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Nouf AlFalasi

Innovation and Creativity Department Manager

Department of Economic Development

Dubai, UAE
Class of 2017/18

Nouf works for the Department of Economic Development in Dubai as the Innovation and Creativity Department Manager. She is responsible for transforming the organization from a regulatory and service provider to an innovative agency able to shape the future using futuristic analysis and strategic foresight. As such, she manages key projects under the Dubai Future Accelerator initiative to turn ideas into unique innovations that will contribute to society. She also speaks at local and international conferences about innovation, employees’ happiness and productivity focusing on ways to improve work environment, culture and capabilities.

Nouf has previously worked for a number of government entities, including a role in the Prime Minister’s Office analysing competitiveness and innovation reports. She is also an active board member in committees and think-tank groups. She is a graduate from Kingston University in London with a Master’s Degree in business administration and a Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy.

Sisto Andama


Sub Sahara Solutions LLC

Washington DC, USA
Class of 2017/18

Sisto is the Chief Executive Officer of Sub Sahara Solutions LLC, a provider of professional technical and Management Support Services. Sisto is a multifaceted individual, with specialities including mining and mineral exploration, renewable energy technologies, civil engineering, green design and built industry, construction project management, energy and minerals policy, energy efficiency, security management and administration, and African government relations. Currently pursuing an Executive MSc in Cities at LSE, Sisto has a BSc in Construction Management and a BSc in Building and Civil Engineering Construction. Sisto is also an LEED Green Associate and a building analyst professional. He is a member of several professional bodies including the Construction Management Association of America, the Project Management Institute, the United States Green Building Council, the Building Performance Institute, the OSHE, the National Fire Protection Association, the Association of Professional Estimators of America, the Sierra Leone Institute of Professional Engineers, and the Value Engineering Association

Christine Armitage

Social Advisor to the Mayor of Cali

City of Cali

Cali, Colombia
Class of 2017/18

Christine is the social development and social innovation advisor to the Mayor of Cali, Colombia. During the last two years she has been leading the city’s placebased, social inclusion strategy. The strategy aims to fight poverty, exclusion and violence in the eleven most vulnerable communes of the city by focusing, articulating and coordinating the social investments of all branches of the local government. Its main goals are to reduce poverty, contribute to peace building, renew a sense of solidarity and responsibility (both among and within communities), design and implement social ties and build civil society´s capacity to synchronize efforts and articulate social investment. Before joining the public sector, Christine was the force behind the work carried out by Fundación Sidoc in Siloe, one of Cali´s most underprivileged districts. As a result of her efforts, high-risk youth were brought into productive projects and cultural activities with the aim of strengthening community and individual identity. Christine has a degree from London School of Economics and holds an NGO Management certificate from Georgetown University

Ian Armstrong



Sydney, Australia
Class of 2017/18

Ian is a director at DesignInc Sydney and has qualifications in Town Planning, Architecture and Urban Design. He has over twenty years international experience specialising in the design of large scale master plans with projects in Australia, the UK, China and the Middle East. In Australia, Ian is experienced in all aspects of urban planning and architecture, including the delivery of large scale mixed use communities and transport orientated development. Aside from his professional work, Ian has also been involved with teaching on the University of Sydney’s Masters of Urban Design Course and has been a final year design judge in the architecture faculties at UTS and UNSW.

Yerlan Aukenov

Vice Mayor

City of Almaty

Almaty, Kazakhstan
Class of 2017/18

Yerlan is the Deputy Mayor of Almaty city. In this position, he is responsible for the coordination of the energy complex, public utilities, industry, business, trade, small business, agriculture, and sanitary-epidemiological well-being of the city. He is also responsible for implementation of the state program on industrial-innovative development for 2015-2019 years and attraction of investment to Almaty city. Most recently, he served as the Deputy Mayor of Kazakhstan Province from 2014 to 2015, where he was responsible for the coordination of industry, business, trade, entrepreneurship, tourism, natural resources, innovations and investments. Prior to that, he was a State Inspector of the Department of State Control and Organization of Territorials Operation at the Administration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan from 2011 to 2014. In this role he was in charge of external relations, protocol, information communications and interaction with the Regional Election Commission. Yerlan holds an MSc in Public Policy and Programme Management from the University of Bradford, UK and an MBA in Corporate Management from the International Academy Of Business.

Ben Boateng

Senior Town Planning Officer

Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly

Kumasi, Ghana
Class of 2017/18

Ben is the Deputy Metropolitan Director of Town and Country Planning Department of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly in Ghana. He has worked with the Metropolitan Authority for the past thirteen years as a Town Planner and is currently leading a team to redevelop the city centre of Kumasi where he hails from. He has also started his own company, Dreams and Schemes Ltd., focusing on providing consultancy services in the areas of planning, architecture, surveying and real estate development. Ben holds academic qualifications in planning (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology), MBA Strategic & Project Management (Paris Graduate School of Management), and is a member of the Ghana Institute of Planners

Barry Cassidy


Barry Cassidy Planning and Development

Downingtown, USA
Class of 2017/18

Barry is currently working in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with projects in transit oriented development, FEMA Flood Map revisions, low-income refugee housing and architecturally sensitive infill projects. He has worked in commercial district marketing and development for over 40 years. In some of the urban districts he has had a combined responsibility, including housing. Most of the areas where he has worked have classic urban problems, such as disinvestment, social problems and physical issues. Barry has worked in rural areas, as well as in the cities of Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, and Memphis Tennessee in a variety of positions. In Philadelphia he has managed the South Street Headhouse District, the city’s main entertainment district, as well as Kensington Avenue (‘The Avenue’) which presented all of the worst social ills the city had to offer. Early in his career, he was a union organizer in the Deep South, organizing predominantly minority industrial workers in the furniture industry. Subsequently, he became an expert grant writer and has secured millions of dollars for clients in the areas of adaptive reuse, transportation, the arts and brownfield redevelopment. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has awarded him Laureate status as an ‘Agent of Change’.

