For brief biographies for our course participants, download the Participant Profiles below or browse through our directory
Musaad is currently the Partnerships Manager at the World Green Economy Organization (WGEO) in Dubai, seconded from Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). In this role, he is responsible for membership discussions on the establishment of a new type of a multi-stakeholder institution with treaty foundation to support countries with their transition to a green economy. In addition, he is responsible for the development and implementation of high-impact bankable projects pipeline focused on smart green cities and sustainable infrastructure projects.
Previously, Musaad served as the Senior Policy Associate for MENA region at GGGI Abu Dhabi office where he was responsible for knowledge sharing programs and regional partnership outreach activities related to planning and implementing green growth policies. Prior to joining GGGI, Musaad was a Programme Analyst for Energy, Environment and Climate Change at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the Barbados and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Subregional Office. Musaad played a pivotal role in strategically mapping renewable energy opportunities and initiatives with Global Environmental Facility (GEF) projects by identifying needs and gaps within the Eastern Caribbean SIDS.
Silvia is an Architect and Urban Planner. Throughout her eighteen years of experience, she has actively participated in the definition and management of major processes of urban transformation in Barcelona’s Metropolitan Area, focused mainly on the city of Viladecans (Barcelona).
The last three years she was in charge of an Urban Development Office in Viladecans City Council (Barcelona), she managed multidisciplinary teams to approach the Master Plan to regenerate an Industrial area with a broad strategic vision incorporating ‘smart concepts’ to configure an innovative district. She also worked as a link between politicians and citizens coordinating participatory processes to achieve agreements in complex environments.
Previously, as a Senior Coordinator (2007-2015) and as a Senior Architect (2003-2007) in Viladecans City Council (Barcelona), she worked on different types of projects, from large-scale urban planning, through urban landscape design to detailed architectural projects. She designed the projects and managed the budget and construction of these works. It is important to highlight that she is always driven by a sustainable approach. Sílvia has recently moved to London due to a desire for international experience. Her aim is to keep building more competitive, sustainable and inclusive buildings and territories.
Manuel is the founder and president of Aston Group, a private equity firm based in Central Mexico with a strong focus on Real Estate investment and development. To date, the Aston Group has invested over $1B USD in projects throughout Mexico, North America and Europe. In this role, he provides the leading strategy and is responsible for new business and development functions that cover a wide variety of sectors such as real estate, technology, natural resources, education, and financial services. Manuel has over twenty years of experience in developing retail, industrial, residential and mix-use projects.
Prior to founding Aston Group, Manuel had a ten-year career with Hines Interests. His main role was to participate and lead emerging market fund projects, aimed at investing into emerging markets. The target was to achieve a higher return on investment while significantly improving the construction standards in the respective country.
Manuel holds academic qualifications in International Business (Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM)) and a Master of Business Administration (University of Texas).
Melody is an Urban Resilience Consultant working at the intersection of climate change adaptation and sustainable, inclusive development. In her work, Melody focuses on small islands states with a regional emphasis on the Caribbean. She specializes in disaster risk management and risk reduction for greater resilience to a changing climate that is expected to bring more frequent and intense disaster impacts. She also supports post-disaster economic recovery efforts with the US Economic Development Administration (EDA). At the World Bank, she works with the Building Regulation for Resilience Program and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) to strengthen regulatory processes for the built environment in Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Through EDA, she has supported the economic development and recovery of the US Virgin Islands and Nebraska after significant disasters events had pronounced impacts on economic activities.
Prior to this, Melody helped advance socially responsible finance practices at the Royal Bank of Scotland in London, Sustainalytics in Boston, and Arabella Advisors in Washington, DC. She holds a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
Gergely is co-founder and majority partner of CreaCity, a Budapest based consultancy specialized in human-centred urban development. CreaCity is working with small and mid-size cities on their most pressing leadership challenges, from renewing their development practices and adapting to climate change, to regulating the sharing economy and retaining their home-grown entrepreneurial talent. CreaCity frequently uses Design Thinking methods such as ‘Customer Journey Mapping’ and ‘360° Empathy’ to bring the most out of its network of internationally renowned experts, as well to make local liveability the core aspect of urban development.
