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Cities must serve their citizens fully and vice versa

About this event

The IPCC 1.5º Report (2018) already highlighted the need to build and live differently in cities if we are to overcome vulnerability to climate change for place and people, especially in areas of social deprivation and inequality.

Now we also have the impacts of Covid-19, and the period of national lockdown exposed several weaknesses in our cities and urban environments – social inequalities, the number of people without any private open space, even a balcony, or able to access any green space within a 15-minute walk; the inadequacy of much housing especially for home working and lockdown living; the challenges of certain building types such as tall buildings with lifts or poorly maintained air handling systems… but lockdown also exposed positive benefits outside our homes when things were done differently – cities were quiet, air quality was improved, space used by cars given back to people with more space and greater safety for walking and cycling; public transport less crowded for key workers who had to use it.

Of course many of our traditional forms of city entertainment – shopping, eating out, theatres, cinemas, art galleries etc. – were also closed with the consequent impacts on employment and the economy. Industries may not be restored to full strength going forward. Is this the moment to grasp some nettles and really do things differently?

The government seeks to ‘level up’. Is this a starting point to rebalance the situation away from London? Should we plan in terms of the city where the services and places supporting quality of life are available within a 15-minute walk from home? Is it time to review density and to focus more on what people need from their physical surroundings?

This session will consider the economic, social and physical conditions to enable cities to serve their citizens fully.

How should ‘cities’ respond to our 3 questions on i) what are we learning from our time of lockdown and beyond to change both as individuals and professionals? ii) What do we keep and what do we change in the industry? iii) If we embrace change, what is our vision for the future? If we don’t, what are the risks?

Hear the following talks from our speakers:

Chair: Erin Walsh

  • How can we create social equality in our cities? – Jenny Pickerill
  • Creating the conditions in which cities and their citizens can thrive – Dan Epstein
  • Design for circularity – towards a green recovery – Sophie Thomas

This will be followed by a live Q&A session, where you can pose your questions to our experts.

In partnership with:

Webinar chair:

Erin Walsh – Director of Built Environment, Connected Places Catapult

Hosted by

  • Guest speaker
    Sophie Thomas Founder @ Thomas.Matthews and The Great Recovery Project

    Sophie is an unusual mix of campaigner, practicing designer and chartered waste manager. She has been working in the fields of sustainable design, behaviour change and material process for over 20 years; through her design agency, Thomas.Matthews Ltd; and through a number of campaigning posts.

  • Guest speaker
    Jenny Pickerill Professor of Environmental Geography and Head of Department of Geography @ University of Sheffield

    Jenny’s research focuses on inspiring grassroots solutions to environmental problems and in hopeful and positive ways in which we can change social practices. She has published 3 books and over 30 articles on themes around eco-housing, eco-communities, social justice and environmentalism.

  • Guest speaker
    Dr Kerry Mashford Director @ Interfacing Ltd

    Dr Kerry Mashford is a systems engineer with an impressive portfolio of roles including a Non-Exec Director of the Ecology Building Society, a Private Sector Board Member and Energy Strategy Lead in the South East Midlands LEP and a member of the Edge.

  • Guest speaker
    Dan Epstein Founder @ Useful Simple Trust

    Before founding Useful Projects, Dan was the Head of Sustainable Development and Regeneration for the London 2012 London Olympic Delivery Authority. A recognized thought leader he specialises in urban development, city planning, major construction projects from design through to implementation.

  • Guest speaker
    Erin Walsh Director of Built Environment @ Connected Places Catapult

    Erin has led on innovation projects such as the Belfast Region City Deal; the National Smart City Innovation Hub India with Pune Municipal Corporation; and is currently leading programmes of work across planning and housing innovation, and net zero place-making.