Dr Savvas Verdis, Senior Research Fellow at LSE Cities and Co-Director of the Executive MSc in Cities at the London School of Economics provided a fascinating theoretical insight into the acceleration of urban change. Under the Three Horizons Framework, where perspectives of change are categorised as Transformative (Visionary), Disruptive (Entrepreneurial) or Business as Usual (Managerial) Savvas explored systematic thinking and how to instigate change away from dominant systems.
Paula Petkova, Anthropologist at Foster + Partners spoke with great passion about ethnographic encounters in the United Arab Emirates, and understanding people, places and provocations. She challenged the audience to think about how the built environment can return to being people orientated and explored the reality through the eyes of six inspirational women that she met on her trip. It was a poignant study set against the juxtaposition of the rapid pace of development and the strong cultural traditions of the country.
Matthew Jessop, Director of Landscape and Urban Design at WSP, explored biodiversity in the city and the practical actions we can collectively take to encourage positive change. Taking the audience on a journey around sustainable futures and healthy cities, he explained the synergy between urbanisation (reduced interaction with the natural environment) and the impacts on human perspective (mental health and wellbeing). Matthew clearly demonstrated the interrelationship between natural and human systems and finished with how we can create a practice of biodiverse knowledge sharing, which sets challenges for all involved in the planning and delivery of new developments.
Jai Warya, Chartered Landscape Architect at The Landscape Partnership took the opportunity to launch the new typology of Zoological Urbanism, exploring how we can make room for animals in the future human city. Taking the audience on an examination of cities through the ages, he highlighted wildlife as a constant and stressed that at a time of increased urban density, we must learn to cohabit through adaptive management. He also discussed using animal aided design to realise anthropocentric benefits including economic, psychological and social wellbeing.
Each of the presentations was followed by an interactive Q&A discussion, with all attendees demonstrating a real interest in the disruptor themes and speakers’ interests. The evening was followed by a networking reception.
Generator is a new WW+P initiative which brings younger members of the team together to build lasting relationships with their peers across the built environment sector and share their ideas for a sustainable future.
The next event takes place on Thursday February 13 at 12 Valentine Place, SE1 8QH and we hope to see both familiar and new faces there.
If you are interested in speaking, contributing or assisting with the format of the next event please contact the Generator Group at firstname.lastname@example.org