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Innovation as a catalyst for growth


4 October 2012

Sir David Higgins helmed the biggest construction project in Europe, the 2012 Olympic Park in London.
Sir David Higgins helmed the biggest construction project in Europe, the 2012 Olympic Park in London.

Good infrastructure could change cities says Sir David Higgins, the current Chief Executive of Network Rail (UK) who is visiting Sydney to present the 2012 Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies' Dean's International Lecture on Monday 8 October.

In his lecture 'Innovation as a catalyst for growth' Sir David will argue that infrastructure is a national asset and much more than just a discounted cash flow.

An Australian, Sir David was at the helm of the biggest construction project in Europe - the 2012 Olympic Park in London - which has been hailed an unmitigated success. He received his knighthood for his contribution to the transformational project based in East London.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games were credited as the 'Regeneration Games', delivering transformational change and leaving a lasting legacy of sports venues, new homes, new transport links, new energy networks and a new urban park for a previous ignored area of London.

Using examples such as the Oresund Bridge, the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe connecting the Danish capital of Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmo, he will show that while the bridge itself has not achieved the anticipated traffic and could be considered poor value for money, it has transformed this part of Scandinavia.

He will also argue that the same hard economic modelling, if applied to the Channel Tunnel, would show a similar comparison. The High Speed rail link between London and Paris - which has replaced half of all air traffic - has also transformed travel between the two cities.


About Sir David Higgins

Sir David gained his degree in civil engineering at the University of Sydney and a diploma at the Securities Institute of Australia. After graduation, he worked in the United Kingdom and Africa, before returning to Australia in 1983, and joining the international property and construction company Lend Lease Corporation in 1985.

In 1995, he was appointed managing director and chief executive of Lend Lease when the corporation's developments included the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. In March 2003, Higgins was Chief Executive of English Partnerships, a UK government national regeneration agency. Higgins was appointed Chief Executive Designate of the Olympic Development Authority from December 2005, and appointed Chief Executive from March 2006. In September 2010, he took up the role of Chief Executive of Network Rail.


Event details

What: Innovation as a Catalyst for Growth

When: 6.30 to 8pm, Monday 8 October

Where: Seymour Centre, corner City Road and Cleveland Street, Chippendale. See map and directions

Cost: This is a free public lecture

Book now online


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Media enquiries: Victoria Hollick, 02 9351 2579, 0401 711 361, victoria.hollick@sydney.edu.au