Gergely studied International Relations at Corvinus University of Budapest. He pursued a Master of Business Administration at Central European University and participated in the Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship of Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is also founder of Brain Bar, the largest European festival on the future, and head of Design Terminal, a leading innovation agency in Central Europe.
Mei Ghee is Senior Manager with Capital Project and Infrastructure (CP&I) team, Mainland China and Hong Kong-based PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). In this role, Mei Ghee is responsible for financial advisory for the development of infrastructure projects, mostly in the planning or pre-financing green-field stages. In her current role, she is involved in many different types of deals, namely public private partnership (PPP) structuring, international public bidding, unsolicited bidding exercises with negotiations with local authorities, feasibility studies to form investment decisions, amongst others. She has completed a number of transactions in power and transportation sectors. Mei Ghee has deal experience across all continents, with a concentration in Africa and Asia.
Before joining PwC, Mei Ghee worked in rating agency and debt capital market (DCM), raising capital for corporates as well as infrastructure projects.
Marion is the inaugural CEO of the Committee for Perth Ltd, a role she has held for the past thirteen years. She is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia and holds an MBA from Curtin Graduate School of Business.
The Committee for Perth is a private sector funded think tank. Its focus is on the Perth region’s growth from its current population of 2 million people to 3.5 million expected around 2050 and the challenges and opportunities this will bring. The purpose of the Committee is to inform and advocate for change that improves the cultural diversity, economic prosperity, sustainability and world-class amenities of Perth, the capital of Western Australia. To deliver on its purpose, the Committee takes an evidenced-based and solutions-focused approach and over the past decade has released over one hundred pieces of research. Its outputs are trusted sources of truth for public policymakers and the media.
Marion has led projects ‘by Perth, for Perth’ on transport and congestion, gender equality, economic diversity, governance and brand reputation. Her on-the-ground research covers almost forty cities across the developed world in order to evaluate what Perth can learn from elsewhere.
Justyna is Head Coordinator for Sustainable Development & Green Areas in city of Warsaw Mayor’s office. Previously, she was a candidate for the post of the President of Warsaw, representing a coalition of twelve urban movements in local elections of 2018.
She graduated from the Warsaw School of Economics with MA and the LSE, where she obtained a PhD in political economy of European integration. Justyna started her professional career at the Office of the Main Negotiator of the Accession Treaty with the European Union, trainee at the European Commission Budget DG. For two years she coordinated the work of a group of policy experts in the Chancellery of the President of Poland.
Justyna is an expert in public affairs, territorial self-governments, regional policy design and implementation, including mechanisms of EU funds distribution. She has also published numerous articles and co-authored books in this field of expertise. She has been an activist for more than 10 years, involved in a local social movement fighting for better environmental policies and public space in one of the City of Warsaw’s districts.
Khaled is CEO and Founder of Karma Lebanon SAL, the leading packer and exporter of fresh Lebanese produce. A consumer-centric advocate, he innovated several processes to optimise farm to consumer cycle and extend produce shelf life in transit. He is active in the agriculture domain and has led several national initiatives to develop and modernise the sector. He is also Chairman of the External Advisory Board at the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science at The American University of Beirut and Secretary General of Harvard Business School Alumni Club of Lebanon.
Khaled is currently interested in creating national awareness about the importance of agriculture and its role in promoting democracy and alleviating poverty, mainly through education and developing a favourable eco-system for private sector intervention in the sector.
João is a parliamentary advisor at the Brazilian Federal Senate and has been in public service for eighteen years in various positions. He has served as a Member of the Brazilian National Congress (2015-2019); Mayor of Blumenau/SC (2005-2012), the third-largest city in the Santa Catarina State; Member of the Santa Catarina State Legislative Assembly (2003-2004), Santa Catarina State Secretary for Health (2015-2016), CEO of the Santa Catarina Development Bank (2013-2014) and CEO of the Southern Brazil Electrical Power Transmission Company (2001-2002).
He holds a BA in History (Federal University of Santa Catarina) and a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration (Santa Catarina State University).
Lior currently works as the advisor to the Mayor of Rahat, a city in the south of Israel. The city of Rahat was built by the government in the 70s for the Bedouin nomad community. Lior deals there with strategic planning, project managing, planning annual work plans and assisting the mayor with high priority tasks.
