Sustainable Lens
Resilience on Radio
Place-based sustainability
Categories: geography, urban

Harvey Perkins

When you join particular places with people with vision and energy you can create all sorts of interesting places and fascinating opportunities.

Professor Harvey Perkins focusses on aspects of sustainability and urban change. He is interested in innovation for sustainable futures – particularly in the transformation of cities.

Talking Points

Third form social studies…I remember the first week..it was a revelation, I really enjoyed learning about the way people made their lives in places. I dedicated my life to that study.

The most important thing I learnt, the huge variety of ways people make lives in places. Now people talk about mobilities.

When you join particular places with people with vision and energy you can create all sorts of interesting places and fascinating opportunities.

In many respects we are the places we live in. Places give us opportunities, they enable us to do a range of things, but also limit us in some ways.

We clearly live in a more mobile society. Movement – physical through transport, or virtually – but we are always in place, we are always somewhere.

Did you want to change the world? I did when I was young. I still want to change it, but I guess I’m a bit more realistic about what can be done.

I think the world is more complicated that I did when I was younger, there aren’t any simple solutions.

There’s a big gap between those who are doing very well, and those who aren’t. And that’s not going to work.

Inequality is easy to say, but hard, much harder, to find a solution.

There are no simple solutions to complex problems.

Transformation boils down to identifying the right kind of people with the right kinds of skills, who are able to harness resources, and who have a vision to make the best of those resources.

Energetic people with vision have capacity to make a difference

We need to better understand which programmes work, get to know those people, share that knowledge

Political will, vision…energy

(Success?) Transforming Cities work – building an energised community of resources.

(Motivation?) Connecting ideas with practice

(Activist?) No, a scholar which implies a level of activism. (Would 1970s you be happy with that answer?) Probably not.

(Challenges?) I’m semi-retired. Balancing expectation that can do everything.

(Miracle?) All of New Zealand’s settlements flourish. (smallest thing to have biggest achieve that?) adopting a different kind of political economy – one that is much more social democratic.

This conversation was recorded at the conference of the NZ Geographical Society.

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