Pauline Chan

Urban Designer

City of Sydney

Sydney, Australia
Class of 2017/18

Pauline is an urban designer with experience in master-planning, urban design, architecture, and community and stakeholder engagement in the private and public sectors. She is currently employed by the City of Sydney Council, working across council and state agencies to achieve good urban design outcomes for the city. Her role includes the development of public domain plans and public domain design codes, and co-ordination of the City of Sydney’s Design Advisory Panel. She manages multidisciplinary teams, consulting and engaging with key stakeholders to plan for the future and deliver improvements for city precincts, notably for Sydney’s Chinatown precinct, which won the 2012 Australian Institute of Landscape Architect’s National Award for Urban Design. The latter led to the revitalisation of neglected laneways to include new public artworks, lighting projects and the rationalisation of a complicated traffic intersection to create a new well-loved public space for Chinatown. Pauline is also involved in the application of research and data to affect positive change in cities. Since 2007, she has worked collaboratively with eminent urban experts Gehl Architects to develop Sydney’s Public Spaces Public Life Study and George Street Benchmarking Study, which has helped shape strategic directions for public spaces and streets across the city.

Hastings Chikoko

Regional Head of Africa


Johannesburg, South Africa
Class of 2016/17

Hastings Chikoko is the Regional Director for Africa at C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. In this role, he is responsible for the implementation of the C40 business plan in Africa, supporting C40 member cities in Africa in their climate action planning, measurement and implementation, and helping to forge inter-city as well as regional collaboration. He serves on the Advisory Board of the African Centre for Cities (University of Cape Town). His work with local authorities started at the City of Blantyre and later at the Ministry of Local Government in Malawi. Prior to joining C40, Hastings had a long career with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Zimbabwe, Kenya and the global headquarters in Switzerland. He was also the Interim Regional Director for East and Southern Africa and Head of IUCN in South Africa. Hastings has been one of the International Development Research Centre’s (IDRC’s) African Mentors for policy think-tank groups in Africa and a member of the Regional Technical Committee for the Global Water Partnership (Southern Africa). He holds academic qualifications in Economics (University of Malawi), Environmental Diplomacy (University of Geneva – Switzerland) and Strategic Management (University of Derby – UK).

Ciarán Cuffe

City Councillor

Dublin City Council

Dublin, Ireland
Class of 2017/18

Ciarán is a city councillor in Dublin’s North Inner City, and chairs Dublin City Council’s Transport Committee. He has served as a member of parliament, and as Minister of State with responsibility for climate change, planning and sustainable transport. In government, he reformed the Irish planning system to focus on evidence led decision-making and published legislation to tackle climate change. He chairs a Master’s Programme in Urban Regeneration and Development at the Dublin Institute of Technology, and is a visiting lecturer at the Gengdan Institute of Beijing University of Technology, China. He holds degrees in architecture and urban planning from University College Dublin

Andrew Davies

Executive Director

Number 9

Toronto, Canada
Class of 2016/17

Andrew Davies is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the charitable arts organisation No.9: Contemporary Art & the Environment located in Toronto, Canada since 2007. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queen’s University and Master’s in Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles. For five years Andrew was employed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. While at MoMA, he designed and administered over thirty international museum exhibitions. He returned to Canada in 2002, and founded Andrew Davies Design, which was responsible for the preliminary Interpretative Design Strategy for Evergreen at the Brickworks in Toronto, with the mandate to transform an industrial heritage site into an international showcase for urban sustainability and green design. Andrew Davies Design has provided art consultation services for numerous major public art projects in Toronto, including the NXT Gardiner Expressway Gateway Project, the Mississauga Master Public Art Plan and the Pan Am Aquatic Centre. Davies taught at Eyebeam Atelier in New York and at George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. He has spoken at lectures, reviews and symposiums around the world, including MIT Media Lab, Columbia University and MoMA. He served on the Educational Advisory Committee at the Art Gallery of Ontario and currently sits on the Environmental Advisory Committee for the Toronto District School Board. He resides in Toronto with his wife, Elizabeth and their two children, Hanna and Rupert.

Francis De Wolf


BRUT Architecture & Urban Design

Copenhagen, Denmark
Class of 2016/17

Francis De Wolf is an architect certified by the Order of Architects in Belgium. In 2005 he started working as a Project Leader in the City Planning Department of the City of Antwerp. His main responsibilities were the coordination of a redevelopment project in the largest high-rise social housing neighbourhood of Belgium and a European knowledge exchange program about the urban regeneration of social high-rise estates. He completed a degree in urban planning in 2006 and since became a tutor at the Urban Planning Department of the University of Antwerp. In 2008 Francis founded ‘Brut Architecture and Urban Design’, a company working on both architectural and urban planning scales. Here, he has been responsible for the coordination of urban planning projects varying in scale from site planning for complex urban development projects, redevelopment plans for city centres, neighbourhoods and old industrial zones, to large scale studies for urbanised regions. Francis currently lives in Copenhagen, where he is collaborating with renowned Danish architects and planners on large scale projects in Belgium and looking into possible projects in Scandinavia

Mahmoud El-Burai


Dubai Real Estate Institute

Dubai, UAE
Class of 2017/18

Mahmoud is currently serving as the CEO of Dubai Real Estate Institute. He is also the Vice President of International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI, UK) and sits on the board of the International Real Estate Society (IRES). Mahmoud has been selected to be FIABCI representative at the United Nations Economic Commission for West Asia (UNESCWA), and also represents the UN Global Compact in the MENA region and the Lead Affordability Working Group at the World Economic Forum.

