Guest Speakers

Opening Keynote: Bruce Katz, Co-Founder of New Localisms

Bruce J. Katz is the Co-Founder (with Jeremy Nowak) of New Localism Advisors. The mission of the firm is to help cities design, finance and deliver transformative initiatives that promote inclusive and sustainable growth. Katz regularly advises cross-sector urban, metropolitan, national and global leaders on public reforms and private innovations that advance the well-being of metropolitan areas and their countries.

Lyng Brøndum Dyrholm, BO & GRO

Lyng Broendum Dyrholm has been the project developer on the BO & GRO project. With inspiration from positive examples of school gardens and the city garden movement, the project aims to strengthen the bloom of the neighbourhood in the general residential areas through green activities. By working with residents to transform unused grassland into living gardens and activity environments, the goal is to point out new ways of coexistence and well-being.


Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes, Founding Director & Lead Architect of AKKA

Stephanie Akkaoui-Hughes is a world renowned architect and speaker with a distinctive vision and voice. She believes that the most sustainable forms of innovation emerge at the intersection of different fields. Her speeches, workshops and keynotes encourage interaction and innovation, transform approaches and provide for actionable tools. 

Justin Kliger, Connected Places Catapult

Justin Kliger is a Senior Urbanist who recently joined Future Cities Catapult’s Digital Planning and Standards Team with a background in urban design and urban planning.  Justin has over 12 years’ experience working as an urban designer and urban planner in Australia, Israel, Albania and the United Kingdom. Most recently he was Principal Urban Designer of one of London’s fastest growing Boroughs where he contributed to the preparation of a number of the council’s key planning policies and negotiated major development proposals. At Future Cities Catapult Justin is taking a leading role in the digitization of planning including developing concepts and prototyping new tools and innovations that can help reform the field of planning and architecture practice. At present Justin is working on a ground breaking  masterplanning project with a private industry partner to help councils, developers and land owners more efficiently plan for new large scale developments.

Pietro Garau, Urbanist

Pietro Garau, an Italian urbanist, worked for two decades with UN-Habitat, where he led the agency’s research programme. His academic and research work has focused of late on the issue of urban public space as a catalyst for “reconquering the city” through such initiatives as the Rome Biennial of Public Space and the Charter of Public Space. He is also an advocate of rediscovering the human scale of century-old urban neighbourhood design as a sustainable template for dealing with massive global urbanization.

Aleksandra Kazmierczak, European Environment Agency

Aleksandra is an expert in urban climate change adaptation at the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen. Prior to the current job, she was a researcher and lecturer in geography and planning at several British universities. She has worked on various urban sustainability issues alongside adaptation, including assessment of risk from natural hazards such as floods or forest fires, green infrastructure planning, community food growing or urban regeneration.

Closing Keynote: Helle Søholt, Gehl

Helle is Founding Partner and CEO of Gehl. She started Gehl with Professor Jan Gehl in 2000. Through her leadership, strategic and organizational talent, the office has developed a knowledge base and experience portfolio that is respected internationally in the field of urban design and urban development. Over the years of its existence, Gehl has been awarded multiple prizes and recognitions for their contribution to making cities more livable and sustainable around the world.