Congress / Speakers

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Steven Bee AoU
Chairman, The Academy of Urbanism
Steven became Chairman of the Academy at the beginning of 2014, having been a Director since 2011 and an Academician since 2008. He is a chartered town planner, and established his practice, Steven Bee Urban Counsel, in 2010, providing advice, guidance and expert support to those engaged in development. He was born and educated in Nottingham before graduating from the then Lanchester Polytechnic (Coventry) in 1977 with a degree in Urban and Regional Planning. He has over 30 years’ experience of planning and development at local and national level, in the public and private sectors. He was an Executive Board member of English Heritage for eight years, responsible for the body’s engagement with planning and development across England, and before that Director of Planning and Development Services at Winchester City Council for five. He was a Director of Llewelyn-Davies with whose planning practice he worked for 11 years, after nine years with the London Borough of Lewisham. His professional expertise covers community planning, urban renewal, tourism development, public transport planning, environmental assessment, masterplanning, development frameworks and planning briefs, conservation and development of historic places, town centre development, research and policy formulation. He is also an Executive Committee member of the Historic Towns Forum and a member of the Urban Design Group. He is a member of New London Architecture’s Sounding Board, and a former CABE enabler and regional representative.
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Sir Albert Bore
Leader, Birmingham City Council
Sir Albert Bore was elected as a member of Birmingham City Council in 1980, and he has taken a major role in the regeneration of the city ever since. From 1984 to 1993 he chaired the City’s Economic Development Committee. Since the mid 1980’s he has held company directorships of both Aston Science Park and the National Exhibition Centre. He is also a Director of Marketing Birmingham. He is currently Leader of Birmingham City Council and was previously from 1999-2004. Since 1994 Sir Albert has been one of the Government appointed members of the European Union’s Committee of the Regions, and was President from 2002-2004. He was Chairman of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust from December 2006 until November 2013. He has published and lectured widely across Europe and internationally on the subject of city-building, urban renewal, devolution and local governance.
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Henk Bouwman AoU
Director, The Academy of Urbanism
Henk Bouwman established his own urbanism practice Urban-imPulse (UiP) in 1998. UiP specialises in managing urban change and innovation in Places of Connection: city centers and station districts in Europe and Asia. Urban-imPulse is based in London and the Netherlands. Henk is currently working for the Independent Transport Commission ITC consulting on the spatial impact of High Speed Rail on UK cities. Next he is leading a scenario study on UK Rail 2065 for the Forseight programme for the Government Office for Science. And he is working on how to implement cycling in UK streets! He has held a number of academic posts and is currently teaching at the Academies in Amsterdam and Tilburg and he is director of the Academy of Urbanism in London.
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Tim Challans AoU
Director, Challans Consulting
Tim Challans qualified and worked as a Planner in the London Boroughs of Lewisham and Tower Hamlets, before changing course and working in regional arts administration in the East Midlands. During this time he co-ordinated the National Arts and Media Strategy at the then Arts Council of Great Britain. Moving back into local government he ran the Leisure and Culture Services of Nottinghamshire County Council and later, the Leisure, Culture and Lifelong Learning Services for the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall. Tim was the lead officer for health strategy at Walsall, working closely with the NHS and other local authority departments. Following retirement from local government he set up Challans Consulting, specialising in cultural policy and planning. Tim has also advised on national museums policy; is a Trustee of Nottingham Playhouse; chair of both Nottingham Playhouse Trading Ltd and City Arts Nottingham; and a Director of the annual Ashbourne Festival. Tim has been lead assessor for both the Great Neighbourhood and Great Town Awards, for The Academy of Urbanism, where he has been able to apply his knowledge, interest and experience in cultural policy and urban planning.