Prior to his position at the Dubai Real estate Institute, Mahmoud worked for three years as Senior Director of the Real Estate Sector Development at the Real Estate Regulatory Authority of Dubai and spent several years as a Development Associate Manager at Dubai Holding. Mahmoud completed his bachelor’s degree in engineering at the American University before continuing on to earn his Master’s in Real Estate from the National University of Singapore. Mahmoud completed his MBA in Finance from his alma mater, American University of Dubai in 2010. He is now pursuing his DBA at Grenoble École de Management in France.

Tommaso Franzolini

Project Leader

Scott Brownrigg Ltd

London, United Kingdom
Class of 2016/17

Tommaso Franzolini (AA Dipl – RIBA) is a practicing architect and researcher focusing on the impact of emerging technologies on infrastructure, urbanism and architecture. Tommaso is currently an associate with the Advanced Technologies team at Scott Brownrigg Architects in London. The team focuses on the strategic planning and architectural design of complex technology-led projects, including the masterplan and vision of NuGen’s Moorside Project: a £15bn nuclear new build development in Cumbria (UK). Previously he worked at Foreign Office Architects in London for a wide range of UK based commissions and international competitions, most notably as the project architect for the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street Station with responsibilities of managing a multi-disciplinary design team, liaising with local authorities, and preparing planning and tender documents. In parallel, Tommaso maintains an active involvement with global research institutions such as the Architectural Association and NTU in the UK, the Weimar Bauhaus in Germany and the Polytechnic of Milan in Italy. He is the founder and director of Factory Futures: a think tank at the Architectural Association founded in partnership with the Adriano Olivetti Foundation and Gehry Technologies Europe. Factory Futures focuses on the European industrial heritage as a cultural matrix for a new productive landscape, including the development of innovative architectural strategies through computational design and manufacturing techniques.

Anette Galskjøt



Copenhagen, Denmark
Class of 2016/17

Anette Galskjøt, CEO at the International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP), has a long career including investment banking, IT and public service. She has a law degree from Copenhagen University and an LLM from King’s College, London. Since June 2015 Anette has led the 103-year old member and partner based federation IFHP. IFHP originated from the Garden City movement and works to make cities better for people and housing for all through innovative urban labs and with its worldwide network of urban experts.

Mai-Ling Garcia

Online Engagement Manager

City of Oakland

Oakland, USA
Class of 2017/18

Mai-Ling has worked over the past decade to untangle complex government processes and support community innovation. She is currently the City of Oakland’s Online Engagement Manager where she works to transform government processes and experience for Oaklanders. She is a co-founder of Oakland’s Civic Design Lab, a collaboration space for government staff and the Oakland community. Mai-Ling began her career working at Swords to Plowshares, a forty-year-old San Francisco-based service organization. As the agency’s first policy analyst, she worked in the heart of San Francisco to identify and communicate the struggles of at-risk and chronically homeless military veterans. She has presented to the California State Senate, the U.S. Veterans Administration and other key decision makers on enhancing government processes. Later she joined the US Department of Labor to manage grants to hundreds of non-profit employment programs that included over one hundred community partners in eight western US States and Guam. In 2012, she was named an Executive Management Fellow by the Federal Executive Board of San Francisco and New Leaders Council Fellow. In 2017, she was named one of America’s top 100 local government officials by Emerging Local Government Leaders, a professional association for city government.

Marc Glaudemans

Professor of Regional and Urban Strategies

Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts

Eindhoven, Netherlands
Class of 2016/17

Marc Glaudemans is professor of urban strategies at Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts (FHK) in Tilburg. He is also the director of two MSc programmes in architecture and urbanism at Fontys. In 2006 Marc founded the Stadslab European Urban Design Laboratory, a postgraduate international programme. Stadslab has developed into an international think tank and urban design laboratory, with a track record of programs in Europe (Portugal, Netherlands, Serbia, Poland, Hungary, Georgia, Ukraine) and Asia (Japan, Vietnam). Marc graduated in Architecture and Urbanism and holds a PhD in Architectural Theory and History. In 2014-2015 he was visiting professor at the Institute for Design and Urbanism at ITMO University in St Petersburg. Marc’s professional career is driven by understanding cities and their ongoing transformations, combining the reflexive potential of an academic standpoint with the hands-on mentality of professional practice. As a working method, this comes alive in the Stadslab European Urban Design Laboratory, which combines design skills and a design thinking approach to complex, real-world urban challenges.

Richard Greco



Miami, USA
Class of 2016/17

Richard Greco is an optimistic technologist and a futurist. He is fascinated with the IOT, M2M, Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, and how new technological developments in these areas will change our lives, disrupt existing business models, create new business opportunities and enable the creation of smart cities. He spent over 20 years in “corporate America” with companies like ITT, General Dynamics, Nortel, Bell Atlantic, Loral Orion and ICO Global Communications. In the mid-nineties, he helped to establish Orion Network Systems as the “Internet Satellite Company.” Orion was a pioneer in the delivery of the internet via satellite connecting over 70 countries back to the US. While he was Orion’s President, the company raised over $700M in debt for constellation expansion, secured a NASDAQ listing for Orion and sold the company to Loral. Richard was subsequently recruited as CEO for London based, NASDAQ listed, ICO Global Communications which he restructured and sold out of Chapter 11 to a group of international investors for over $1 Billion. He become an entrepreneur in 2000, founding, growing and later selling Bulldog Broadband, the UK’s second largest DSL broadband company. In 2005, he created Treasure Investments, which invests in real estate and tech and telecom companies. He presently serves as Chairman for one of those companies called Edifice. When not travelling, Richard lives in Key Largo, Florida with his wife of nearly 25 years. They have three adult children and two grandsons.

