Planning our Cities to Ensure Thriving Communities

Emily Low joined WSP in 2017 as an Associate Director responsible for leading our Brisbane Sustainability team.

Having moved back to Brisbane after spending 13 years in London, Emily says, “I am excited to begin the next chapter of my career back at home and with WSP. The change in the industry over that period has been enormous”.  As a passionate advocate for sustainability, Emily is enthusiastic about the future challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

 

A Sea of Opportunity

“Australian major cities are undergoing significant growth,” says Emily. “The quality of the environment in our cities is an amazing asset. We need to learn lessons from other major global cities and ensure that we grow our cities in ways that protect the environment and our natural assets. Cities and the built environment impact on our health and wellbeing.  For example, in London air quality is a serious problem and this causes major health consequences, the cost of which is only just being to be understood.”

 

She adds, “Urban design can improve public health as well as social outcomes. We need to plan our cities in a way that ensures communities thrive. In Australia, it is important we look to megacities like London and learn as much as we can to create the future we want for our cities. We need our cities to be resilient to future challenges including extreme weather events.”

 

Plastic Free Societies

With the environmental impacts of single-use plastic and waste being understood around the world, Emily holds a firm belief that as a society, it is as much the responsibility of businesses as it is for individuals to be more sustainable.

 

“At home we are trying to minimise our waste as well as go plastic free,” says Emily. “This means we have changed our purchasing habits. For example, we have been avoiding plastic straws and buying foods wrapped in plastic. We try to get our fresh produce from the farmers’ markets which is a fun way to make our family more sustainable.”

 

“I think it is important that we show the way for the next generation. It is up to each and every one of us to change our habits so that we can impart a sustainable living culture to our children.”

 

Balancing a Sustainable Family Life

Going through the hiring process at WSP, Emily reflects that it was the company values and the sincerity of our directors that ultimately drew her to the firm.

 

She says, “When I was hired, it was on a part-time basis – I needed some flexibility. My managers were supportive of my family commitments and this clearly demonstrated the progressive culture of the firm.

 

“With the company, and the broader industry starting to make valuable steps towards gender balance, it’s important we all join together to keep the conversation relevant and push progression on this journey. It is important to have males and females champion this change so we are all working towards the common goal of a diverse and inclusive workplace.”

 

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