Executive Committee

The Urban Design Group is run by an Executive Committee, led by a chairperson with the support of two vice chairs. The Executive Committee meet regularly throughout the year and are responsible for all major decisions relating to policy, new initiatives and the management of the Group.

There are also a number of smaller sub-committees including members of the Executive Committee and others; these committees deal with specifc areas of the Group's activity such as events, education, links with other organisations and the editorial board of Urban Design. We're always looking for new recruits for these committees; please contact us if you are interested in becoming more involved.

Executive Comittee 2020 / 2021
Katja Stille (Chair) Husam AlWaer Raj Rooprai
Christopher Martin (Treasurer) Philip Black Barry Sellers
Paul Reynolds (Secretary) Leo Hammond (past Chair) Kenji Shermer
  Colin Pullan Alan Stones
  Amanda Reynolds Louise Thomas

Co-opted and corresponding members were approved at the January 2021 Exec Committee meeting: 

Co-opted Members + Corresponding Members  Trustees
Scott Elliott Adams Yann Leclercq Arnold Linden
Patricia Aelbrecht Daniela Lucchese  Marion Roberts
Laura Alvarez Graeme Moor Janet Tibbalds
Meenakshi Bhagat Colin Munsie Marcus Wilshere
Jas Bhalla Brian Quinn   
Andrew Dakin Hannah Smart  
Peter Frankum Graham Smith    
Valentina Giordano Alan Thompson  
Martina Juvara Jacob Willson  



Katja Stille  Chair

Katja is an urban designer with over 15 years of experience and has an architectural and engineering background, including studies in Civil Engineering in Germany. She has been a longstanding member of the Urban Design Group and is a Recognised Practitioner.

She joined Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design in 2003 and is now a Director of the practice. Her recent work focusses on large scale projects, spatial strategies and design policy. Her clients include public and private sector bodies across the UK. Katja is passionate about delivering better places for people and works collaboratively across professional boundaries bringing ideas from her experience in Germanty in order to achieve this. Currently, she is involved in delivering Northstowe, a new town in Cambridgeshire.

Christopher Martin  Treasurer

Christopher Martin is an influential 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, and a fully qualified Urban Designer and Planner, with over 14 years’ experience leading complex urban projects; focusing on public realm, streets and transport. He consistently adds value through ensuring the seamless integration of urban and landscape design with engineering and transport.

Chris is on the UDG's Editorial Board for the Urban Design journal. He is also a Trustee of Living Streets, the charity that champions walking in cities; a member of the Placemaking Leadership Council at Project for Public Spaces; a member of London design review panels; and has been a lecturer and tutor at The Bartlett School of Planning and Architecture for a number of years.

Paul Reynolds  Secretary

Paul first joined the Executive Committee in 2006. As Chair 2012-14, he ran several highly successful events and drove forward significant initiatives on modernising our membership structures during his tenure.

Paul is a Chartered Landscape Architect, a qualified practicing Urban Designer, and is a founding Director of Tapestry. He has been involved in the delivery of several award-winning public realm schemes, and is a recognised expert in the masterplanning of transport interchanges and stations. Current projects include residential masterplans, mixed use regeneration schemes and public realm strategies around the UK.     

Paul is a Chair of the London Borough of Hackney Design Review Panel, a member of the Islington and DSE Panels, and an expert advisor on Landscape and Urban Design to the Northern Ireland Ministerial Advisory Group on Architecture and the Built Environment. He is also a member of the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP).

Elected Members 

Leo Hammond  Past Chair

Leo is an Urban Design Associate at Lambert Smith Hampton with 15 years experience. Enthusiastic, creative and adaptable he gained his qualifications from the Bartlett and won a scholarship to the Master in Advanced Urban Design program at UC Berkeley, California.

At Lambert Smith Hampton he is taking a key role in starting-up and developing the urban design team. Leo is currently leading urban design projects, including outline planning applications, planning briefs, design codes and feasibility projects across a range of scales and contexts with a national team of planners, regeneration and viability professionals.

Leo is the current chair of the Urban Design Group, is a Chartered Town Planner, a panel member on the Hackney Estate Regeneration Design Advice Group, an Academician at the Academy of Urbanism, an Urban Design Tutor for the Bartlett and a Future of London Alumni.

Husam Al Waer  Elected Member

Husam is an architect, planner and urbanist, with a background in architecture, urban planning and sustainability. He is currently Reader in Sustainable Urban Design at the University of Dundee and has a focussed interest in the future of sustainable places, towns and cities, and in particular the development of new approaches to sustainable urbanism and the way new methodologies are facilitated and managed.

He is an award-winning author with published work on a wide range of subjects from architecture, urbanism, sustainability and healthy neighbourhoods to the specifics of placemaking facilitation and performance evaluation. 

