Joni is a planner, architect and all-around urban enthusiast. He is currently working as the General Director of Planning and Urban Development at the Municipality of Tirana, where he leads a team of 100+ architects, planners and engineers. His previous experiences include stints in the private sector as well as a multi-year experience leading a ground-breaking planning and architecture start-up for the Albanian Government nicknamed Atelier Albania. He has meddled with planning and development at different scales whilst working on the national plan for Albania, the regional plan for the coast of the country, and the regional plan for the economic generator of the country, the Tirana-Durres region.
His responsibilities at the Municipality of Tirana consist of the surprises, urgencies and expectations of a bustling vibrant capital in the centre of the Balkans. Collaborative creative processes, leading from behind, alternative planning methodologies and quick and practical fixes would best describe his daily duties; but dealing with administrative bureaucracy, piles of paperwork, building permissions and cross-institutional collaboration often gets in the way. He is extremely passionate about architecture and planning and is currently focused on exploring innovation in urban redevelopment while employing more sustainable, implementable and functional planning methodologies.
Jeff is a Partner at Studio tla, a Toronto-based Urban Design and Landscape Architecture firm. In his role as Principal and Design Director he provides firm leadership and oversight in the design and management of complex private and public development projects. Prior to joining Studio tla, Jeff was a Partner and Design Principal at the SWA Group, residing in Dallas and Shanghai. His clients include public agencies and the largest private developers of planned environments, civic, institutional, and mixed-use urban venues in North America, China, India, and the UAE.
Jeff is recognized internationally as a leader in the design and development of award winning master planning projects and is a frequent lecturer and keynote speaker focusing on issues related to urbanization. He is a full member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and holds CLARB certification. Jeff’s academic qualifications include an Honour’s Degree in Landscape Architecture and a Baccalaureate in Arts, both from the University of Guelph, Ontario Canada
Caio is a Brazilian diplomat currently posted to the embassy of Brazil in Kinshasa, DRC, where he works as Deputy Head of Mission. Responsible for the political, cultural and cooperation affairs between his country and DRC, he is witnessing first-hand the challenges related to the massive on-going urbanization process in Africa. Previously, Caio worked at the embassy of Brazil in Kuwait and as cultural attaché in Italy, where he was part of the team responsible for the participation of Brazil at the Venice Biennale and the Milan Expo 2015. Back in Brasília, Caio worked at the presidential palace organizing national and international trips made by Brazil’s president.
Being a Brazilian career diplomat for the past 10 years, Caio strongly believes that both city and state diplomatic actors can complement each other while engaging in activities to advance the interests of the city or the country overseas. In view of the growing role that cities play in international affairs, Caio is keen on exploring and developing the concept of city diplomacy.
Lealem is the Deputy Commissioner of the Addis Ababa City Government Plan Commission. His main responsibilities focus on Urban Plan Implementation, follow-up and regulation. Prior to his current position, he served in the capacity of Deputy Manager in the Addis Ababa City Plan Project Office and participated in the planning process of the new City Plan for Addis Ababa.
Lealem has also served as Government Housing Development Project Office Manager at a Sub-City level, and has accumulated substantial experience in urban planning and development over the last 27 years. He holds a BSc in Architecture and Town planning from Addis Ababa University, is a registered professional architect and a member of the Association of Ethiopian Architects.
Ali serves as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Strategic Property Partners (SPP) where she is responsible for marketing and consumer-facing communications efforts for SPP and its initial project, Water Street Tampa. The phased Water Street Tampa development project is revitalizing the currently underutilized tract of land in downtown Tampa to create an urban, mixed-use waterfront district consisting of approximately nine million square feet of new commercial, residential, hospitality, cultural, entertainment, education, and retail uses, totalling over $3 billion in private investment from SPP.
Prior to joining SPP, Ali worked for the City of Tampa as Public Affairs Director where she was an advisor to Mayor Buckhorn, while maintaining responsibility for all marketing, public communications, and advertising for the City of Tampa. Glisson received her Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the George Washington University.
Claudia is Creative Director at HLA (Harari Landscape Architecture). She is also the CEO and guides the studio in its creative and work line, focusing on urban scale projects which involve local and aesthetic values that make highly meaningful projects for users and the towns where they are located. As leader of the profession in Mexico, she lectures and sits in design juries nationally and internationally. Her project for the BBVA soccer stadium became the first LEED accredited Soccer Stadium in America and was declared “the most beautiful soccer stadium worldwide” by the BBC. In this and other large scale metropolitan parks and public spaces in Mexico, HLA is collaborating in changing the role of administering these spaces from local governments to the private sector. She has been influential in introducing Landscape Architecture as the new Urban Design practice in Mexico with the design of new urban developments, town centers, and urban redevelopments.
