Lendlease boss calls for collaboration and a positive legacy for future generations

1 Oct 2019

The global head of Lendlease, an international property and infrastructure business, headquartered in Sydney, but with an £18.8bn development pipeline of work within Europe, has called for an end to what he has described as an often unhealthy and politically charged approach to the regeneration of major cities.

In a keynote speech to business leaders in London, Steve McCann called for change and said that his industry has a responsibility to leave a positive legacy for future generations. 

He described how increasing urban migration is leading to major social and environmental challenges. And he argued that the complexity of those challenges lies well beyond the power of any individual, community, company or Government to solve alone.  

McCann’s philosophy is that large-scale and mixed-use developments that attract vibrant communities can help address those challenges. And that big companies involved in this type of project must always consider their social responsibilities. Lendlease is currently engaged in 21 major urbanisation projects in ten major global cities. 

In London, the Mayor believes the city needs to build 66,000 new homes a year. And every single one of those homes will require energy, water, digital connectivity and transport links. Without a long-term plan to provide that infrastructure our cities will falter.  

In his speech to the Australian-British Infrastructure Catalyst, Steve McCann, the Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Lendlease, said: “While everyone agrees on the scale and urgency of the problem, very few agree on how to solve it. Private companies, government and communities are all too often at loggerheads, locked in unhealthy battles played out in traditional and social media, and the dialogue is frequently polarised and politically charged.” 

Describing his vision for the future he said: “We need to recognise that no-one builds anything substantial alone. So much is changing – social, political, economic, cultural norms that have been in place for decades or even centuries are being swept aside.   

“But one thing will never change – the fact that when people or organisations come together – from within business, communities and governments - identify their common interests, look beyond the immediacy of their own needs and collaborate, then and only then can we achieve what is necessary and begin to imagine what might really be possible.” 

In today’s speech Steve McCann highlighted two major Lendlease projects, located on opposite sides of the world, but which both aspire to meet those ideals. At Elephant Park in London, Lendlease is now around halfway through the delivery of thousands of new homes alongside a whole range of community amenities and infrastructure – including a low carbon energy centre and district heating system. 

The energy centre is an excellent example of how infrastructure combines with its place. It will also become a hub for the local community, as it will include a new nursery, community café and children’s playground.  

Steve McCann also described how very early in the life of the project his team realised the strength of local feeling around the mature trees that had been earmarked for removal. His team redrew the master plan to keep as many of the trees as possible, while creating a large new park in central London.  

The speech also referenced the Barangaroo South project in Sydney where the Government called on the placemaking, delivery and capital management expertise of the private sector to help transform a large tract of contaminated industrial land. Delivery of a vibrant new part of the city is now well underway and when complete Barangaroo will be one of the first developments of its size to be climate positive and carbon neutral.  

Roof-top solar panels are being used to generate energy for public lighting, rain water is being harvested to help the gardens thrive and all operational waste is reused or recycled. It is the type of work that Lendlease has been focussing on for decades – not because it is fashionable but because the company realises it has an obligation to leave a place better in multiple ways then how they found it.  

ENDS 

For further information please contact: 

Becky Endacott, External Communications Manager, Lendlease Europe 

Email: [email protected]  

Phone: 07725200928 
 

Jonathan Edwards, Head of External Communications, Lendlease Europe  

Email: [email protected]  

Phone: 07753581086 

Visit www.lendlease.com or follow us on Twitter @Lendleaseuk.