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Steve Dallaway
Development Manager, Housing Development Team, Birmingham City Council
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Dr Nicholas Falk
Director, URBED
Nicholas founded URBED in 1976 and is an economist, urbanist and strategic planner. He specialises in helping towns and cities plan and deliver urban regeneration and sustainable growth. He is co-author of URBED’s submission on Uxcester Garden City that won the 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize. He has been advising Grosvenor Developments and Oxford City Council on the urban extension to Oxford at Barton, and previously produced the Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth. He is co-author of publications such as Sustainable Urban Neighbourhoods: building the 21st century home with David Rudlin, Regeneration in European Cities: making connections, and contributed to Sir Peter Hall’s last book Good Cities Better Lives: how Europe discovered the lost art of urbanism.


Shirley Hall
Community and Well-being Manager, Extra-Care Charitable Trust


Glenn Howells
Director, Glenn Howells Architects
Glenn Howells Architects have established a national reputation over the last 25 years for designing innovative buildings and shaping areas of UK cities through masterplanning projects. Their most notable projects include the Savill Building in Windsor Great Park and The Brammal Building at University of Birmingham. Current projects includes Royal Wharf, a new riverside 6000 home quarter in East London and Paradise Circus, a mixed use the first major piece of Birmingham’s Big City Plan. Outside of the practice Glenn Howells sits on a number of advisory boards. He is on the board of Birmingham Hippodrome and chair of Warwick University Building Committee, IKON Gallery and the West Midlands regional architecture centre MADE. Glenn remains an advisor for CABE where he previously was a member of the national design review panel and the 2012 Olympic design review team.
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Charles Landry AoU
Founder, Comedia
Charles Landry is well known for having developed the concept of the ‘Creative City’ in the late 1980’s. Its central idea is how cities in transformation can think, plan and act with more imagination in order to address the dramatic changes happening around them. Charles helps cities transform their thinking so that they reassess their potential and can plan their future with greater purpose and originality. He assesses the interplay and the impacts of deeper global trends and attempts to ground these in practical initiatives. He is an authority on creativity and its uses and how city futures are shaped by paying attention to the culture of a place. He inspires, stimulates, challenges and facilitates transformation. Charles founded Comedia, a highly respected globally orientated consultancy working in creativity, culture and urban change. He has completed numerous assignments for a variety of public and private clients and given key note addresses and workshops in over 55 countries.
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Shaleen Meelu
Public Health Nutrition Specialist, Public Health Birmingham and Co-Founder of Harborne Food School
Shaleen has worked in public health for over a decade and most recently updated national guidance to Healthier, More Sustainable Catering for Public Health England. She set up the Harborne Food School this year to support the public to make healthier, more sustainable food choices and was nominated as a ‘One to Watch’ business leader by the Birmingham Post. She is currently a consultant to Birmingham City Council and provides strategic advice and expert input on nutrition and child obesity with a focus on creating a ‘Healthier Food Environment’ in Birmingham.
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Charles Montgomery
Urban experimentalist and Author
Can the shape of your city affect how happy you are? Yes, says Charles Montgomery, who explores the intersection of urban design and the new science of happiness. In psychology, neuroscience, and behavioural economics, and in cityscapes from Disneyland to Dubai, he finds the link between the ways we think about risk and reward and the ways we design our cities. An award-winning author and urban experimentalist, Charles Montgomery is the author of Happy City, where he has used insights in happiness science to drive high-profile experiments that help citizens transform their relationships with each other and their cities. His Home for the Games initiative, for example, tested the limits of trust, convincing hundreds of residents to open their homes to strangers during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Working with the BMW Guggenheim Lab and the citizens of New York City, he used mobile apps to map the psychology of public space. He is currently working with the Museum of Vancouver to build programs that invite everyone to treat the city as a laboratory. Montgomery’s writings on urban planning, psychology, culture, and history have appeared in magazines and journals on three continents. Among his awards is a Citation of Merit from the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society for outstanding contribution towards public understanding of climate change science. Montgomery has advised and lectured planners, students, and decision-makers across America, Canada, and England. His first book, The Last Heathen, won the 2005 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction and vigorous praise from reviewers in The New York Times, The Guardian and elsewhere.