Claudia served at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design Alumni Council and City Parks Alliance board, belongs to the International Federation of Landscape Architects and the American and Mexican Societies of Landscape Architects. She was also included in Phaidon’s book 30:30 Landscape Architecture as one of the most influential upcoming landscape architects.
Brett is a Member of the Mayoral Committee for Transport and Urban Development in the City of Cape Town. The Mayoral Committee is the equivalent of a government ‘cabinet’ and Brett was appointed to the Mayoral Committee by the Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town. Brett’s portfolio was created in January 2017, following a restructuring of the City’s administration, to bring alignment between Transport, Spatial Planning and Housing (formal public housing). The key objective is to transform the spatial form of the city which still exhibits the apartheid spatial logic of segregation with poorer, mostly black, residents living on the outskirts.
Prior to the re-alignment of the city’s administration, and the resulting political leadership’s portfolio allocations, Brett was the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Transport. Brett is a lawyer by profession and has served as an elected public representative since 2009. He has been part of the City’s Mayoral Committee since June 2010 – serving for one year as the Member responsible for Community Services until May 2011 when he took over the transport portfolio.
Simon is also an advisor to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, where he joined a task Board to investigate the performance of 5 public bodies and their objective to release land for strategic housing supply. He is also a retained advisor to Defence Infrastructure Organisation (the property advisory unit for the Ministry of Defence) Simon attended the CBI Leadership Course in 2016/17, he is a Residential Council member of the Urban Land Institute, and holds a BSc (Hons) in Urban Estate Surveying.
Olusola Ikuforiji is an environment and water resources professional at the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, where she has worked in different capacities applying an environmental sustainability and climate resilience lens to investment projects spanning the water and agriculture sectors. In her current role, she is contributing to the development of water infrastructure projects that address climate resilience and advance sustainable management of water resources in sub-Saharan Africa. She has developed keen interest in the urban space and motivated to understand how resilience and sustainability can be forged in African cities. Olusola aims to promote integrated and inclusive infrastructure development in urban areas of Africa.
Prior to joining the AfDB, she worked with the World Bank in Washington DC as a water resources management specialist. Olusola holds a Masters in Environmental Management from Yale University (New Haven, CT USA) and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Aquatic Biology from Lagos State University (Lagos, Nigeria).
Alex is a civic designer and social entrepreneur. In 2014, Alex founded Cities Reimagined, a civic design firm that employs principles of design to solve complex challenges in urban cities. Most recently, Alex has been based in Detroit, Michigan working on a public/private partnership to make business licensing and permitting a smooth and simple process for entrepreneurs.
Prior to her work in Detroit, Alex worked with public leaders in Central Virginia to create an innovative workforce pipeline to fill gaps in local manufacturing firms. This work was recognized by the White House Economic Council in 2015 through President Obama’s TechHire initiative. When she isn’t rapid prototyping and playing design games with public servants, Alex is playing fiddle in the Johnston Family Band and exploring new places and cultures. She is also a regular public speaker with emphasis on urban innovation and systems design.
Kari is the Chief Sustainability Officer of the city of Tampere, Finland and is responsible for the city’s sustainable growth and development policies and their execution. Kari is a member of the Prime Minister’s Sustainable Development Task Force and was a member of the Minister of Environment’s Task Force for Energy Efficient Finland 2017. He has worked on a broad spectrum of projects in strategic urban and economic development and is currently most actively involved with smart and sustainable city development and with the city’s strategic initiatives on urban and economic development.
Prior to joining the city in 2007, Kari held roles in the private and public sectors both in Finland and in the US, including CEO of a service business consultancy, director at an innovation fund with focus on high tech venture capital investments and technology transfer, as well as a research career in physics. Kari is a current and past board member of over twenty companies and has worked with and consulted organizations in the US, South Africa, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Vietnam, Japan and the European Commission, among others. He holds a PhD from Tampere University of Technology.
Gbolahan is the Commissioner for Housing in Lagos State, Nigeria where he is tasked to oversee the planning and implementation of Lagos State Housing policies. These include a rent-to-own initiative which potentiates the movement of a large number of Lagos State residents to the home ownership ladder, and the Lagos Affordable Public Housing (LAPH) programme, a joint venture initiative with the private sector aimed at constructing 20,000 housing units within the next 4 years starting from year 2017 (tagged 20,000:Y2020). As the Commissioner for Agriculture and cooperatives between July 2011 and May 2015, the State‘s food security profile improved through interventions he oversaw across the agricultural value chain.
Gbolahan was commissioned as an ASP in the Nigeria Police Force and retired voluntarily as a Superintendent (1996 -2008). Gbolahan is a board member, Lagos State Security Trust Fund from 2011 till date. Gbolahan holds a BSc in Botany (University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria) and an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development (School of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS, University of London) along with an Advanced Management Programme (AMP) and a Certificate in International Housing Finance (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA). Gbolahan is an alumni of the Havard Kennedy School of Government and World Bank Institute.
