This page will be regularly updated with speakers. Please continue to check this page for the latest information.

Alex Bottrill
Urban Designer, Sustrans

Alex Bottrill is an urban designer with a background in youth and community work and an interest in mental health. His work has taken him as far north as Elgin and as far south as Exeter, working at micro and macro scale, while keeping a people-centred focus. Alex leads Sustrans’ Liveable Cities and Towns programme, promoting effective community collaboration and an inter-professional approach, that brings the right mix of people together to share in achieving the best outcome for everyone.

Dr Ammar Azzouz  
Architect & Analyst working at Arup 
Dr Ammar Azzouz is a London based architect working at Arup. He is a Short Term Research Associate at the University of Oxford. Ammar studied architecture in Homs, Syria, before he moved to the UK to complete his PhD at the University of Bath. He is an editor at Arab Urbanism, and a collective member of City Journal. Ammar has written several articles which have been published by several platforms including the Independent, the New Statesman and the Architects’ Journal. 

Alessandra Riccetti
Public Space Designer, City of Amsterdam

Public Space Designer for the City of Amsterdam, Alessandra works in the development of the Integral Design Method Public Space. Her field is strategic design from plan area, street levels to processes for system innovation. Her background is in Environmental Technology Design, Architecture (Polytechnic University of Milan – Italy).

Andrew Burrell
Chair, The Academy of Urbanism

Andrew Burrell studied architecture and planning at the Architectural Association in London and at the University of Edinburgh. He worked as a consultant in both the public and private sectors in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh prior to forming the UK’s first professionally-recognised architect/developer company.

Araceli Camargo  
Neuroscientist, Lab Director & Co-Founder  

Araceli is a lead scientist at Centric Lab and a cognitive neuroscientist focused on how people interact with urban environments. Araceli Camargo is of Turtle Island Peoples descent and holds an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience from King’s College London.

Bart Somers
Mayor of Mechelen, Belgium

Bart Somers is a Flemish politician, member of the Open Vld party. He has been minister-president of the region of Flanders, party president, Group Chairman for Open Vld in the Flemish Parliament and president of the ALDE-group in the Committee of the Regions. Since 2001 he is Mayor of Mechelen and in 2016 he was awarded the World Mayor Prize for his outstanding efforts in the long-term integration of immigrants from different cultures, religions and social backgrounds. He transformed Mechelen from a grey and neglected city into one of the most attractive places in Belgium and at the same time into a worldwide role model for integration. In October 2019, he became Vice minister-president of the Flemish Government and Flemish Minister for Home Affairs, Administrative Affairs, Civic Integration and Equal Opportunities.

Christina Sinclair 
Director of Edinburgh World Heritage 
Christina Sinclair is the Director of Edinburgh World Heritage and an Associate for the Design Council. She studied architecture at Edinburgh University, before going on to specialise in managing change in the historic environment across the public, private and charity sectors. 

Claire Daly
Head of Policy and Communication, Sustrans Scotland

Claire Daly is the Head of Policy and Communications, Sustrans Scotland. She is responsible for all aspects of Sustrans Scotland’s policy work, ensuring Sustrans contributes to policy thinking on transport, planning, environment and public health. She also leads Sustrans Scotland’s communications, telling the story of our work in Scotland, and highlighting the benefits of active travel for all. Claire is particularly interested in how make the urban environment work at a human level. By making places more attractive for walking, wheeling and cycling, we create more liveable cities and towns for everyone. We also promote health and wellbeing while developing climate resilience.

Daisy Narayanan
Mobility and Placemaking Senior Manager, The City of Edinburgh Council  
Daisy Narayanan leads on delivering a city-wide integrated approach to transport and placemaking. 

Daisy is on the Board of Architecture & Design Scotland and a member of the Evidence Group for Scotland’s Climate Assembly. She was on the Active Travel Task Force set up by the Minister for Transport and the Islands and is a member of the Scottish Transport Awards judging panel.  Daisy is also an Academician at the AoU. 