Rana Hajjar

Senior Project Manager


Beirut, Lebanon
Class of 2017/18

Rana is a Project Manager who has been managing and delivering construction and development projects for the past twelve years across various cities in the Middle East region; mainly in Beirut, Dubai, and Doha. Her experience to date has been predominantly with the multinational consultancy firm AECOM (and previously Davis Langdon), and her most recent tenure was at their Qatar office working on projects for clients in leading oil and gas companies. Rana has recently decided to relocate back to her homeland Lebanon and will be focusing on pursuing an Executive Masters in Cities at LSE while potentially exploring new career opportunities. In her own time, Rana has worked extensively in the non-profit sustainability field. In the past few years she has been an active member of the interest groups created by the Qatar Green Building Council, where she worked with local universities on raising the new generation’s awareness about the environmental aspect of sustainability in new buildings and development projects. Rana holds academic qualifications in Civil Engineering (American University of Beirut, Lebanon), Project Management (American University of Beirut, Lebanon), and Sustainable Development (SOAS, London).

Tsugumi Harada

Policy Maker

Cabinet Office, Government of Japan

Tokyo, Japan
Class of 2016/17

Tsugumi Harada is a policy maker for the Socio-economic Unit of Japan’s Cabinet Office, developing policy framework for promoting social entrepreneurship and business growth. Connecting seeds of innovative ideas with financial means, she is part of the mission to catalyse public involvement in bringing social impact and tackling inequalities. With degrees in architecture and civil engineering from Waseda University, Tsugumi has over 14 years of experience in Tokyo and in London as a technology professional for the top-tier financial sector. Designing operational resiliency into banking platforms, delivering projects of both local and global scales, she was a solutions architect, specialising in European markets and regulatory initiatives.

During the last three years of Tsugumi’s tenure she was the EMEA head of technology risk and incident management team for Morgan Stanley’s Fixed Income franchise. In 2014, her passion in education and youth outreach has led to completion of a certificate course in Coaching at University of Cambridge ICE. Since then, she is actively involved in mentoring young people through charities of her choice including the Queen’s Young Leaders Program.

Kathi Holt

Executive Director

Nerø Holt

Brisbane, Australia
Class of 2016/17

As an Architect and Urban Designer trained in South Africa and Australia, Kathi Holt has committed much of her professional life across four continents to education, research and engagement. Teaching architecture for the last twenty-six years at many leading Australian Universities she has become increasingly drawn towards Urban Design; heading up the UD Discipline at Queensland University of Technology for the last eight years.

Kathi has used the University as a laboratory; the students as scientists; and the city and its many players as the site of operations to interrogate urban problems. She harnessed these challenges to drive the pedagogy and frameworks for teaching. Kathi now has her own research and design practice – Nerø Holt – consulting to government agencies, community groups and not-for-profit entities to create innovative solutions for urban challenges.

Anupma Jain

Senior Urban Development Specialist


Manila, Philippines
Class of 2017/18

Anupma is the Senior Urban Development Specialist in the Pacific Department of the Asian Development Bank in Manila, Philippines, where she has worked for the past thirteen years leading design and administration teams that deliver inclusive and resilient urban and water projects. Anupma has extensive experience in health and social development and strives to ensure projects are equitable, inclusive, and demand-driven. She has also conducted due diligence on more than fifty urban infrastructure projects, where she provided support on resettlement and indigenous peoples issues. To date, Anupma has nearly twenty years’ experience in international development and has worked across different sectors and regions, including the Greater Mekong Sub-region, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and East Asia. Previously, she was the Practice Lead and Senior Director for Gender and Social Inclusion at the Millennium Challenge Corporation in Washington, DC. Anupma holds a PhD in Social Policy and an MSc in Development Studies (Social Policy and Administration) from LSE, and a double BA in Economics and Anthropology (High Honours) from Brandeis University (Waltham, MA, USA).

James Leahy

Senior Consultant


Boston, USA
Class of 2016/17

James Leahy, PE, LEED AP® is a Senior Consultant for DNV GL. He is a professional Civil Engineer registered by the State of California and has a diverse background in engineering design, planning, and policy development. As an energy consultant, James assists clients in establishing energy performance and environmental standards to build community resilience and support greenhouse gas emissions reductions. He works with cities and utilities to develop sustainable and resilient design strategies, integrate clean distributed energy resources and increase energy efficiency. He is adept at promoting community and organisational sustainability through education, stakeholder engagement, and providing engineering and technical guidance on the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. His background in infrastructure design, community planning, and resource management lends to a fully comprehensive understanding of our built environment, our energy use, and the potential impacts of climate change on local communities. Understanding that education plays a vital role in the advancement of the sustainability of our built environment, James has volunteered time through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and has conducted workshops and coordinated various events on energy and water efficiency strategies. He is a former member of the USGBC – Upper Northeast (US) Regional Council, a former member of the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Chapter of the USGBC and a former member of the USGBC – Pacific Regional Council.

Sharon Lewis

Technical Advisor

Government Technical Advisory Centre

Pretoria, South Africa
Class of 2017/18

Sharon is a Technical Advisor at the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) in Pretoria, where she works to strengthen public institutions and practice across the whole of government. Her professional mission is to undo the spatial divisions, inequality and dysfunction that is the stubborn legacy of apartheid in South African cities. After becoming interested in the development and management of big cities as a student of Town and Regional Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand, Sharon joined the public service in South Africa. She worked on human settlement policy at the Department of Housing and as a housing, transport and built environment specialist in the public finance team at the National Treasury. Realising that city development is driven largely by the actions of local government, Sharon joined the South African Cities Network, a shared learning programme that connects the largest cities. Subsequently, she worked at the Johannesburg Development Agency, where she was responsible for planning and strategy to achieve spatial transformation through area-based development.