Daria is Head of PR department at Moscow City Government Press Service. Being responsible for liaison between the city government and the citizens, Daria has been involved in the process of implementation of grand-scale public projects such as Zaradie Park, renewal of 60s Soviet housing stock and construction of Moscow Railway Circle line. Alongside working closely with the policy-makers on major infrastructural and public realm projects, Daria has been engaged in monitoring and feedback process of several major e-platforms for effective dialogue between citizens and authorities and digitising the city government services.
Daria holds an honours degree in International Relations from the Moscow State University. She has been actively engaged in State-led experimental project for government professionals ‘Technology Platform 2.0’, steering a group to investigate the development of intellectual systems and their beneficial use in local economies. She is also a guest lecturer at Moscow Government University and a delegate at international urban forums.
Bill has worked in real estate since graduating high school in 1978. In subsequent years, he has completed numerous university and professional programs in pursuit of professional and personal development. In 1988 Bill incorporated his own firm, where he develops, leases, manages and owns his own real estate portfolio, along with providing high level real estate consulting for selected third parties.
Bill also does extensive pro bono work for several organizations and has served as an Officer and Director of numerous organizations. He is the Past President of the Real Estate Institute of Canada and has written three real estate course textbooks.
Mika is an extrovert and middle-aged Finn, living in Berlin. He has a more than 25 years of international experience in telecom and Intelligent Transport System (ITS) industries. Recently, he worked as the Director, Business Development at HERE Technologies. Prior to joining HERE, he had various roles in telecommunications and Smartphones business in Nokia Corporation. In addition, he has served as the first president and chairman of the board at the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) as well the supervisory board in ERTICO – ITS Europe.
Mika holds a MSc. degree in Computer Science (University of Oulu, Finland) and an MBA degree in International Finance (Helsinki School of Economics, Finland). He has also been a professional coach in Finnish baseball. His team won the silver medal in the highest league in Finland at 1996. While not travelling, he enjoys golfing, playing ice hockey, reading, losing weight and being a father to his four children.
Piyali works at TATA Consultancy Services, a 20 billion USD company, where she blends technology, innovation & industry expertise to drive growth opportunities and efficiency for the private & public sector. Cutting across transportation, ports, airports, cities and utilities, she incubates consulting & digital transformation programs exercising the adoption of artificial intelligence, internet of things, analytics and evolving technologies.
Her work in energy management was awarded an industry best practice at the UK House of Commons. She opened doors for TCS into a new Central European market with the advocacy of an analytical model that forecasts consumer uptake of PVs & electric vehicles in urban & semi-urban regions. Other works include robotic process automation for verifying accuracy of utility bills, and predictive analytics to forecast breakdown of engineering assets. She has led the feasibility analysis of Bhutan’s Economic City. She is recipient of an award of endorsement by the Indian Parliament.
A qualified architect & design thinker, Piyali has worked multi-culturally across Europe, Asia & Middle East with TATAs and Knight Frank. Having nomadically lived in Paris, Mumbai and global cities, Piyali found her home in London where she is now settled with her husband Indranil and daughter Tiasha.
Marc is the founder and managing partner of IngeniousPeoplesKnowledge Consultants (I-P-K), a Cape Town-based boutique consulting firm. I-P-K specialises in designing and facilitating participatory transformation processes in the public sector and international development. In the past 12 years, he has advised a wide range of clients, among others UN specialised agencies (such as the ILO, WHO, UNAIDS), bilateral development agencies (e.g. the German Development Agency GIZ) and international NGOs. He advises on strategic processes, programme development, design thinking processes, knowledge sharing and team/network building by applying an approach that puts the complex nature of human systems, diversity management and participation at its centre. For the City of Cape Town, he contrived the participatory methodology for the 111 Wards Design Project in the framework of World Design Capital 2014.
Marc started his career with Helvetas, the largest Swiss NGO in the field of international development as a technical advisor and programme manager for knowledge management. He holds a Master’s degree in Sociology and International Relations (University of Zurich), an Advanced Certificate in Development Cooperation (Federal Institute of Technology Zurich) and has developed his portfolio in change management through a wide range of specialisations.
Tim is Executive Director of the William Factory Small Business Incubator located in the Seattle/Puget Sound Region of the United States. In support of entrepreneurship particularly for underrepresented and disadvantaged populations, Tim organizes programs, engages in corporate and college partnerships, provides recommendations for public policies and oversees funding of start-up business assistance services.
Tim is former Deputy Mayor for the City of Tacoma, founding Chair of Pierce Transit, founding Chair of Community Health, former Chair of the Pierce County Law and Justice Commission and former Chair of the Housing Task Force of the Growth Policy Association. Tim served as Chair of Tacoma Public Utilities, was Executive Vice-President of the Job Training Executives of Washington State and was Executive Director for the Washington State Council of Vocational Technical Institutes. Tim holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Pacific Lutheran University.