Drawing on her previous experience working as an architect and urban designer in India, Singapore, England and Scotland, Daisy believes passionately in the importance of creating places for people: places that reflect and complement the communities that live in them.

Diarmaid Lawlor
Diarmaid Lawlor
Associate Director for place, Scottish Futures Trust

Diarmaid is the Associate Director for place at the Scottish Futures Trust. An urbanist, with a multi disciplinary background, he has worked on the shaping and implementation of complex and connected urban policy, community and investment change across the UK and Europe. He is a facilitator, educator, and collaborator who writes and speaks on creative approaches to making places better around the lived experience of communities.

Elena Lacort
Climate Energy Officer, Metropolitan Area of Barcelona

Elena Lacort is an environmental technician for 13 years in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. She has a degree in Environmental Sciences by Barcelona University and did a master’s degree in environmental engineering by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Her scope of experience ranges from the analysis of data and environmental indicators, environmental management systems, carbon footprint calculation for organizations and the design of some awareness activities. During last years, she has focused on the field of climate change impact assessment and studies, mitigation and adaptation planning, with its peak in the climate emergency declaration of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.

Elliot Page
Elliot Page
Director, Transport, Stantec

Elliot has significant experience in a wide range of transportation and development planning issues relevant to residential, commercial, education, mixed use planning applications and wider transport master planning matters. Elliot has management responsibility for some of the largest projects in the Midlands and East region and is based in our Cambridge office. Elliot has managed teams that have helped devise transport strategies for Waterbeach New Town, Luton Town Football Club and the redevelopment of Cambridge Airport. These schemes all have sustainable transport solutions at their heart and Elliot is an advocate transport contributing and enabling positive placemaking in our towns and cities.

Filipe Ferreira
Metropolitan Secretary, Lisbon Metropolitan Area

Filipe Ferreira has worked in several municipalities from Lisbon Metropolitan Area (LMA) in Social Cohesion, International Relations and EU projects. Since 2014 is working at LMA as Metropolitan Secretary and its main areas of interest are territorial planning, EU funding, training, territorial instruments management, economic development and public procurement. He was co-coordinator of the LMA 2030 Regional Strategy and is LMA focal point regarding ESPON METRO consortium. Currently is working in the preparation of 2030 EU funding period and in the Recovery and Recuperation Program projects in Lisbon Metropolitan Area.

Francesca Prestinoni
Francesca Prestinoni
Environmental Planner, Stantec

Francesca is an Assistant Environmental Planner who first joined Stantec in 2018. Francesca works within the Energy, Environment and Infrastructure team and, since joining, has gained experience across a range of environmental and sustainability disciplines. Francesca specialises in innovative, smart energy technologies including EVs and solar PVs. Francesca has conducted Net Zero, Energy and Sustainability strategies for land development projects, as well as decarbonisation plans and techno-economic models to support these. Francesca is currently leading the UK Developing Professionals Group (DPG). Francesca’s academic background includes BSc in Sustainability and Environmental Management and MSc in Environmental Technology (major in Economics) at Imperial College London.

Hilary Kidd 
Smart Services Director, Young Scot

Hilary Kidd is Smart Services Director at Young Scot, the national youth information and citizenship charity for 11-26 year olds in Scotland. She leads on the strategic development and implementation of Young Scot’s smart-service programmes including the Young Scot National Entitlement Card and Young Scot Membership. A qualified Solicitor, Hilary has spent the majority of her career in the third sector, working with youth and community organisations. Currently Vice-President of the European Youth Card Association, a non-governmental association of 36 country partners across Europe, Hilary also sits on the Boards of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and the UK’s national proof of age accreditation scheme (PASS).