He has a BA in Business and Politics and a Master’s in Public Policy. Lior participated in an excellence program conducted by the government that aims to train tomorrow’s local government leaders in Israel. He has profound knowledge and field experience in development of unserved communities in Israel.
Jan has over ten years of experience in real estate investment and finance. The formative years of Jan’s career were spent at JPMorgan underwriting real estate loans, following construction lending, real estate Private Banking at Wells Fargo and commercial lending thereafter. Most recently Jan worked for a private equity firm in real estate acquisitions covering gateway cities: London, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Boston and Washington D.C.
Throughout his career, Jan was an active advocate with steady interest in sustainable development and Green buildings. In the past few years, Jan’s Green initiative led to direct investments in the buildings that are LEED (US Green Building Council) certified and/or uphold BREEAM (UK) standards.
Rohin currently manages two organisations, Fixing Dad and Boofel Enterprises, their primary focus being upon the media, healthcare and tech environments. Fixing Dad is based in the UK and is currently in the process expanding to nine countries with a vision to create a smart solution that can help empower citizens to tackle, reverse and prevent a range of conditions including diabetes, obesity, heart failure/cardio-vascular disease, mental illness, respiratory illness and some forms of cancer.
Rohin has over twenty years of experience across media, tech/digital and gaming, having led companies globally and been responsible for leading growth, overcoming complex challenges and international expansion for numerous organisations and franchises. To date, he has helped lead five start-ups, five exits, six turnarounds, four global media corporations, one IPO and production/distribution of over three hundred hours of content to one hundred and forty countries.
Rohin graduated in Law from King’s College London and has previously served as CEO for World Poker Tour and Bookie Mania and served as Managing Director/COO/GM roles with appScatter, Active Research, Fox Kids Europe, Lightstream Animation Studios, digital-first inc and in senior exec positions with Nickelodeon Asia-Pacific, Fox Sports USA, PartyGaming and Chiligaming.
Nayoka is Senior Program Manager and Thematic Coordinator for Urban Development at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). She is a development cooperation practitioner with 20 years of experience from the government sector, as well as from bilateral and multilateral financing systems.
In her current position at Sida, Nayoka is responsible for preparing financing decisions and monitoring and analysing the results from Sida’s global urban portfolio which consists of long-term funding to various UN and multilateral agencies, universities, think tanks and international NGOs. She also provides advice to policy and strategic planning processes of the Swedish government and of external partners, and represents Sida in international advisory committees of relevant urban initiatives.
Previously, Nayoka worked as Human Settlements Officer at UN-Habitat headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, where she was responsible for designing and setting up UN-Habitat’s Global Program on Public Space. Nayoka began her professional career in the Philippines working with various development-financed programs and projects.
Stefan is a Registered Architect and Urban Designer. He is an Associate Director at Ethos Urban, a newly created Australian urban consultancy firm with offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Since 2016 Stefan has been involved in establishing a design practice within Ethos Urban. He co-leads the Sydney design team which works alongside town and strategic planners, social strategists, economists and engagement specialist on small to large urban transformation projects for government as well as the private sector. He is also a design studio leader in the Master of Architecture course at the University of New South Wales. His studio focuses on large-scale, multi-use structures and precinct and explores the program, performance and architecture of buildings at a city scale.
His fascination with cities started in his home town of Dresden in Germany which, growing up, was still heavily marked by the impacts of World War II as well as current socialist rule but then swiftly and fundamentally transformed after the collapse of the communism in Eastern Europe. Stefan holds a degree in architecture and urban design from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany but has spent all his working life in Australia.
Langdon is Senior Partner of InnovationLabs LLC, one of the world’s leading innovation consultancies. He works with a global clientele including major corporations, small firms, and governments, to help develop and implement successful innovation programs and projects. He is author, co-author, or editor of 15 books in the fields of innovation and strategy. Some of his works are used as university textbooks worldwide, and he has taught and lectured on six continents.
He is a partner of FutureLab, a technology incubator working at the leading edge of blockchain and quantum technologies, and a board member of the International Association of Innovation Professionals and chair of its annual conference, Innova-Con. He is also Co-Chair of the Innovation Council at RedTeam Engineering, and a Member of the USA Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for ISO 56000, the new global standard for innovation management now under development.
