20 April 2022

Designing liveable cities — panellists announced for Futures webinar

Join Benoy and our sister landscape architecture business Uncommon Land for a wide-ranging discussion on the future of the city.

Date: Thursday 28th April

Time: 0845 – 0945GMT

Location: online webinar (sign up here).

We’ve invited a select group of leading thinkers and entrepreneurs working in the built environment to debate what makes for a liveable city. As part of the discussion, we’ll be inviting their thoughts and insights on a range of issues including:

• Is the 15 minute city a viable proposition?

• Who will live in cities going forward – are we seeing a mass exodus post-Covid?

• What makes a city liveable – how can we design cities better for future generations? How do we make cites more inclusive?

• Repurposing and reimagining — how do we improve on what’s already there?

• How do we make cities smarter?

Confirmed speakers include 

Arthur Adeya

Arthur is currently a Lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. He is also part of the Kounkuey Design Initiative, a non-profit design and community development organization which partners with under-resourced communities to advance equity and activate the unrealized potential in neighborhoods and cities.

Arthur has been a Principal Partner at Lexicon + ion, in Nairobi Kenya in charge of Master Planning, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design working with external teams to ensure projects are launched on firm planning principals, uphold environmental sustainability and are situated in well-designed landscapes. He previously worked in the USA with The HOK Planning Group in Washington DC and EDSA Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he was involved in several large master planning and urban design projects in Tunisia, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Dr Weston Baxter

Weston Baxter is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Dyson School of Design Engineering where he directs the Interaction Foundry, an interdisciplinary research group working at the intersection of behavioural science and design. The group has live projects on four continents and works with the public, private and third sector to create digital and physical product, service and experience interventions.

Much of Weston’s work focuses on placemaking, human connection, integrating human behaviour with technology and other related topics around community building and smart cities. 

Jim Coleman – Director, Head of Economics, WSP

Jim Coleman is a Director and Head of Economics at global advisory and engineering firm WSP. An expert in urban economics with almost 30 years’ experience, Jim is highly skilled at envisioning economic futures for cities and regions based on specialised sectors and industry strengths, low carbon innovation and urban technology. Jim provides expert economic advice to public bodies internationally including national governments, urban development companies, municipal authorities and international development agencies, including the World Bank and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). His focus is on the economic resilience of cities, low carbon transitions, urban competitiveness, industrial transformation, urban revitalization and labour markets. He is a specialist in the economics and planning of special economic zones (SEZs), innovation districts and large-scale economic infrastructure projects such as ports, airports, renewable energy systems and multi-modal transport.

Alex Cousins — Director of Local and Devolved Government at Connected Places Catapult

Alex has spent 30 years working in and for the public sector. Her work has focussed on placemaking and transforming public services and places; including smart city and e‑government projects. She has previously held roles at Liverpool City Council, Hammersmith & Fulham Local Authority, HP, BT, Steria and Capita. She is currently Director of Local Government and Devolved at Connected Places Catapult, supporting places to innovate and deliver growth and social impact.

Bob Tong – Head of Planning, WSP

A chartered civil engineer by background, Bob Tong’s career has spanned consultancy, property development and construction.

Bob has been heavily involved in the planning, design and delivery of a range of high profile projects in the UK and overseas.

Based primarily in London but with a UK-wide role, Bob’s role at WSP sees him planning and designing projects that deliver sustainable and inclusive growth for communities across the country.

David Twohig

David Twohig is the co-founder of MurrayTwohig. For a decade, David worked on the largest planning application ever secured in London – at the iconic Battersea Power Station. Working as both the Chief Development Officer and Head of Design and Placemaking, David was instrumental in developing the masterplan, land use strategy, architecture and placemaking strategy at the Power Station – running all aspects of design and placemaking on one of the biggest and fastest selling residential projects in UK history and new home of Apple Inc.

As well as being a published author, David helped establish and IPO for the largest western owned development company in China and has worked across Ireland, the EU and North America throughout his development career. His passion is working with developers to realise the social and economic value in having a vision, values and a considered approach to development.

Anton Comrie (Benoy)

Anton has extensive experience as an urban designer covering the Middle East, Africa and Asia, delivering large masterplans to small urban squares. Notable projects include The Freedom Park in South Africa, Botswana Innovation Hub as well as Mon Tresor Smart City in Mauritius. 

Simon Bee (Benoy)

With over 30 years of experience as an Architect, Urban Designer and Masterplanner, Simon is one of Benoy’s most senior and best travelled creatives. He has worked in most of Benoy’s studios across the world and influenced many of Benoy’s most iconic projects, including the innovative Yas Island Masterplan in Abu Dhabi, The Beach in Dubai and the MediaCity UK development in Manchester, UK.

Simon Grimbley (Uncommon Land)

Simon is an award winning landscape architect with diverse experience gained during 21 years working within some of the UK’s leading design practices. He has particular experience of high-value, complex projects for private and public sector clients in UK, Asia, India, Russia, Middle East and South America. Between 2000 – 2010, while at EDAW/AECOM and LDA Design, Simon played a key role in a number of nationally significant UK regeneration projects, including: Blackpool Vision, Piccadilly Gardens, Pier Head, Rochester Riverside, Sheaf Square, Millbay Docks as well as the design of the multi-award winning London 2012 Olympic Park, and continued development of the post-Games Legacy Development Framework. Following this he was involved in renowned international projects; North West Cambridge Masterplan Msheireb Downtown & Education City in Doha.

Sign up for the webinar here. 

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Panellists v9
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