Main Conference Programme



  Download Programme


Leo Hammond is an Urban Design Associate Director at Lambert Smith Hampton with 15 years' experience.

He is also the current Chair of the Urban Design Group, an Urban Design Tutor at the Bartlett and a Future of London Alumni. Leo is currently working on projects at a variety of scales and contexts in Berkshire, Birmingham, London, Manchester and the Wirral.


  • To get the general public talking about urban design
  • To continue to repair the worst of post-war planning
  • To design and build places that have the lasting qualities of Georgian Streets and squares


   Opening: Great Tree Planting Leads to Great Cities

Howard Gray, GreenBlue Urban

Howard Gray has travelled globally advocating the importance of mature canopy cover for cities to remain habitable. Recent visits to other countries have further convinced him that a radical change of thinking is vital if humanity is to continue to develop our urban areas yet retain healthy green spaces for future generations. Great tree planting leads to great cities. Howard is “changing the world one tree at a time” by presenting his vision of incorporation of green and blue infrastructure in a passionate and challenging way.




   People Friendly Economies

Neil McInroy is CEO of CLES – UK’s leading independent think and do tank, realising progressive economics for people, place and planet. In an era of interlocking crises, CLES is at the vanguard of building a new local economics.  Neil’s work takes him across the UK and internationally, where he is involved in developing practical strategy and policy work, with local, regional and national administrations.

  • How mainstream economics and economic development is failing badly.
  • Why we need a new intimacy, where we transform economies to truly serve people, communities and place
  • Introduce the community wealth building movement, and how it is radically transforming wealth and ownership within local economies.



   The Death of ‘Clone Towns’: designing and delivering projects to transform High Streets

Wendy Maden is a Design Project Officer in the Environment & Design Practice at Bath & North East Somerset Council. She has previously worked as a Design Advisor for the Design Commission for Wales, an urban designer in a design studio and a planner in various sectors.

The Love Our High Streets pilot project

  • B&NES share their innovative approaches to reanimating and reinvigorating high streets.
  • They see their role as proactive, promoting imaginative interventions to work in collaboration with business and the community.
  • Pilot projects include reanimation of city centre retail streets and squares within a World Heritage City, creative re-use of vacant premises by artists and communities and a Local High Street vitality health check which assesses the health and vibrancy of local centres.


   Northstowe: delivering a new town centre in uncertain times

Damon Smith is a Senior Development Manager at Homes England. He currently leads the development of the Town Centre at Northstowe, a 10,000 home new town close to Cambridge. He has previously developed large scale residential sites across the South East and has a background in Property and Urban Design.

Northstowe Town Centre

  • Homes England share their approach and challenges of delivering a commercial centre within a new settlement.
  • They highlight the process and concepts used to form the strategy and vision - seeking to create a new economic driver within Greater Cambridge and having the ability to respond to an unpredictable future.
  • How can we create productive centres and help balance local economies as a result?


   Access for Everyone: transforming central Auckland from a go-through to a go-to place

Ben van Bruggen is the Design Strategy Manager for Auckland Council. He is an urbanist with 25 years experience working in the public and private sectors in the UK and internationally. Ben is also the founding director of van Bruggen Limited, an urbanism consultancy, based in London. Ben is a past chair of the Urban Design Group and a Trustee of the Francis Tibbalds Trust.

Auckland is experiencing a period of growth not seen since the European colonisation of Aotearoa. There is a new paradigm emerging. Creating a pollution free city centre for people to live and work in requires different thinking.

  • Access for Everyone is a new idea to help create a low emission zone.
  • A city centre that is a place to go to not through.
  • A place for people and their wellbeing 



  Buy Tickets

   Framework for People Friendly Places / Chair

Katja Stille is a Director of Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design. As an urban designer she works collaboratively across professional boundaries to deliver high quality places. Working with private and public sector clients as well as communities Katja’s objective is to push the placemaking agenda and ensure we are building people friendly places. Her work ranges across a broad spectrum, including strategic masterplanning, creation of new communities, regeneration projects and design advice.

Katja seeks to find solutions to unlocking issues that prevent us from delivering good design and placemaking. Currently, she is involved in delivering Northstowe, a new town in Cambridgeshire, promoted by Homes England, and one of the NHS’s Healthy New Towns. Her work incorporates principles of health and well-being from early masterplanning stages through to delivery.


   Strategic Urban Design: National - Regional - Local


Jas Bhalla is a qualified Architect, Urban Designer, Town Planner, and founder of Jas Bhalla Architects. He has led projects across a range of scales, from strategic masterplans to intimate residential developments and specialises in negotiating the complexities of the planning system to deliver well crafted, thoughtful, and enduring architecture and urbanism.

Paul Reynolds is a Chartered Landscape Architect & Urban Design and a founding Director of the Urban Planning & Design Practice Urben. Paul’s experience covers a wide range of urban design areas, from large scale masterplans to the design of individual streets and spaces. 