Previously, Langdon was Associate Editor of the International Journal of Innovation Science, and Senior Practice Scholar, Ackoff Center, University of Pennsylvania. He was originally trained in architecture and worked for many years as an apprentice to renowned architect and urbanist Paolo Soleri on the Arcosanti project in Arizona, USA
Michael leads land use and infrastructure regeneration projects in Melbourne Australia. In his current role, he leads a cross and intergovernmental team preparing a transport and land use framework for a large part of the inner city. He is also managing structure planning processes for several major urban renewal and social housing regeneration opportunities.
Previously, Michael worked for large property developers, consultants, and State and local governments in urban development and economic development roles. This included working for a publicly listed company on large master-planned communities, housing and mixed-use projects from inception to completion and preparing an innovation district strategy for the Bays Precinct in Sydney. Michael has qualifications in urban planning, sustainable design and business administration.
Joey is a corporate real estate veteran with twenty-four years of experience in the Philippines. He is currently Vice Chairman and Head of Occupier Services & Commercial Agency for Knight Frank in the Philippines. He engages in major tenant and landlord representation assignments, strategic consulting on development, acquisition, disposition, and investments for Global Fortune 500 companies and select private client groups. He also advises clients on selecting the right labour markets and developing workplace strategies. Prior to joining Knight Frank, he worked for CBRE and Colliers International. He started his career with a local developer gaining extensive experience in residential project investment sales.
Joey is currently the Philippines Chapter Chair for CoreNet Global, a non-profit organization headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA promoting the corporate real estate profession around the globe. He holds academic qualifications in Business Administration (University of Santos Tomas – Philippines), Real Estate Management (De La Salle – College of St. Benilde – Philippines) and recently completed an executive certificate in Real Estate Finance (National University of Singapore).
Arief is the Director of Finance and Business Service of PT Jakarta Industrial Estate, a developer owned by Government of the Republic of Indonesia and Provincial Government of Jakarta. In this role, he is starting an initiative to transform an industrial estate into an integrated development zone, as an integral part of Jakarta’s Urban Regeneration Plan.
Arief originally joined the Ministry of Finance in 2000. During his tenure in the ministry, he played roles in various assignments on modernization of administration system. Following his fruitful career at Ministry of Finance, started 2008 Arief broadening his mindset with contributed in several Indonesian reformation programs funded by multi-donor international agency. He also has been very fortunate to serve as an expert staff for Presidential Office’s National Economic and Industrial Committee, House of Representative’s Committee on State Budget Accountability and Supreme Court assistance team on court modernization.
Arief is a chartered accountant and Magister in Business Law from University of Indonesia School of Law, read economic policy to pursue Master in Public Administration at the National University of Singapore.
Adam leads the Philadelphia Fire Department’s ~3,000 members in protecting the 5th-largest US city from fires and emergencies arising from all hazards; he also directs the city’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM). From 2014-2016, Adam was a Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security for the Commonwealth of Virginia where he helped provide strategic direction, policy advice, and operational coordination for eleven state-wide agencies with an overall budget of more than $3B and 30,000 employees.
His 27-year career spans five states (MD, NC, VA, AZ, and PA) as a chief fire officer, incident commander, company officer, fire and emergency services instructor, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter, swiftwater rescuer, and rescue SCUBA diver. He has directly participated in planning, response, and recovery efforts for multiple Presidentially-declared disasters and National Special Security Events (NSSEs), including the 9/11 tragedy, hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, an earthquake, major blizzards, international sporting competitions, and political gatherings. Beyond public service, Adam co-founded two successful consulting practices advising a wide range of clients on crisis management, resilience, leadership, organizational development, risk analysis, and strategy. He is a 2018 Eisenhower USA Fellow, published author, adjunct faculty member, and has presented around the globe.
Magali is currently working at The Children’s Trust charity in Surrey, looking at their future vision and strategy, and how their estate development can support these. She will also be working from September as a Public Practice associate at Great Ormond Street Hospital. She will be Project Lead for Place Making, leading the public realm around the hospital’s new Children’s Cancer Centre.
Previously, Magali worked for fourteen years at Marks Barfield Architects where she was a director. Specialising in education projects, she led a successful education team there through the BSF years. She worked on many award-winning schools, and more recently on a number of community-led projects, including a potential Centre for Cycling Excellence in Surrey, and an award-winning primary school in Cambridge.