Heather Claridge
Principal, Neighbourhoods, Regeneration and Sustainability, Glasgow City Council

Heather is an Urban Planner, Designer and Geographer with 13 years public sector experience. She was recently seconded to Architecture & Design Scotland for 20 months to develop a new ‘carbon conscious places’ service, working with local authorities on place planning and advising the Scottish Government on NPF 4. Previously, at Glasgow City Council, she helped support creative partnerships within Glasgow’s Canal Corridor, led temporary urbanism initiatives, developed green and blue infrastructure and community lighting projects. She is an AoU Academician, co-chair of the Scottish AoU advisory group, an affiliate of the UN Habitat’s Planners for Climate Action and RTPI Urban Design Champion for Scotland.

Dr. Husam AlWaer
University of Dundee

Husam is an architect, planner and urbanist, with a background in architecture, urban planning and sustainability. He is currently Reader in Sustainable Urban Design at the University of Dundee and has worked with various UK and International governmental and corporate agencies on research, training and engagement projects. Husam is an award-winning author with published work on a wide range of subjects from architecture, urbanism, sustainability and healthy neighbourhoods to the specifics of placemaking facilitation and performance evaluation He brings insight to research, teaching, community stakeholder engagement and professional practice at the intersection between theoretical and contemporary policy and practice.

Dr. Ian Walker
Department of Psychology, University of Bath

Dr. Ian Walker is an environmental psychologist at the University of Bath (although he is just about to move to the University of Surrey, if you ever need to find him again). He splits his time between research on traffic safety, transport choices, and energy and water consumption. With a long track record of working alongside architects and civil engineers, Ian is currently involved in such large-scale projects as the Active Building Centre (helping future buildings generate more energy than they consume), VSimulators (studying human responses to structural motion), FORESEE (a Horizon 2020 project on resilient transport infrastructure) and ZED-i (towards zero-energy buildings in India).

Javier Iñigo
Principal Urban Designer, Jacobs

Javier is an architect and urban designer with more than twelve years of international experience focused on the design of strategic regeneration areas. Ranging through different scales between architecture and urban planning, his broad experience provides a good understanding of the processes that build cities and the ability to deliver through different stages. At Jacobs, Javier has led urban planning teams in strategic projects for various cities in the UK and Europe, recently being the lead urban designer for Edinburgh City Centre Transformation Strategy and Belfast City Centre Vision.

Jenny Ritchie
Jenny Ritchie
Transport Economist, Stantec

Jenny joined Stantec as a Graduate Transport Economist in 2018 after completing her BSc Economics (Hons) at the University of St Andrews. She is based in Edinburgh and has been involved in several large-scale transport projects across Scotland. Jenny specialises in data analysis and stakeholder engagement while having a firm understanding of STAG (Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance). During the pandemic Jenny carried out analysis for Transport Scotland examining traffic levels throughout the country and more recently has had a key role in the development of the new SEStran (South East Scotland) Regional Transport Strategy.

John Swinney
John Swinney MSP
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery

John Swinney joined the Scottish National Party in 1979 and went on to graduate from Edinburgh University with an MA (Hons) in Politics. He has worked for the Scottish Coal Project, Development Options and Scottish Amicable. Prior to his election as Westminster MP for North Tayside in 1997, he held a number of posts in the SNP at local and national level. In 1999, he became the MSP for Tayside North, remaining as the constituency’s MP until standing down from Westminster at the 2001 General Election. From 1998 to 2000, he served as deputy leader of the SNP, and then as party leader between 2000 and 2004. He was re-elected as an MSP at the 2011 Scottish Parliament election and appointed Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth. He was appointed as Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy in November 2014. In 2016 he was appointed Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

Julie Plichon
Julie Plichon
Interim Programme Manager, Climate Change and Transport, London Borough of Islington

Julie Plichon is an urban designer and planner, currently working for Islington Council’s people-friendly streets programme. Her work encompasses the delivery of low traffic neighbourhood, School Streets and engagement with local residents. She is also a passionate active travel advocate, with a focus on inclusive design and human-centred public realm. Her role at the Academy is mainly with the Young Urbanists, as a steering committee member.