Simon McPherson



Melbourne, Australia
Class of 2016/17

Simon McPherson was born and raised in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. Trained as an Architect in Melbourne, he traversed into an urban design focus via early employment in the Victorian Government, then a Masters at London’s Bartlett School in 2005-06, after also spending two years living and working in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1999 and 2000. On returning from London, Simon founded a specialist Urban Design consultancy, SJB Urban, within a group of affiliated companies in architecture, planning and interiors, and built a prominent and highly regarded practice working in Melbourne and other Australian cities, with specialist capability in urban renewal, transport planning, strategic advice and design review. Simon also established major research initiatives in partnership with RMIT University in Melbourne, including the development of an award-winning prototype housing choice web app called Home:LiFE and leading research into housing careers and development dynamics. He has since departed SJB Urban to pursue new career directions, and has established Global South, an independent, researchfocused urban practice currently in early formulation, and has been enjoying diverse opportunities for collaboration, research, engagement and learning in the urban field. Simon is the Australian Institute of Architects representative on the Board for Australia’s Urban Design Protocol, and a member of Melbourne University’s Urban Design Advisory Board. He is a member of the Design Review Panels for Victoria and South Australia, and is currently working with the New South Wales Government Architect, preparing an Architecture and Urban Design Policy and Design Guides for New South Wales. Simon has relocated to London for the duration of the Executive MSc in Cities, with his partner Robyn and children Sophie, 4 and Thomas, 2, and they are enjoying an exciting year of travel, rest, work and engagement in their respective fields.

Ute Meyer


University of Applied Sciences, Biberach

Stuttgart, Germany
Class of 2017/18

Ute is Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Climate-Engineering and is Professor of Urban Design at the University of Applied Sciences Biberach, Germany. As a member of the university’s strategic board she is responsible for planning the school’s interdisciplinary programme of resilience studies and conceiving an institutional network of trans-disciplinary science. Before taking the position of Dean, she was Director of the Institute of Architecture and Urban Development at the university and initiated research projects about the potential of resilient urban development in non-metropolitan areas. Ute is one of two Principals of the urban design and consultancy practice bueroschneidermeyer in Stuttgart and Cologne, which she co-founded in 2003. The office has advised numerous municipalities in strategic planning and has conducted research for the Federal Institute for Building Research Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) and the Wüstenrot Foundation. Ute is a member of the German Academy for Urban Development and Regional Planning (DASL) and the Association of German Architects (BDA). She studied in Germany, Italy and the United States and has a Diploma in Architecture and Urban Design from Stuttgart University and an MSc in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University

Roope Mokka


Demos Helsinki

Helsinki, Finland
Class of 2017/18

Roope co-founded Demos Helsinki in 2005 a hybrid consultancy and think tank that is best known for its work on government innovation. Past projects include setting up the experimentation model for the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office and similar work with other countries and cities’ executive governance functions. As an expert of societal change and innovation, Roope has fifteen years of experience working internationally with cities, governments, corporations and NGOs as a strategic-level advisor on future technologies, markets, and societies. He specialises in helping organisations weather transformations in the world around them and his work often involves cross-sector changes that influence the daily lives of individuals. In the context of cities, Roope has experience in activism, art, strategic visions and in planning and developing neighbourhoods. He has worked with city organisations, developers, transportation providers, start-ups, festivals, property owners and operators in developing urban areas and services. He has also authored and co-authored foresight publications from Finland’s country brand (2010) to the world’s first report on mobile games (2001).

Melizza Morales



Madrid, Spain
Class of 2016/17

Melizza is an urbanist with a wealth of international experience in urban regeneration and disaster recovery projects. Until 2016 she served at government organisations in New Zealand leading the reconstruction and recovery of Christchurch city centre, after the devastating effects of the 2010- 2011 earthquakes. In her roles as Principal Urban Designer at Ōtākaro Ltd, and prior to this, as Project Design Lead at the Christchurch Central Development Unit, Melizza provided urban design advice for delivering some of the recovery plan major precincts and led the production of a longterm strategy for the reconstruction of the city’s public space network: The Christchurch Central Streets & Spaces Design Guide (2016 Best Practice, Strategic Planning and Guidance Award from the New Zealand Planning Institute). Between 2006 and 2013 Melizza held various positions with the Victorian Urban Renewal Authority in Melbourne, where she was involved in delivering two of the largest urban renewal projects undertaken in Australia, Revitalising Central Dandenong and Melbourne Docklands. Melizza began her career in urbanism at Bogotá’s Water and Sewage Company, overseeing the design and delivery of projects aimed at the ecologic and urban regeneration of waterways and wetlands, some located in Bogotá’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Melizza holds a Masters in Urban Design from Melbourne University and a Bachelor in Architecture from Los Andes University. Born in Colombia, she has also lived in Canada and Germany and will be based in Spain for the duration of the MSc in Cities programme. Melizza holds dual Colombian and Australian citizenship.

Patrick Musoke

Deputy Director of Strategy

Kampala Capital City Authority

Kampala, Uganda
Class of 2017/18

Patrick is the Deputy Director Strategy and Business Development at Kampala Capital City Authority. He began his career in Uganda Revenue Authority as a Tax Auditor in 1993 and rose to Strategy Manager in 2007. In 2011, Patrick left to join the Kampala Capital City Authority Restructuring Team and was appointed Deputy Director in Charge of Strategy Management and Business Development in 2012. Patrick Holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics and Applied Economics and a Postgraduate Diploma in Income Tax Administration. He is a chartered accountant, a certified strategic planner under the Balance Card Institute, and a certified Balanced Scorecard Professional with the Palladium Kaplan and Norton Balance Scorecard Programme.