Magali is on the Design South East, Sutton and Brighton design review panels, providing design support to local authorities, developers and communities in the South East. She has also acted as a judge for the Architects Journal. She holds academic qualifications in Architecture (Oxford Brookes University and Architectural Association – UK).
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.
Louis was formerly the Executive Director, Performing Arts of the Hong Kong West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA). He left the position in June 2019 is now having a career break.
Louis joined WKCDA in June 2010 and was responsible for steering the planning and development of the performing arts facilities in the District, and for overseeing the strategies and operating models for these facilities. He played a pivotal role in leading the design and construction of the performing arts facilities, including the Xiqu Centre, Freespace and the Lyric Theatre Complex. He has also overseen a series of public, talent-nurturing and cultural exchange programmes for dance, drama and theatre arts, music and xiqu.
He has over thirty years of experience in arts administration and management. His former roles include Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Centre.
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.
Cecilia is the Executive Director of 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 senior Project Manager who has been managing and delivering construction projects for the past twelve years across various cities in the Middle East region; mainly in Beirut, Dubai, and Doha. Prior to completing her Executive MSc in Cities, her experience had been mostly in private sector projects, predominantly with the multinational consultancy firm AECOM.
Rana has effectively used her recent LSE degree as a bridge to transition to the Development sector starting with her 6-month consultancy project with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) which tackled gender-related challenges faced by Syrian refugees in Lebanon while accessing the housing market. The consultancy findings received wide acclaim by NRC and the key shelter sector actors in Lebanon and beyond. Subsequently, Rana has secured a project management role on an environmental project with a local NGO in Lebanon. The project, funded by the EU as part of a nationwide programme, involves an array of partners (e.g. unions of municipalities, American University of Beirut, specialist consultants etc) and aims at developing an innovative solid waste management solution primarily focused on the 3R’s principle (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).
Rana also 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.
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).
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 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.
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, 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.
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 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.
Tsugumi Harada is founder and director of Kukuru Management and Partners LTD, an independent
consultancy, acting as a coach and management advisor to small innovative enterprises from Asia that have prospects of expanding operational footprints in Europe and beyond. Transforming ideas into lean and scaleable practices, its impact-focused approach in drawing synergies cross-border, cross-function, and cross-culture enables clients to accelerate growth and change within their organisation.
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 market integrations 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 empowerment 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.
As an Architect and Urban Designer trained in South Africa and Australia, Kathi Holt-Damant 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.
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.
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, research-focused 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.
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 long-term 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.
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 (present-day 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 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 a 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.
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 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 practising 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.
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. In recent years, her interests have manifested in the larger realms of sustainable development in communities, exploring ideas about development, planning and infrastructure, while attending conferences, lectures and symposia.
Damyanti’s practice, D Radheshwar Architect (www.dradheshwar.com), uses a collaborative model working with interdisciplinary peer groups in the USA, India and the UK. Increasing global population, rapid urbanisation and the changing environment are challenging communities everywhere: Damyanti’s interest is to participate in studying, analysing and discussing opportunities, solutions and effectively incorporating recommendations in meaningful ways through dialogue with policymakers, implementers and governing entities. She has been inspired by the work of a range of urban thinkers including Saskia Sassen, Mathias Echanove, David Grahame Shane, Ricky Burdett, Henk Ovink, Anuradha Mathur, Dilip da Cunha and Sheila Foster.
Navin Rai is a senior and first class gazetted officer in Planning & Architecture, permanently employed with the Urban Development & Housing Department, Govt. Of Sikkim, India. Navin is responsible for several administrative affairs related to urban governance, monitoring and is in charge of key national flagship missions. He has over twelve years of experience handling a wide range of technical as well as bureaucratic matters.
Navin possesses a Master’s degree in Planning and a Bachelor of Architecture Degree and is equipped with additional expertise in public relations. Currently, he is looking for opportunities to add global expertise and specialisation by undergoing more educational exposure in an institute of international repute, enabling himself to understand emerging trends in planning, sustainable design and mechanisms to understand the creation of economically viable urban infrastructures. He is looking forward to having first-hand experience of how communities participate in local area planning processes in developed countries where citizens are more informed, aware and vocal.
Mike Seyle is 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 practising 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 co-organised 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.