  • This joint presentation will review the development plan making process, and critically examine whether the current method of allocating sites for development remains fit for purpose.
  •  It will explore whether the current system is capable of promoting the compact, high density, public transport orientated people-friendly places that we need.The identification of the suitable sites for development requires collaboration between Local Authorities, and since the revocation of Regional Spatial Strategies in 2010, this level of strategic thinking has largely been absent in the formulation of development plans.
  • The presentation posits how the planning system could be reformed, in both subtle and radical ways, to better promote high quality and sustainable placemaking.


   Why Don’t we Make People Friendly Places?

Stephen Bate is a Senior Planning Officer with Derby City Council. He is now entering the final phase of a long career in both the public and private sectors and has dabbled in urban design to such an extent that he is now a Recognised Practitioner.

  • This conference will show us lots of examples of sustainable master plans, intelligent design schemes and attractive public realm initiatives.
  • In my experience, typical attempts at producing people-friendly places have resulted in historic obsolescence, diluted masterplans that are not delivered, and a plethora of poor schemes constrained by officialdom, finance, lack of innovation, competing ideologies and an absence of expertise.
  • My presentation will try and focus on who and what is to blame for the paucity of people-friendly places.


   The Challenges and Opportunities of Community Led Development

Mike Fox is an urban design-trained planner with more than 18 years of experience in handling complex planning and regeneration projects. At Nash Partnership Mike advises on a range of planning projects and is focused on facilitating development that delivers meaningful change.

Lindy Morgan has worked in the affordable housing sector for nearly 30 years. Lindy’s career began as a tenant activist and vice chair of a housing association. Lindy’s current role for Southmead Development Trust is part of the multi-disciplinary team to deliver this complex and impactful project working closely with the community who lead it.

  • What lessons have been learnt from one of the UK’s largest community-led development projects?
  • What challenges and opportunities have there been in creating a vision for this people-friendly place.


   Delivering a People Friendly Environment at Marmalade Lane


Neil Murphy is co-founder and director of TOWN, a developer and custom-build enabler setup in 2014 to build good homes in proper streets and neighbourhoods. Neil is a visiting fellow within the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at Newcastle University, an academician of the Academy of Urbanism and a Fellow of the RSA.

Lora Brill has lived in co-operative housing environments for 25+ years and is currently a resident of Marmalade Lane. She is Associate Director for JLL’s Upstream Sustainability Services. Lora advises EMEA property companies including Moda Living, British Land and Orchard Street Investment Management on how to promote wellbeing through the built environment.

Marmalade Lane

  • A development of 42 dwellings and communal facilities designed with and for K1 Cambridge Cohousing.
  • The ethos and form of cohousing is intended to make for a neighbourly environment and networks of mutual support and cooperation.
  • Restriction of vehicle movements and parking makes space for a large shared garden and pedestrian street, allowing play and social bonding to flourish.



  Download Programme

   Behavioural Urbanism

Christopher Martin is an urban designer and planner working all over the globe to help communities improve their public spaces, as well as supporting Governments to develop strategy, change policies, and make great places possible. He is Co-Founder and Director of Urban Strategy at Urban Movement.

Through introducing the theory of Hedonistic Sustainability I will explore the below and lay out a theory for how we can influence human behaviour through shaping places that prioritise what is best for people, best for cities, and best for society.

  • Cities and society are staring down the barrel of significant and growing urban crises -inactivity, climate, inequality, and social exclusion.
  • To tackle these issues head on we need more people to walk, bicycle, and take public transport in cities for a vast array of reasons.
  • To do this we need to influence people’s behaviour, but we know people do not change their behaviour when they are told - they change when they are compelled.


   Applying the Sustainable Development Goals in Urban Design Practice

Emma Spierin is an urban designer with a background in architecture. She has gained broad experience in the field through working in both public and private sector, in China, the UK and Ireland; ranging from mixed-use masterplanning in China to working on Heathrow City and Crossrail 2 with TfL in London. Emma is currently practicing in Dublin.

  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals offer us a pre-made template to use when approaching the design of our cities and public spaces
  • There are 17 goals and it is important not to cherry-pick them; if we remain cognisant of all 17 goals we can design in a holistic way that will provide a net positive benefit
  • Our Governments have already signed up to this agenda, so using the SDGs as a framework for engagement can empower us to lobby for change


   What Big Data Can Tell Us About Mental Health in Cities

Neil Davidson is a landscape architect and partner of J & L Gibbons and director of Landscape Learn. He is a founder of Urban Mind, a cross-disciplinary project investigating how the urban environment affects mental wellbeing.

The Urban Mind project 

  • Over three-and-a-half billion people, over half the world’s population, live in urban areas. This ever-growing urban population is having major implications on global mental health.
  • Mental health needs to be a key consideration of good city design, and developing a language to discuss these topics, otherwise mental health stigma will continue. 
  • The Urban Mind app was developed to examine the impact of the surrounding built environment on mental well-being as people go about their daily lives. Using ecological momentary assessment, we can sample current experiences in real-time and real-world contexts, providing an insight into dynamic changes in mental states.


   Design for Good Health

Katie Christou is a chartered town planner and qualified urban designer who has seven years experience in a range of planning and urban design projects across the UK.  She specialises in strategic growth planning and the delivery of complex, multi-disciplinary projects and regeneration strategies, driven by a passion to deliver great places.