Husam has a worked with a number of government departments and professional institutes inlcuding: the Scottish Government's Planning Review Evidence; the recent Scottish Government investigation into community participation design processes; and the recent RTPI's Measuring Planning Outcomes. He has also been a Special Advisor to Scottish Government charrette events and the New Ideas Funded Programme.

Philip Black  Elected Member

Philip is a qualified urban designer who has worked extensively in both professional practice and academia across the UK and Ireland. He is a Lecturer in Urban Design at the University of Manchester and the founder and Director of Manchester Urban Design LAB [MUD-Lab], a practice-focused teaching and research group at the University of Manchester. He is also Director of the universities successful MSc Urban Design programme.

Philip extensively researches and publishes on applied urban design, with a particular interest in design quality and evaluation, design governance, and urban design process. His experience as both a practicing urban design professional and academic see him work directly on the interface of practice and theory, with a research-strategy aimed at making real-world impact on how designers consider and design places and spaces. 

Colin Pullan   Elected Member

Colin has been a member of the UDG for over 15 years, and an Executive Committee member since 2011. He was Chair 2016-18, overseeing a rejuvenation of the UDG to attract new executive members and the first urban design group conference and knowledge exchange in Guangzhou, China.

Colin is is a qualified Urban Designer, and Planner. He has been a director of urban design at RPS and Lichfields, and now heads up the new Urban Design team at Lambert Smith Hampton. Since graduating from Oxford Brooks in the distant past, Colin has undertaking a broad range of design work including: regeneration, masterplanning, development briefing, design codes and advice for both private and public sector clients throughout the country.  In addition, he has extensive experience of presenting urban design evidence at Public Inquiry, working with some of the Country's leading QCs.

Amanda Reynolds  Elected Member

Amanda 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. She is a past Chair of the UDG and was the Group's first female Chair.

Amanda is director of her own consultancy, AR Urbanism, established in 2007 and the practice has a focus on masterplanning solutions for town centres and regeneration sites in London, East Anglia and the South-East, as well as overseas, working for both public and private sector clients.

Teaching architecture and urban design is an important interest as well as providing design advice and expert witness roles for public inquires. Currently Amanda is a co-Chair of Enfield’s Design review panel, a Design Council/Cabe BEE (Building Environment expert) and a member of several other Design Review panels including Design South East and the London Boroughs of Hackney, Lewisham and Greenwich.

Raj Rooprai  Elected Member

Raj is an architectural urban designer with a particular interest in low/zero carbon master planning and sustainability strategies based on renewable energy system.

With his practice Studio Rooprai he has worked on a wide range of high profile projects across Europe, Middle East and Far East, working with some of the world’s leading practitioners including Sir Terry Farrell & Partners, John McAslan & Partners, HOK International and AECOM.

Raj is a member of several Design Review panels including Wentworth, Essex, and Enfield and is a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant at Bartlett UCL Faculty of The Built Environment in Urban Design. 

Barry Sellers  Elected Member

Barry has been a member of the UDG since 1982 and was Chair of the Urban Design Group 2004-06. He was involved in the formative stages of the UDG’s Recognised Practitioner status.

He's currently a Senior Planner in the urban design and conservation section at Wandsworth Borough Council. Since graduating in town planning and architecture he has worked in the public sector in Farnborough, Southampton and London. 

His current workload includes a number of strategic sites for mixed-use development at Clapham Junction, Nine Elms and Springfield Village as well as input to the Local Development Framework and Conservation Area Appraisals. 

Barry is currently a Chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, a member of the Institute for Historic Building Conservation and an affiliate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Barry also gave evidence to House of Commons Select Committee on Transport on ‘Walking’.

Kenji Shermer  Elected Member
Alan Stones  Elected Member

Alan is a glass-half-full man! An architect-planner, he runs his own urban design consultancy. Currently involved in housing design quality assessment for Essex County Council, he also carries out master plan and design brief work, conservation area appraisals and architectural design, and acts as appeal witness.

Formerly a regional convenor, he has been on the Executive Committee since 2000 and was UDG chair from 2002 to 2004. He has been running week-long tours for the UDG since 1983.

Before forming his own consultancy, Alan was Head of Historic Buildings and Design at Essex County Council, where he co-authored the 1997 Essex Design Guide. From 2000 to 2003 he was principal director at Melville Dunbar Associates.

Louise Thomas  Elected Member

Louise Thomas is the Director of urban design consultancy Thomas Design Regeneration & Consultation Ltd, established in 2004, and has held senior roles in major planning and urban design companies in the UK. She is the co-editor of the Urban Design Group’s quarterly journal Urban Design, and a Trustee of the Francis Tibbalds Trust and Oxford Civic Society.