Paul Okunlola

National Programme Officer


Abuja, Nigeria
Class of 2017/18

Paul is National Programme Officer at the UN-Habitat Programme Support Office in Abuja. He works to advance a sustainable, policy-oriented urban agenda in Nigeria by promoting inclusive planning, improved access to housing and basic services as well as slum upgrading, in line with the Habitat Agenda. In this role, he was among others, Project Coordinator for the State of Osun Structure Plans Project which involved the development and adoption of Structure Plans to guide inclusive and sustainable growth in the state’s nine largest cities over a 20-year horizon.

In his earlier media career at The Guardian Newspaper (Nigeria), Paul was responsible for developing coverage and local/global analyses of human settlements and environment issues. He has carried out advocacy on sustainable urbanization though contributions to several local and international publications, including the UN-Habitat’s State of the World’s Cities Report 2004/2005 and, the International Real Estate Federation’s THE HOMELESS: Perspectives by Sixteen International Journalists. Paul participated in the Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Fellowship Programme and has served on the National Steering Committee of the GEF/UNDP Small Grants Project (SGP) in Nigeria. He holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Architecture and obtained professional training in Environmental Journalism.

Sashwin Pillai


Africa Vision Holdings

Durban, South Africa
Class of 2016/17

Sashwin Pillai is a fourth generation decendant of the Indian Indentured Labourers who arrived on the Truro ship in Port Natal (present-day Durban) on 16th November 1860 from Madras (presentday Chennai). Sashwin was raised in Durban and derived his inspiration from struggle heroes Nelson Mandela and his grandfather Mr VSM (Mannie) Pillai. Sashwin remains a loyal supporter and member of the African National Congress and serves various corporate, non-profit, private and public sector clients. Sashwin is a sponsor of the Progressive Business Forum, KZN Blind & Deaf Society, Child Welfare South Africa, Nelson Mandela Foundation, Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin, Sathya Sai Organisation of South Africa and he supports various other charities, organisations, businesses and aspiring individuals. Sashwin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Architecture at Oxford Brookes University and completed a Summer School Programme at the Architectural Association in London entitled ‘Multiplicities’. Sashwin is also a member of SKAL International Association of Travel and Tourism Professionals. He previously worked for Chartered Practice Architects and thereafter for David Chipperfield Architects in London. Upon returning to South Africa in 2003, Sashwin established Africa Vision and the business currently employs a range of professionals, specialist consultants and contract resources in accordance with the specific requirements of its various projects and programmes. Sashwin serves on the Centre of Excellence Committee for the Barclays Africa Group and is currently appointed as Lead Consultant for 13 countries in Africa. He is currently a member of the Strategic Project & Programmes Support Unit for Mbombela Municipality, an Expert Design Advisor to the South African Bureau of Standards in South Africa, and provides Programme Management services to various governmental and private sector entities in SA.

Ricardo Pinho

Business Development Manager


Luanda, Angola
Class of 2016/17

Ricardo Pinho is currently based in southern Africa, in Luanda, Angola. Working with Mitrelli as business development manager, he is responsible for the origination and development of new business opportunities with the public and private sectors. Engaging with clients and investors and other stakeholders to develop impact investing opportunities in large-scale projects in sub-Saharan Africa, he developed projects on utilities and infrastructure sectors as well as urban governance, across both central and local governments. Prior to this position, in Moscow, Russia, with Strelka Institute, he was a researcher in urbanism in a one-year team project to develop new approaches to create change in the physical and social environment with Moscow as field of study. Until 2011 he held leadership positions in Poland and Portugal, working with Mota-Engil Group as business unit manager, with responsibility for P&L for providing environmental services for local governments and private sector. Ricardo holds a degree in environmental engineering by Portuguese Catholic University and an MBA from the University of Illinois (USA). Entrepreneur by nature and passionate about cities, he applies business strategies to generate impact in the for-profit industry. Through a continuous learning, practice and research process, he develops his expertise in cities and impact investing fields, building the opportunity to maximize outcomes and add value to solve world’s wicked problems coming with urbanisation and blend the required finance towards a more sustainable development

Rewati Prabhu

Architect and Urban Planner, Co-founder

Frischmann Prabhu India

London, United Kingdom
Class of 2016/17

An architect and urban planner with 20 years of experience in the USA, Europe, India and Africa, Rewati Prabhu is an integral part of the core team that started Frischmann Prabhu India in 1995. Rewati has led master-planning projects all over the world, including Pell Frischmann’s influential Low Carbon Infrastructure Study for Indian economic corridors, Konza Technology City in Kenya, and the Delhi Metro. She is currently advising Indian cities on sustainable infrastructure, sanitation and low-income housing and is particularly interested in protecting cultural and environmental identity while creating smart cities.

Rewati co-created the Jagriti Yatra project, an innovative pan-India youth enterprise programme, which has nurtured over 600 new enterprises and has been replicated in the USA and in France.

Alan Pullman

Architect & Urban Designer

Studio One Eleven

Los Angeles, USA
Class of 2016/17

Alan Pullman is an architect and urban designer based in Los Angeles, California. He was raised in New York, and made his way to California after attending architecture school at Syracuse University. After practicing architecture for several commercial firms in the region he found a calling of sorts after working on a local community-driven revitalisation project. That project made him think more broadly about the responsibility of designers and the roles they should play in creating more sustainable, equitable and liveable cities. He started his firm, Studio One Eleven, in 2000, which has since focused on the repair and revitalisation of existing cities through master planning, infill architecture and building rehabilitation. Alan sees Los Angeles grappling with urban challenges prevalent in many other regions: finding the balance between growth and quality of life, protecting a fragile environment, overlaying new mobility options and infrastructure on an existing metropolis, addressing increased economic inequality, building social cohesion between communities, and bridging the divide between citizens and government. He looks forward to the LSE experience to broaden his thinking and share knowledge with his fellow participants.