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Sadie Morgan
Chair, HS2 Design Panel and Co-Founder, dRMM Architects
The studio was awarded the Scheuco Gold Architect of the Year Award 2013-2014 for ‘the most significant contribution to British Architecture over the past year’. This success was followed in 2015 by the Housing Architect of the Year Award, in recognition of dRMM’s work on significant regeneration projects in London. These include the residential building, Faraday House, for the Battersea Power Station masterplan; the 2012 Athletes’ Village, Stratford; a residential scheme forming part of the Elephant & Castle redevelopment. Sadie guest lectures both nationally and internationally and has sat on design competition juries including the Building Awards, The British Construction Industry Awards, and The World Architecture Festival Awards. Her advisory roles have included the London Festival of Architecture and the Central London Partnership 2012 legacy strategic taskforce, as well as the RIBA National Awards Advisory panel. Sadie was honorary treasurer of the Architectural Association (AA) between 2009 and 2013. As of June 1st 2013 she became the youngest ever President of the AA in its 175-year history. In March 2015, Sadie was appointed as Design Chair – leading the body that will oversee the design of High Speed Two (HS2). She was shortlisted for the AJ Woman Architect of the Year award 2014 in recognition of her twenty-year career of leadership at the forefront of an industry characterised by men.
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Charlene Mulhern
Childhood Obesity Co-ordinator, Public Health Birmingham
Charlene left the Emerald Isle in 2006 to join the Public Health Team in Birmingham. Over the last two years she has led on the implementation of Fit for the Future; Birmingham’s Childhood Obesity Strategy. This involves influencing senior leaders and working in partnership with multi-agencies to ensure that evidence-based approaches to improve healthy eating and physical activity for young people are developed and commissioned. Charlene is an active member of the All-Party Parliamentary group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood and is a graduate of Common Purpose, a leadership programme aimed at emerging leaders.
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Waheed Nazir
Director of Planning & Regeneration, Birmingham City Council
Waheed Nazir has been in this role since 2010, although has worked for the local authority since 1999, with previous roles including Director of Regeneration, Assistant Director for Development Planning, as well as CEO of SRB6. Waheed is responsible for providing strategic leadership, vision and direction across a wide portfolio, including planning, regeneration, economic development and housing. He has been instrumental in shaping a new approach to transformational change across Birmingham, overseeing the Big City Plan, a 20 year vision to encourage and support the continued transformation of a world class city centre; the Birmingham Development Plan, the statutory framework which will guide decisions on development and regeneration in Birmingham up to 2031, and more recently the Birmingham Curzon HS2 Masterplan, which sets out the Council’s aspirations for the new HS2 terminus station and the wider regeneration potential of what will be one of the biggest urban regeneration schemes in the UK. Waheed has been involved in a number of national groups supporting national policy, such as HS2, financial tools to unlock growth, and planning policy.
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Michael Parkinson
Partner, Peter Brett Associates


Ben Percival
Sport and Leisure Service Manager, Leisure and Community Health, Walsall Council
Ben Percival is a 23 year veteran of Leisure Management in local government and is currently Sport and Leisure Service Manager for Walsall Council in the West Midlands. Starting his career in Stoke-on-Trent and with degrees from Manchester and Staffordshire Universities, Ben has explored the principles of performance management and how a focus on specific outcomes is essential to drive cultural change within organisations. Having managed services as disparate as miniature golf to residential outdoor education, alongside the more conventional services of leisure centres and sports development, Ben believes that a culture of quality management and clarity of purpose are crucial to all successful endeavours. After 14 years in Stoke, Ben moved to Walsall, which is currently in the midst of a major change programme having secured funding for a £24m replacement of two of the borough’s leisure centres. The new Active Living centres will deliver the next stage of the transformation of Walsall into an active borough.
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Dr Adrian Phillips
Director, Public Health Birmingham
Adrian qualified in medicine from Birmingham University in 1985. He spent his formative years in acute hospital medicine, treating many “avoidable illnesses”, especially coronary heart disease, lung cancer and chronic lung diseases. Later he specialised in population medicine and completed his training in public health in 1997. Following this he was appointed Joint Director of Public Health in Wolverhampton in 2000. In October 2012 he moved back to Birmingham as Director of Public Health. Adrian’s primary interests are the interplay between public health and regeneration. He is also interested in applying business quality principles within public services by applying evidence in large-scale, industrial interventions. Adrian is a strong advocate for using Behavioural Economics as a means to improve health and wellbeing and not just company profit.


