit, Creator of the Eden Project)

My brave new idea for Brisbane is really it’s a story about change

We’ve got a big problem. We’re Fat, Flat broke and Lazy

    • We’re obese
    • We’re obsessed with national debt and the cost of living (not the cost of lifestyle)
    • We’re lazy because all we do is click ‘like’ on Facebook

Our problems are mindset problems, because we all fear failure

What would you do today if you knew you would not fail?

I’d build a Cycleway on the Brisbane River made of waste plastic and coke cans. A Cycling Super Highway. In 2009 I went around the world and visited 30 of the world’s most acclaimed cycling cities. I interviewed the urban rock stars and the world’s most famous architects and then I met the skipper and boat build project manager of David de Rothchild’s Plastiki boat and my world changed forever. We could build the Cycling Super Highway out of plastic and put it on water!

A working city is about smart infrastructure,  people, technology and smart funding. For this reason my brave idea has four components:

  1. Smart infrastructure – Lets’ be like David Rothchild. We need to tackle big issues like waste and recycling face on. There is no ‘away’. Our waste stagnates at Nudgee landfill. We could build our bikeway with our household crap?
  2. Smart people – Let’s put our smartest thinkers in one room. Let’s not compete and let’s not just sit around talking. Let’s collaborate and then plan, design and build innovative architectural and engineering solutions. Let’s be like Vertech in the UK who have create road bridges with waste plastic
  3.  Smart funding – For all we know, the money we donate to airline carbon offsets could be used for drinks in the business lounge. What about if as well as the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ options there was a ‘donating towards the floating bikeway’ option? People who pay would get a Green Boarding Pass. Like KPMG’s Liz Crawford said at the launch “we can’t expect Government to pay for everything”
  4. Technology – What if the added technology like real time data collection sensors or water based urban gardening to the bikeway? We could make it a multi use asset

When the Los Angeles Department of Transport said “for the bike to catch on we need a revolution in our bicycle infrastructure” they were right.

What’s the benefit for us, all of us?

For the last 12 – 18 years the Queensland economy has been great and life has been easy. Now is the time to be bold and brave. We need to try new things, we need to invent and we need to adapt our city for the future. Perhaps a floating bikeway made of household waste is just the legacy our city, our world and our future needs.

And finally I’d like you to remember the phrase “Just 2 4 U”

If all of us made just 2 trips by bike each week – that’s just cycling to a local café for Sunday breakfast and back home and if we all made just 4 trips with our feet each week – that’s just walking to the gym and back home again on Tuesdays and Thursdays then 30% of all trips in Brisbane would be by active transport.

The first few steps of this brave idea are very easy… Just 2 4 U