Damyanti Radheshwar


D Radheshwar Architect

New York City, USA
Class of 2016/17

Over four decades of architectural practice in the USA and India, mostly in the public realm, provided Damyanti Radheshwar with many opportunities to contribute to planning and infrastructure projects - manifesting her interest in the larger realms of sustainable communities, to explore ideas about development, planning, and infrastructure. This brings her to London School of Economics and Political Science to study New Urban Agenda and Urban Governance at LSE Cities.

Damyanti’s practice, D Radheshwar Architect + Urban Planner and Strategist (, based in New York is a collaborative model of working with interdisciplinary peer groups in the USA, India, and UK.

Navin Rai

Joint Chief Town Planner

Government of Sikkim

Gangtok, India
Class of 2016/17

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Melody has studied and worked in the U.S. and Europe, and is now based in Hong Kong/Shanghai. With 15 years of experience, she has been practicing in China for over a decade with a focus on urban place-making and sustainable development. As senior associate and urban design team leader at Perkins + Will’s Shanghai office, Melody has led projects from new town master plan, tourism and mixed-use, to site planning for a healthcare and education institution. Since 2015, Melody was invited as studio tutor for an undergraduate design studio at the University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus and China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou. She recently coorganised a design-build workshop - “Living with Nature”, with participants from Taiwan, Japan and China, to explore the potential of community place-making at the rural village site. Through her practice and experience with both public and private sector, Melody’s aims are to facilitate meaningful collaboration through design, and to enhance the dialogue between stakeholder and the authority.

Mike Seyle

US Regional President

Buro Happold

New York City, USA
Class of 2016/17

Mike Seyle is the US Regional President of Buro Happold. He was previously president and chief executive officer of WATG, an award-winning global design firm specialising in hospitality, luxury residential and mixed-use urban real estate development projects. The firm provides architecture, planning, strategic consulting, interiors and landscape design services for some of the world’s most prestigious companies, including Four Seasons, Disney, Ritz Carlton, Kerzner International, MGM, Hyatt, Marriott, Intercontinental, Hilton and Starwood. Since 2009, Mike has led the company through recovery from the global recession toward expansion to 10 offices in six countries, with annual growth averaging 5%, and transition of the company to a John Lewis-type employee trust ownership model. In 2015, Mike completed his doctorate in business and innovation from Georgia State University. He has an MBA from San Diego State University and a law degree from the University of the Pacific. Mike and his wife Michelle live in Twickenham with the youngest two of their five precocious children.

Yondela Silimela

Executive Director

City of Jahannesburg

Johannesburg, South Africa
Class of 2017/18

Yondela is the Executive Director: Development Planning for the City of Johannesburg. She is responsible for the successful development of urban policy, and the conceptualisation and implementation of programmes, weaving together economic, social and sustainability objectives. Yondela also oversees operational responsibilities, including processing land use and building plan applications. Yondela has over twenty years’ experience in cities having led the National Urban Renewal Programme under President Mbeki. She also has extensive real estate experience from her tenure with the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the largest asset manager in South Africa. She has a strong appreciation for strategic partnerships and has worked with the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank to advance some of the innovations she is pioneering for the City of Johannesburg.

Alberto Silva

Urban Consultant


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Class of 2016/17

Alberto Silva has an academic background in Urban Sociology and more than 20 years’ experience in urban programmes at local government level in Rio de Janeiro and Angra dos Reis. He has also worked as an urban researcher and for civil society organisations. From 1991 to 1996 he worked at the City Hall of Angra dos Reis, implementing adult literacy and school democratic management programmes. For his work as General Coordinator of the Sanitation Programme of Angra dos Reis, Alberto was commended with a good practice award in 1996 at the Second World Urban Forum, Habitat II in Istanbul. He has since worked with ActionAid in Brazil and as Country Director at ActionAid Mozambique, restructuring the programme towards a rights based approach. In April 2010 he joined the Port Region Urban Development Company (CDURP), a Municipal Company in charge of implementing Rio de Janeiro’s Port Region Urban Consortium Operation (also known as Porto Maravilha - Marvelous Port). Initially acting as President Special Advisor, he became President of the Company in November 2012. Porto Maravilha’s main goals are: increase the population area, improve urban mobility, appreciate material and non-material heritage, and promote social inclusion. This is the largest urban reform project under implementation in Brazil, utilising an innovative institutional framework and funding mechanism, and a new urban governance model.

Lukas Sokol

Urban Design Manager

Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council

Abu Dhabi, UAE
Class of 2017/18

Lukas is the Urban Design Manager at the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC). He is responsible for advising the Abu Dhabi Government on matters regarding urban design, masterplanning, and strategic development. He heads the UPC’s Urban Design Studio, which serves as an internal think tank and project design and development consultancy responsible for exploring, developing, and testing government initiatives. Lukas also teaches the Urbanism module at the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi as well as coordinating Learning and Development Projects between UAE Universities and the UPC. Lukas studied architecture and landscape architecture at the University of Arizona, Danish International Study Program and Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. He worked on planning and urban design projects in Panama, Japan, Korea, China and the US before joining the Urban Planning Council ten years ago

Natalia Uribe



London, United Kingdom
Class of 2016/17

Natalia is a registered architect in her native Colombia with 15 years professional experience working on high profile projects in the UK, Middle East, Asia and Latin-America. She is well known for her passion in the front end design of large scale urban master plans, the collaborative thinking of global multidisciplinary teams and her great interest in the development of Latin America.