Louise is also Director of the Historic Towns and Villages Forum, based at Kellogg College at the University of Oxford. She teaches post-graduate urban design and urban planning Master’s programmes at the University of Westminster, London. Her passions lie in urban design, development processes and the public’s involvement in shaping places.

 Co-opted Members

Scott Elliott Adams  Co-opted Member
Scott is a passionate urbanist who excels in developing and promoting public realm-led design on a variety of scales, and bringing key stakeholders to the table to gain consensus and help progress projects. He has contributed to award-winning regeneration and urban design projects in the UK, Australia, the USA and beyond.
Patricia Aelbrecht  Co-opted Member

Patricia Aelbrecht is a lecturer in Urban Design at the School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University.

She holds a PhD in Urban Studies and an MSc in International Planning from University College London, and a MArch in Architecture from the Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal. She has a decade of practice and academic experience in the design of the public realm. 

She is co-founder and co-director of the Public Space Observatory (PSO) at Cardiff University, a knowledge exchange platform between academia, practice and policy dedicated to public space provision, design and management.  

Laura Alvarez  Regional Convenor

Laura Alvarez is a Senior Principal Urban Design and Conservation Officer at Nottingham City Council, where she is developing the Design Quality Framework for the City. She has an active role in co-running the Urban Room.

Her 25 years of work in practice include consultancy for the award winning Trent Basin scheme in Nottingham. She also assisted local and regional authorities reviewing the design of residential developments, recently supporting Redrow Homes in the development of their Placemaking Guide.

Laura is also a qualified Community Organiser and has worked closely with local groups and residents designing innovative ways of bottom up engagement and co-design. She co-runs alkiki, a CIC dedicated to help communities and authorities in need of built environment resources and skills.

Meenakshi Bhagat  Co-opted Member

Meenakshi Bhagat is an Urban Designer and Senior Architectural Designer at Populous Design, New Delhi. With a background in architecture, she gained her Master’s in urban design from Oxford Brookes University in 2012.

She is passionate about stadium design and master planning projects and has worked on major projects in both India and the UK, most recently Motera Cricket stadium, the world’s largest cricket venue.

She has also worked as an independent design consultant to government organisations in India on numerous public realm and stadium design projects including the Commonwealth Games 2010, Hockey World Cups and Lusophony Games 2012.

Jas Bhalla  Co-opted Member

Jas is a qualified Architect, Town Planner and Urban Designer with over 13 years of experience in masterplanning, strategic urbanism, and architectural design at all scales. In 2020 he was recognised as one of the Architect Journal’s “40 under 40”.

Jas Bhalla Architects have a growing reputation for affordable housing design and policy, having won the William Sutton Prize in 2019 and the Housing for a Better World competition established by Brick by Brick and the Stephan Lawrence Trust in 2020.

He is a member of design review panels for Essex, Hounslow and Redbridge. Prior to establishing the practice Jas held positions at Kohn Pederson Fox, Adjaye Associates, and Allies and Morrison. Uniquely, Jas studied at the Bartlett School of Planning before completing his architectural education at Yale University as the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.
Andrew Dakin  Co-opted Member

Andrew has been a member of the Urban Design Group since 1996. He has been on the Executive Committee since 2010, acting as a co-opted corresponding member for Wales since 2012. 

An urban regeneration practitioner and previously a property developer with 37 years experience in the public, private and voluntary sectors and within academia. Roles include the posts of Project Director for regeneration initiatives in the Cynon Valley and in Barry, and from 2006 to 2010 as the Director of Regeneration at the Newport Urban Regeneration Company. Andrew has held a teaching position at the Cardiff University School of City and Regional Planning since 2005, he has been a Board Member of the Welsh Valleys based Cynon Taff Community Housing Association since 1993 and in June 2012 he was appointed to the Board of Management for the new Canal and River Trust for Wales.

Andrew recently retired as Deputy Chief Executive of the Centre for Regeneration Excellence in Wales (CREW).

Peter Frankum  Regional Convenor

Peter chairs the southern branch of the UDG, is an academician of The Academy of Urbanism and member of several design panels. He speaks nationally at conferences and events, with a focus on delivering quality development and regeneration.

Peter is director and national head of Savills Urban Design. His CV includes work in both the public and private sector, specialising in regeneration, master planning, urban design and public consultation.

Valentina Giordana  Co-opted Member
Martina Juvara  Co-opted Member

Martina is a strategic urbanist and master planner with over 25 years’ experience working in strategic urban planning and placemaking governments, cities and communities, in England, South East Europe and the Middle East, preparing programmes of change through spatial planning, improved governance and place-making projects that can have transformational impact.