Kier Ramsey
Keir Ramsay
Environmental Advisor, Stantec

Keir joined Stantec as a Graduate Environmental Advisor in 2018, after completing an Msci in Geography at Lancaster University. Keir specialises in the environmental de-risking of projects in the water industry, as well as environmental mapping. An avid urban cyclist, Keir has a keen interest in how we design our towns and cities to be more user-friendly, ecologically sustainable, and reducing our societal reliance on private car ownership.

Kevin Murray
Director, Kevin Murray Associates and Founding Director and Past Chair of The Academy of Urbanism

Kevin Murray is an experienced spatial planner and urban strategist, with a specialism in facilitating community and stakeholder engagement. Kevin is a Past President and Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and a Founding Director and Past Chair of The Academy of Urbanism (AoU). He regularly facilitates the development of visions and strategies, action plans and development projects, with and for a range of communities, developers and Councils. Kevin is also Honorary Professor of Planning at Glasgow and Dundee Universities, where he has been a tutor on applied work around the planning of neighbourhoods.

Marina Vasarini Lopes
Public Space Designer, City of Amsterdam

Marina Vasarini Lopes works in the development of the Integral Design Method Public Space. Her areas of expertise are programming of streets, subsurface infrastructure, stakeholder engagement and mobility. Her background is in Architecture (University of São Paulo – Brazil) and Urban Planning (University of Amsterdam – The Netherlands)

Mei-Yee Man Oram
Access and Inclusive Environments Lead at Arup

Mei-Yee Man Oram evaluates the accessibility & inclusivity of the built environment in relation to the local & national requirements, social / cultural setting, and best practice. As part of her work, she also considers the changing trends and demographics of our societies to address future requirements of a diverse population. Mei is a Consultant Member of the National Register of Access Consultants (NRAC), an International Access Consultant under the CPABE certification and is also a WELL Community, Homes and Health Equity advisor for the International WELL Buildings Institute, helping for shape healthier spaces for all.

Michael Parkinson
Michael Parkinson
Director, Community Development, Stantec

Michael leads Stantec’s Community Development activities across the North of England and Scotland. He is a civil engineer passionate about creating places for communities that adapt and evolve to the ever changing needs of today’s society. Michael loves to bring together technical inputs from across the Built Environment and formulate solutions for the benefit of communities.

Michele Grant
Director, The Academy of Urbanism and Director of Bluesail

Michele has built her professional reputation around futures planning for places and organisations, working predominantly in the tourism and cultural sectors, taking a strong place based approach. Her natural working environment is at the heart of small creative teams and she has worked at Director-level in consultancy for over 20 years predominantly for public sector clients across the UK and Ireland. She has taken a step back from consultancy to create time for other ventures and remains an Associate Director for Blue Sail. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Academy of Urbanism and has led the Academy’s Great Towns Award for several years.

Milena Martinez
Milena Martinez
Transport Planner, Stantec

Milena joined Stantec at the end of 2019 after previous experience in a London-based multidisciplinary consultancy. She holds a Master of Architecture (RIBA Pt II) from the University of Madrid, and a MSc in Transport and City Planning from University College London (UCL). She is based in Reading and has been involved in the preparation of planning applications for various mixed use residential-led schemes across England, and recently has supported developers in the promotion of various sites for allocation in local plans. Milena has broad experience in the preparation of Transport Assessments, Travel Plans and other transport-related planning documents and firm understanding of data analysis tools and methods required for the preparation of these. During the first quarter of 2021, Milena carried out analysis to inform the potential effects of the pandemic on travel patterns and impacts on the highway network during peak periods, with the aim to develop a methodology that can be used in the preparation of transport planning documents. She also reviewed and prepared a presentation on the new guidance on the ‘Decide and Provide’ approach developed by TRICS, which aims to improve the resilience of planning decisions about transport provision by taking account of deep uncertainty about the future.