Efrat is CEO and founder of Gazit Globe Real Estate Institute at IDC, an Israeli private university where she teaches urban economics and real estate finance & investment while conducting applicable research on issues of housing and real estate. In addition to her work at IDC, she also works in housing development in Tel Aviv City.
Efrat serves as a member of Tel Aviv City Council and has previously served as a board member for various firms owned by Tel Aviv city, including Atidim Hi Tech campus (co-owned by Tel Aviv University). She is currently a member of the Capital Market, Insurance and Saving Authority advisory committee and has previously served as a board member for various Tel Aviv Stock Exchange traded firms such as Bank of Jerusalem and Babylon.
Cecilia is the Programme Director at the Bernard van Leer Foundation, a Dutch foundation devoted to global work in early childhood matters, where she is responsible for the management and implementation of a global strategy. In this role, one of her main objectives is to help scale effective programs and policies where city leaders, urban planners, architects, and innovators experience the city from 95cm (the height of a healthy three-year-old child) to really help change the landscapes and opportunities that shape young children’s lives.
Prior to joining the Foundation, she was the Coordinating Minister of Social Development of Ecuador. In this position, Cecilia was able to help create, evaluate and adjust strategic policies in vital areas of social development including early childhood, social security systems, education, healthcare, urban development and poverty alleviation, always taking into account the diversity of cultural backgrounds in Ecuador. Cecilia has over 15 years of experience managing social development policies and programmes and she holds a master’s degree in Social Policies for Sustainable Development (Bologna University) and a BA in International Relations (Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador).
Prajakta is a civil servant currently posted as Joint MD CIDCO in Navi Mumbai and is responsible for commissioning of the largest greenfield airport of the country in Navi Mumbai. She is also working on planning the airport influence and notified zone of about 350 sq kms as a Special Planning authority. This is her first role in the area of urban planning and development. In her earlier role as Joint Commissioner of Sales Tax, she was in charge of investigating tax evasion crimes in the financial capital of the country viz. Mumbai. Prajakta has also worked in the area of water supply and sanitation in peri-urban areas within the State of Maharashtra. Her district stint equipped her with field experience in tackling the problems of malnutrition, open defecation and enabled her to successfully spearhead collective action in micro credit for women and sanitation among children.
Prajakta’s future years as a civil servant will demand addressing complex urban and social problems in urban and peri urban areas in the State of Maharashtra (the most urbanised state in the country) and looks forward to this course to equip her to deal with these challenges creatively and vibrantly
Raymond is an Associate Director of AECOM Ltd and is based in the Shenzhen Office, China. He is also a member of American Planning Association with LEEDGA certification. Engaged in urban planning and urban design works for more than 12 years, Raymond has participated in various multi-scale urban planning and design projects at different stages as well as being skilled in methods of urban research, land use planning and diversified scale urban design across the Asia-Pacific region.
Raymond has completed a number of urban planning and design works and has solid professional skills and familiarity with the procedures in all aspects of urban projects such as mixed-use development, new township planning, tourism & hospitality planning, infrastructure orientated developments and strategic comprehensive planning across the Asia-Pacific region.
For the past six years Stephen has been working as Chief City Architect in Aarhus City Council in Denmark. Previously he was partner in the internationally renowned company Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects where he was responsible for developing international activity and research and development. He has also held the position of Associate Professor in Architecture at Aarhus School of Architecture for many years. The combination of working in private practise and public office combined with research and teaching enables a keen understanding of the complex processes and demanding roles and responsibilities architects and planners at political and local community level as well as in a global perspective.
As chief city architect, Stephen is special advisor to the Councils Politian’s. He works as an intermediary and ambassador for architecture and sustainable urban development for Aarhus Municipality and brings essential insight and experience into relevant forums, inspiring and influencing key decision-making processes relating to Aarhus’ future.
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 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 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 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
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 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 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 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 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.
Ciarán Cuffe is a Member of the European Parliament. Until recently, he served as 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
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.
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
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.
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
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).
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).
Sharon is a Partnerships and Infrastructure Specialist in the Bangladesh Country Office of UNOPS where she works to build coordinated and effective humanitarian and development programmes for UNOPS to implement on behalf of the UN group and other partners in Bangladesh. After becoming interested in the development and management of big cities as a student of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, she worked in the public sector in South Africa for over 20 years. She has worked in National and Local Government in South Africa; and for intergovernmental programmes including South African Cities Network, Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, and Cities Support Programme. Her work experience includes urban policy, public finance, and city management; and her professional interests revolve around local government’s role in urban development and management; infrastructure and property investments to achieve inclusivity and sustainability; placemaking; and development partnerships.
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 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).
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Maria was until recently 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 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.