She is fiercely passionate about cities and what they have to offer to humanity. We are at a time of dramatic societal and environmental change and cities can be part of the answer towards a better future. Making appropriate use of expert thinking and listening to local people are the best ways by which ambitious opportunities can be realised on the ground.

Yann Leclercq  Co-opted Member

Yann's expertise is in leading the delivery of large scale masterplans both in the UK and internationally – development frameworks, strategic plans, SPDs, design codes, regeneration frameworks, masterplans, etc. His experience encompasses work in the UK, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Angola, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, France, the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

He has a particular interest in overseeing and implementing urban resilience, with developed expertise on flooding, and promoting walking and cycling. 

Yann is the Vice-chair of the Charlton Neighbourhood Planning Forum in South-East London and is a member of the South-West Design Review Panel.

Daniela Lucchese  Co-opted Member

Daniela is an urban designer and masterplanner experienced in developing transportation, regeneration and development in the UK and internationally. In January 2017 she joined the Placemaking team at Croydon Council where she is responsible for designing the Dingwall Loop public realm scheme around the new tram extension from East Croydon.

Daniela working alongside the Development Management team to provide design advice and negotiating design improvements for strategic developments in various stages of the planning application process. She is also involved with a number of public realm, culture and meanwhile projects within Croydon’s Opportunity Area as part of Croydon’s Growth Zone public realm programme.

Graeme Moor  Co-opted Member
Colin Munsie  Co-opted Member

Colin is an urban designer and architect with over 30 years experience on projects for government, major landowners and property developers, in the UK, Europe and Australia.  He was a foundingpartner Architekton architecture in Perth, a leading Perth practice in education, elderly persons accommodation and a later partner of Noel Isherwood Associates in London. He is currently a senior consultant for Kensuriyachat + Partners, Bangkok.

He has provided design and consultancy advice to government bodies and institutions including the Welsh Development Agency; Centre for Regeneration Excellence in Wales; Newport Unlimited; RIBA Awards; Cardiff University and the Government of Western Australia. 

Brian Quinn  Co-opted Member

Brian is an experienced urban design communicator and policy expert with specific interest and senior level experience in housing, urban design, highways, streets, public space and crime prevention approaches.

He is experienced in managing and disseminating research projects which have changed industry practice, writing publications and articles on design, running workshops with a wide range of professional and community audiences and delivering training events to bring together design and non-design audiences.

Brian is particulary interested in how to embed design quality in decision making criterion such that better places come about one decision at a time. He uses conference platforms,training events and the media to speak on design tools and mechanism, public policy issues and design practice in relation to housing, urban design and built environment design professionals.

Hannah Smart  Co-opted Member

Hannah was winner of the Oxford Property Festival Young Person of the Year for 2018 and recently featured in the BBC 2 documentary “The Newbuilds are Coming”.

Hannah believes in creating narrative at every stage and engaging a design process that is interdisciplinary, follows a landscape-led approach and achieves imaginative placemaking. During her career, Hannah has been involved in, and led, the design of many projects including Masterplans and Visions for NW Bicester Eco Town, Oak Old Common, Earls Court, Royal Albert Docks, Mount Pleasant and Wood Wharf. 

Hannah loves teaching and inspiring others and frequently teaches Urban Design, Landscape and Architecture at The University of Sheffield.

Graham Smith  Co-opted Member

Formerly Principal/Senior Lecturer in Architecture, Oxford Brookes University and Joint Centre for Urban Design. Graham has a career long experience in teaching, writing and contributing to urban design, architecture and fine art.

Graham is interested in the user-experience of architecture, the layout and design of movement in public space, the experience of people within it and the levels of risk they are exposed to. Seeing the highway more as a 'seam' than a barrier, a place connecting people and activities and therefore challenging the orthodoxy which continues to see the highways as predominantly for motorised vehicular movement.

Alan Thompson  Co-opted Member

Alan is a RIBA and RIAS registered architect and client advisor who has 25 years’ experience in Architecture and Urban Design and is Principal of AP Thompson Built Environment Consultancy.

Alan acquired expert design advisory skills while serving as a Senior Government Advisor at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and as Head of Design Review at the UK Design Council. 

Jacob Willson  Co-opted Member

Jacob is Head of Design at Be First, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham’s development and planning company and has overall responsibility for design quality across town planning, development and construction. He leads on several research areas including the use of modern methods of construction and sustainable design.

Jacob is passionate about the role public sector design teams can play in supporting the vitality of the neighbourhoods they work in and the delivery of high quality housing. Jacob is on the Tower Hamlets Design Review Panel, Urban Design Executive Committee and a Churchill Fellow researching innovative housing models.

Executive Committee 2019 / 2020