Natalia studied Fine Art and Architecture in Colombia, where she founded and ran her own practice “Espacio 10” for 5 years, focusing on city interventions which included installations, performances and large video-projections in public space. She has since moved to the UK and worked with various British architectural firms, including Benoy, an international firm of architects, masterplanners and interior & graphic designers with 11 design studios in the UK, the Middle East and Asia. At Benoy, Natalia is a Senior Associate Director. She specialises in the front end design of large mixed-use schemes and retail-led developments projects. She is also responsible for identifying and exploring new business opportunities in the Latin America region and is currently leading projects in Colombia, Panama, Nigeria, Cameroon and India.

Santiago Uribe Rocha

Chief Resilience Officer

City of Medellin

Medellin, Colombia
Class of 2017/18

Santiago is the Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) for the City of Medellín, a city member of the 100 Resilient Cities Network, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. Prior to becoming CRO, Santiago worked for three years as Executive Director of Social Innovation at Pigmalion Consulting. There he coordinated a number of research programs on topics ranging from disaster risk management to local youth’s reproductive and mental health. From 2007-2010, Santiago served as Administrative Assistant of Cultural and Economic Affairs at the Embassy of Colombia to the Republic of South Africa, where he coordinated official visits to Bogotá and Medellín to exchange experiences and expertise for the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit Systems in cities including Cape Town, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela’s Bay. In his appointment at the Embassy in Pretoria, Santiago was also actively involved in the organization of systematic exchanges between Colombia and South Africa in issues related to the peace process in Colombia, including organizing an official visit of former President F.W. De Klerk. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the Universidad de Antioquia and was a visiting student at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Maria Vassilakou

Deputy Mayor

City of Vienna

Vienna, Austria
Class of 2017/18

Maria is currently serving as the Deputy Mayor of Vienna. She has been a member of the city government since 2010, responsible for several agendas including urban development and planning, energy planning, climate protection, mobility and transport, participation, and Vienna’s smart city agenda. Maria has been engaged in city politics since 1996, first serving as a City Counsellor and Green Party speaker for immigration, human rights and diversity affairs. She later served as a member of government without portfolio and, from 2004 to 2010, as the head of the Green Party of Vienna and the Green Parliamentary Group. During her time in city politics she has been highly active in exchange and cooperation with cities all over the world and is currently responsible for the implementation of the cooperation memorandum between Vienna and Athens. Maria’s first steps in politics took her to the Austrian Students Union where she served as the elected representative of all foreign Students in Austrian Universities and later as the Secretary General of the Students Union. She holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics and Psychology from the University of Vienna and has worked as a Research Assistant at the Department of Linguistics.

Kevin Woods

City Manager

City of Thornton

Thornton, USA
Class of 2017/18

Kevin is currently the City Manager for the City of Thornton, located at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and has a rapidly growing population of 140,000. As City Manager, he oversees a workforce of 950 personnel with responsibilities that include all aspects of municipal management. Prior to Thornton, Kevin was the Town Manager of Stalling, NC for three years. Before beginning municipal work, Kevin spent three years as Vice President for Versar Inc., overseeing major US construction programs throughout Afghanistan. Kevin’s professional background includes twenty-six years as a US Army officer. He was branched and served in the US Army Corps of Engineers and had multiple command and staff assignments throughout the US and abroad. His final military assignment was as Deputy Commander for US Army South in San Antonio, Texas.

Wen-Chi Yao


Parliament of Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan
Class of 2016/17

Wen-Chih Yao has been a member of Taiwan’s parliament since 2012. A journalist and political scientist by training, he aims to run for mayor of Taipei in 2018. Wen-Chih served as the Director of Information Office, and then the Deputy Secretary-General in the municipal authorities of Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second-largest city, between 1998 and 2003. He strived to foster a civic pride in Kaohsiung through facilitating visually inspiring public works, advocating historic conservation and organising mega-events. In 2005, he was promoted to the cabinet as Minister of Information Office and held the post for a year. Since being sworn in as a legislator, he has retained a seat on the Internal Administration Committee (which he has also chaired), and proposed various law amendments to protect and enhance public interest through strengthening disaster preparedness and economic development aspects of the built environment. In 2014, Wen-Chih won the Taipei mayoral primary with the Democratic Progressive Party, now Taiwan’s ruling party. The theme of his campaign was a call for the closure of the Taipei Songshan Airport, which lies in close proximity to the city centre. This will enable the lifting of building height controls in large parts of the city that will facilitate urban renewal and the establishment of a new vast urban park using the old airport site. Determined to make his second attempt, Wen-Chih is very keen to lead the spatial revolution in the Taiwanese capital.

Melody Yiu

Urban Designer


Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Class of 2016/17

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Melody has studied and worked in the U.S. and Europe, and is now based in Hong Kong/Shanghai. With 15 years of experience, she has been practicing in China for over a decade with a focus on urban place-making and sustainable development. As senior associate and urban design team leader at Perkins + Will’s Shanghai office, Melody has led projects from new town master plan, tourism and mixed-use, to site planning for a healthcare and education institution. Since 2015, Melody was invited as studio tutor for an undergraduate design studio at the University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus and China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou. She recently coorganised a design-build workshop - “Living with Nature”, with participants from Taiwan, Japan and China, to explore the potential of community place-making at the rural village site. Through her practice and experience with both public and private sector, Melody’s aims are to facilitate meaningful collaboration through design, and to enhance the dialogue between stakeholder and the authority.

For brief biographies for our course participants, download the Participant Profiles below or browse through our directory

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