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A Hypothetical Supercity, 2033


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Australia’s population hit 25 million this year and – if the forecasts are correct – it’s heading to 38 million by 2050. Cities like Sydney and Melbourne are set to jump by up to 60% – from five to eight million. But what if that’s a conservative estimate? Twenty years ago the experts said we wouldn’t get to 25 million until 2051. We’ve reached that target 33 years early!

For the last event in our popular This Is Not a Drill series, we’ll gaze into our crystal balls and puzzle through a hypothetical population explosion in Australia, 15 years in the future. Thanks to global crises and a sharp birth-rate rise, millions more will call Australia home – far more than the experts predicted. And there’s no going back. Our major cities will rival many Asian urban centres in size.

So – what will our hypothetical metropolis of 2033 look like? Will it be sustainable, and will it be truly global … with global problems? And who gets to decide?

This event is presented in partnership with Asialink, the University of Melbourne.


Ali Moore

Ali Moore has more than 25 years experience as a journalist and broadcaster, working for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia’s Nine Network, and for the BBC’s global news network, based in Singapore. She has covered major news and current affairs events across the region... Read more

Bernard Salt

Bernard Salt is one of Australia’s leading social commentators. He heads The Demographics Group which provides specialist advice on demographic, consumer and social trends for business. Prior to that Bernard founded KPMG Demographics. He is perhaps best known for identifying and tagging new tribe... Read more

John Brumby

The Hon John Brumby is former Premier of Victoria (2007–2010). He served for more than ten years as Treasurer and then Premier of Victoria, six years as leader of the Victorian Opposition, and seven years as the Federal Member for Bendigo during the Hawke Government. Since retiring from politics,... Read more

Rob Adams

Professor Rob Adams is currently the Director City Design and Projects at the City of Melbourne and a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Cities and Urbanization. With over 46 years’ experience as an Architect and Urban Designer and 35 years at the City of Melbourne, R... Read more

Lucinda Hartley

Lucinda Hartley is an urban designer, social entrepreneur and a leading voice on social sustainability. Lucinda is Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Neighbourlytics, which is pioneering the use of social data in cities to measure the social health of local places. Since 2017 it has collecte... Read more

Shara Evans

Shara Evans is a technology futurist, regarded as a leading expert on emerging technologies, artificial intelligence, robots, cyber security, digital privacy and the future of health, humanity and work. Shara focusses on the opportunities presented by emerging technologies, as well as their social... Read more

Ishaan Nangia

Ishaan Nangia is a partner in the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. He specialises in infrastructure, transport, real estate, logistics and education, and has extensive experience in city and country competitiveness. Ishaan works with government, corporate and community secto... Read more


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