Designing for good health, or simply good planning?

  • NHS England is launching new guidance on ‘Putting Health into Place’.  David Lock Associates (DLA) supported the Town and Country Planning Association in compiling the built environment strand to the guidance, which identifies how good placemaking can foster improved physical health and wellbeing.
  • This includes ‘Active Design’, of which DLA also prepared a guidance of the same title, with Sport England and supported by Public Health England. 
  • Active Design sets out Ten Principles to inspire and inform the design and layout of places, to promote sport and physical activity.


   Bicycle City: global approaches to people-friendly transportation, health and wellbeing

Mark Andrew Kelly is a registered architect in three countries, UK, Netherlands and a state in the USA. His work focuses on sustainable, environmentally friendly design in our built environment.   

Cycle networks in urban design to improve the quality of life in cities

  • In January 2020 Birmingham will introduce a Clean Air zone to limit polluting vehicles along with Derby, Leeds, Nottingham and Southampton.
  • Birmingham mayor, Andy Street has publicly endorsed cycling and made a faster commute one of his eight campaign pledges.
  • This short talk will cover the local cycle-friendly urban design plans and touch on parallels with successful global cycling Cities like Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Portland, Montreal and Strasbourg.


   Recycling is Not Enough: how can buildings encourage waste prevention?

Lukas Schaefer is an international waste, resource and circular economy expert. As part of the multidisciplinary cities team of BuroHappold Engineering, Lukas designs waste strategies for buildings, regenerated areas around the UK, but also whole new cities in emerging economies.

Thousands of homes are built every year in the UK – how can they contribute to the transition of a circular economy?

  • Following the waste hierarchy, supporting waste prevention has to be our priority
  • Has building design contributed to the linear consumption model?
  • We need more efficient design that can facilitate waste prevention




  Buy Tickets


Amanda Reynolds is an Architect and Urban Designer with more than 25 years experience in master planning, urban design and a broad range of architectural projects in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. 

As director of her own consultancy, Amanda Reynolds Urbanism, her most recent focus has been master planning solutions for regeneration sites in London, throughout the UK and overseas. This includes major urban housing and mixed-use schemes for both public and private sector clients.

Amanda is a Design Council/Cabe BEE (Building Environment expert) and sits on their Design Review panel, along with those of several London boroughs including Hackney, Lewisham and Southwark.


   The Value of Communities

Andrew Raven leads the masterplanning studio in Savills Oxford and provides placemaking and masterplanning expertise to the national Savills Thought Leadership and Research teams. Savills are currently working on over a dozen garden communities. Andrew’s focus is on the creation of economic value by maximising environmental and social value, including health, wellbeing and social capital.

  • Creating communities, rather than just building houses
  • Best practice in creating social capital in large schemes
  • Economic value that can be achieved through creating strong communities




   The Merton Regeneration Project: a case study in financial viability, design quality and social justice

Paul Quinn Director of Merton Regeneration, Clarion Housing Group

  • Clarion Housing Group is investing £2.6bn in regenerating its existing neighbourhoods, half of that in Merton, South West London
  • The words “regeneration”, “gentrification” and “social exclusion” have become interchangeable in social and print media. Regeneration needs to be rehabilitated and we can help with an approach based on people, their wellbeing, aspirations, happiness and comfort
  • The approach includes a fair Residents Offer; delivery that keeps existing communities together and in situ (irrespective of tenure); and a complex model of cross subsidisation to ensure viability whilst remaining true to Clarion’s social justice-based values and delivering homes and places of lasting quality and beauty.


   How Build to Rent can Unlock Challenging Regeneration Projects

Martin Ellerby is an architecturally trained urban designer who, since, 2011, has helped to establish Placefirst as a leading provider of rental communities across the north of England. Aimed at lower-income households, Placefirst have won over 20 national and regional awards for their work in sustainable urban regeneration.

  • At a time when the focus of BTR seems to be on amenity-led city centre apartments, who is providing much needed homes for families on modest incomes?
  • How can our Victorian heritage be repurposed to create 21st century communities?
  • Can long-term rental investment unlock complex urban regeneration projects?
  • Can Build-to-Rent can create better places to live than Build-to-Sell?


   Designing a Better Way to Live

As Redrow’s Group Masterplanning Director Kevin Parker has led on the launch of a new internal placemaking manual called “Designing a Better Way to Live” which sets out a set of 8 measureable principles (the ‘Redrow 8’).

  • Provides a focus for discussions on the things that matter most to placemaking: clearly articulate our vision for new places; positive and early discussions with stakeholders; creating great places for our customers; and enhanced values and sales rates.
  • This is bottom-up, customer-focussed urban design which starts with consideration of the home and the needs of the residents first, then the street and then the neighbourhood to create responsive, vibrant places with a strong sense of community.
  • Redrow are using the measureable principles to guide all emerging designs as well as to audit completed developments. The scoring system allows for ‘barriers’ to be recorded where a principle could not be delivered as a result of a third party.



  Leo Hammond, Chair