Prof Peter Roberts AoU
Vice-Chairman, Northern Ireland Housing Executive
Professor Peter Roberts is Vice Chair of NIHE, Professor Emeritus at the University of Leeds, visiting Professor at the University of Ulster and Honorary Professor at Queen’s University, Belfast. His research and professional interests cover a range of topics, including strategic planning, regeneration, housing and community development. In recent years he has served on a number of public bodies, including the Academy for Sustainable Communities (Chair) and the Homes and Communities Agency (non-executive director). He has also been active for many years in academic and professional organisations and has published widely across his fields of interest. His research and practice interests have also caused him to be involved in several expert committees and task forces, including the roles of Chair of the Byker Task Force and Chair of the Oldham Beyond Group. He is currently chairing an inquiry into the long-term future of the Dearne Valley.
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Janet Sutherland AoU
Director, The Academy of Urbanism
Janet is a freelance consultant specialising in housing and regeneration, with over 30 years’ experience creating sustainable development and communities in local government, housing associations, the voluntary and private sectors. She has been involved in housing for older people, urbanism, neighbourhood renewal and effective community engagement throughout her career. She is a consultant to the Housing LIN, and author of Viewpoints on Downsizing and case studies of good practice. She has evaluated schemes for older people (Coastline) and researched what older people seek in mainstream housing for JTP, as well as work with housing associations and developers. In 2012 she worked with CCHPR for the Greater London Authority (GLA) on Housing Choices for Older Londoners, as part of the revision of the London Plan. She is currently delivering affordable home ownership in London with Pocket Living. Janet was previously Director, JTP Cities; and held senior Housing positions with the London Boroughs of Lewisham and Camden. She is a Director of The Academy of Urbanism, a Board Member and Chair of the Services Delivery Committee of Aldwyck Housing Group, CIOH and FRSA.
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Rachel Toms
Active by Design Programme Leader, Cabe at Design Council
Rachel leads the Design Council’s Active by Design programme, which helps clients create places in which physical activity is an integral part of everyday life. She previously worked as client at Hounslow and Croydon Councils, embedding excellent design into projects to re-activate high streets and listed buildings. Prior to that, Rachel established and ran a national design advice programme for school renewal projects at CABE. A chartered landscape architect, Rachel has delivered public space projects in the UK, Ireland, India and Nepal.


Michael Walsh
Senior Service Manager – Policy and Commissioning, Public Health Birmingham
Michael works within the Housing Strategy, Policy and Commissioning team at Birmingham City Council. With a background of working in local authority strategic roles he is interested in planning for the current and future housing needs and aspirations of residents. Recent work includes leading on the development of a Market Position Statement for older people’s housing, exploring the mismatch between current supply and demand and highlighting the gaps in the provision of accommodation that will enable a growing number of older citizens to remain living independently in a home of their own.
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Stephen Willacy
City Architect, City of Aarhus
Stephen has the overall architectural professional responsibility for achieving architectural quality for large-scale plans and projects for Aarhus since August 2012. Since moving to Denmark in 1984 Stephen has worked with two of Denmark’s most acclaimed architectural firms, Kjær & Richter and Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects. He was formerly Associate Professor at Aarhus School of Architecture, visiting Professor at Arizona State University, and written numerous articles and participated in international conferences seminars and workshops. He was an integral part of the creative management team together with the 4 other partners. Chief areas of responsibility included winning prestigious international award winning projects such University of Aberdeen New Library, City of Westminster College at Paddington Green in London. On the basis of this success Stephen was partner responsible for establishing Schmidt Hammer Lassen base in London. Later he spearheaded developing the Chinese market and established their office in Shanghai. Stephen developed the companies Research and Development strategies by utilising his extensive teaching and research experience.