Cllr Neil Gardiner
Convenor, Planning Committee, The City of Edinburgh Council
Councillor Neil Gardiner is Convenor of Edinburgh’s Planning Committee, providing political leadership for City Plan 2030, and is also Convenor of Pentland Hills Regional Park Committee. Neil also sits on the boards of Edinburgh World Heritage and Edinburgh and Lothians Green Space Trust. Neil studied architecture at Glasgow School of Art and as an exchange student at Lund University in Sweden. He has worked as an architect and urban designer in Berlin, Sao Paulo, Sydney and London as well as Scotland. He has also tutored in architecture and lectured in urban design at universities in Australia. As well as helping to raise a family in the city and following a local football team, Neil is also passionate about the sustainable future of Scotland’s Capital City.

Paul Lawrence
Executive Director of Place, The City of Edinburgh Council

Paul Lawrence joined the Council in late 2015. Prior to this, he was the Corporate Director for Place at Stockport Council – one of the ten local authorities in the Greater Manchester city region, with a similar range of responsibilities. Paul started his working life in the cultural sector, before being appointed as Head of Cultural and Economic Development at Newcastle City Council in 2000. He later became Assistant Chief Executive with responsibility for Economic Policy, City Region Partnerships, and Corporate Communications.

Peter Freeman
Peter Freeman
Co-founder, Argent Group, Chair, Homes England

After qualifying as a lawyer, Peter formed the Argent Group of property companies with his brother in 1981. Argent is particularly known for major mixed-use projects like Brindleyplace in Birmingham, and King’s Cross and Brent Cross Town in London. Peter has also been a non-executive director on several other property companies and a trustee of a number of charities connected with education, combating intolerance, and public performance art. He was shortlisted for the Wolfson Economic Prize on delivering garden cities in 2014 and was until October 2020 Chair of Mayfield Market Towns Ltd. Peter was the principal author of the 2020 Housing Sprint Report and became Chair of Homes England in October 2020.

Professor Pippa Catterall
Professor of History and Policy at the University of Westminster

Professor Pippa Catterall is Chair of the George Lansbury Memorial Trust, a member of the London Historic Environments Forum and co-editor of the journal National Identities. In addition to her extensive publications on various aspects of British history and contemporary policy, she has written widely about her experiences as a trans woman, queer heritage and (mis)representations of history and identities in public space.

Sam Cassels
Sam Cassels
Place Principal Adviser, Scottish Government

Sam is a strategic designer and facilitator with a focus on collaboration and place. He has worked on significant programmes involving the implementation of change for over 100 organisations internationally across the public and private sectors, helping them make well informed decisions about fundamental strategic investments. He has over 30 years of experience and has qualifications in architecture and economics.

Sohaib Alhashimi
Sohaib Alhashimi
Assistant Utilities Engineer, Stantec

Sohaib comes from a Chemical Engineering background. He started his professional career in 2017 following his graduation from the University of Birmingham, working in the Utilities and Infrastructure industry. Sohaib is the Deputy Chair for the Midlands Professional Development Network – the youth wing for the Pipeline Industries Guild. Since 2019, Sohaib has been working with Stantec Utilities Team, specialising in enabling future developments. His experience ranges from forecasting developments energy demand, planning new supplies and connections, to planning diversions. Sohaib is also passionate about sustainability planning and renewable energy, and he has been involved in planning future garden villages.

Stuart Turnbull
Director, Transport Planning, Jacobs

Stuart Turnbull leads the 85 strong transport planning team across Scotland and Ireland. He has extensive experience in leading complex high profile multi-discipline transport planning projects. He has currently leading on a three-year commission for Transport Scotland to undertake a review of the strategic transport network in Scotland and is Framework Director on a three-year commission to provide advice to the City of Edinburgh Council on a range of transport planning issues, including the future extension of the mass transit system in the city.