Welcome to Future Cities Forum providing high quality thought leadership events, discussions and reports on best practice for the development and regeneration of cities. Forum members are able to profile their expertise and network for new business opportunities. Keep checking this page for updates on our newest forums and details of all of our previous events.
Please note due to the current pandemic - Covid 19, we will now be running conferences online and publishing content from these will be displayed on our website in the usual format. Full reports will be only available to forum members. As soon as the UK government advises, we will return to events held in venues.
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Future Cities Forum debates the latest urban investment, regeneration, planning and design issues around the world, bringing together city leaders, councils, long-term investors, developers, planners, infrastructure and transport operators, construction companies, technology innovators, hospital trusts, universities, cultural organisations, architects, engineers and real estate advisers.
Over 400 organisations have contributed across twenty forums and numerous panel discussions to date and include: The Infrastructure & Projects Authority, Wellcome, Tate Modern, the V&A, LCR Property, Network Rail, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, Mount Anvil, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, Aviva Investors, Grimshaw, BDP, M & G Real Estate, Laing O' Rourke, Oxford City Council, Deloitte, Arup, Peabody, Transport for London, Liverpool City Council, London Borough of Newham, Hepworth Wakefield, Birmingham City Council, Costain Group, Cushman & Wakefield, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, The National Infrastructure Commission, Greater London Authority, Stride Treglown, East West Railway Company, HS1, Imperial College London and Zaha Hadid Architects.
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Future Cities Forum No. 20: 'Science Cities II'
7 October 2020
Future Cities Forum held its 'Science Cities ll' discussion event on 7th October to debate the best ways of supporting the planning, development and design of the UK's knowledge clusters (Image above: CGI of Oxford North development - Fletcher Priest Architects for Thomas White Oxford / St. John' College Oxford University).
The forum had contributions from - among others - Stephen Dance, Director of the Commercial Adviser Team at the Infrastructure & Projects Authority, Professor Lynette Ryals, Chief Executive of MK:U - the new Milton Keynes University - and Dr John Williams, Managing Director of Birmingham Health Partners, as well as William Donger, Director of Thomas White Oxford who is overseeing the Oxford North development for St John's College Oxford University.
FUTURE CITIES FORUM 16
The making of the modern city II: infrastructure-led regeneration
26 June 2019
City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA
We will be back at City Hall, London on 26th June this year to run our regeneration, planning, transport and energy conference. This will be an important year for the UK in terms of developing vital infrastructure for economic advancement and social cohesion, providing joined up housing with appropriate infrastructure that avoids leaving communities isolated, and harnessing the benefits of green energy.
The National Infrastructure Commission has recently announced (7th May 2019) that excellence in design will be the ‘beating heart’ of all new UK infrastructure. This announcement has come from Professor Sadie Morgan, Stirling Prize Winner and NIC Commissioner who says the new influential Design Group, which will lobby to ensure that design is considered at the outset of every major project, and at every stage of delivery to make the most of our infrastructure without increasing costs.
The NIC stated that its ‘first ‘National Infrastructure Assessment, published last year, set out the benefits of effective design, highlighting how embedding it into the culture of planning and delivery leads to an outcome that both works well and looks good, enhancing the quality of life for the communities who experience it every day.’
Sadie spoke at our November forum in one of the original factory buildings of Woolwich Arsenal, set for major redevelopment into housing and a new cultural hub, about the importance of joined-up infrastructure and regeneration. This June, Head of Policy, Katie Black, will further this dialogue, and bring into the debate, the latest thinking on energy and climate change, illuminating how this is set to impact our cities’ environment.
This filmed forum will gather investors, developers, professional advisers, architects, city and transport planners along with government and city councils into one research event with the outcomes written up in a white paper. The panel discussions will be facilitated and professionally recorded.
0830 Networking / coffee
0900 Infrastructure and innovation 2019
Opening remarks: Stephen Dance, Delivery Director, Infrastructure Projects Authority
0920 Panel discussion: Infrastructure and transport – completing the UK’s major projects and transforming mobility.
1000 Panel discussion: how can cities best prepare for new energy infrastructure to meet climate change goals?
1045 Research round-tables and networking
1115 Panel discussion: cultural infrastructure – how will City Hall’s map change the economic and psychological well-being of the capital?
1200 Panel discussion: future housing infrastructure – should we focus on inner city development or invest in garden communities and new towns?
Future Cities Forum 10
‘City Regeneration and Place-Making’
10 October 2018
Future Cities Forum is producing two large events this autumn. The first is on 10th October in West London at White City and will look at the UK government’s reaction to and support of the housing crisis, a strategy for joined-up infrastructure, transport and place-making. The provision of new retail concepts will also feature, place-making around sports stadiums and major rail stations, as will a discussion about the impact of modern methods of construction.
Rachel Fisher, Deputy Director of Regeneration and Infrastructure at The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, will be making the opening presentation at our forum ‘City Regeneration and Place-making’. She has written a guest blog for our forum on how to support the modern high street as well as how to improve productivity across the Camkox corridor. This link between housing and first class transport infrastructure was discussed at our previous City Hall, London forum last May with the Chief Executive of the National Infrastructure Commission, Phil Graham.
The role of railway lines and stations will feature at the forum because of the importance for joined up housing and infrastructure, along with how our retail can develop at these important junctions and termini. Retail is becoming essential to station development and for the Japanese this has spurred the idea of creating ‘my third place’ between home and ‘somewhere public’. Atkins, part of SNC-Lavalin Group will be speaking about master planning for new high-speed rail stations, so they become a properly integrated asset for city communities and a catalyst for regeneration.
Sports stadiums are not only central to the life of many communities, but they can also act as as a tourist draw. We will be looking at innovation in stadium design and how adjacent districts can benefit from intelligent regeneration to create new housing, education hubs and activity throughout the year.
Future Cities Forum 8
‘The Making of the Modern City'
8 May 2018
City Hall, London
Key Speaker –
We are delighted that our our key speaker for this forum will be:
Phil Graham, Chief Executive, National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) UK.
The collapse of Carillion has sent shock waves through the UK for the potential nationwide impact it will have long term on construction projects. It has raised a debate on how we manage such fundamental construction and maintenance services and who is put in charge of them.
Our systems for modern cities are highly interconnected, so for this our 8th Future Cities Forum - at City Hall, London - we thought we should look at how our modern day cities function successfully and sustainably.
Will new infrastructure provide aesthetically pleasing physical additions to our environment and what of the social benefit to our society of these developments? The construction company Mace has called for ‘social value’ measures and targets to be formally embedded in all major construction and infrastructure programmes in the UK.
National Infrastructure Commission
Responding to the National Infrastructure Commission’s report ‘Data for the Public Good’ on 14th December 2017, Professor Lord Robert Mair, President, Institution of Civil Engineers, commented:
‘Good infrastructure underpins thriving communities and economic growth. It enables peoples’ day to day lives – creating connectivity, access to key utilities and underpinning our social infrastructure.’
While Sir Alan Wilson, Chief Executive of The Alan Turing Institute, explained:
‘ ..there is a new utility, so crucial to the efficient functioning of modern life that we could not do without it: data. Like any major system such as transport, housing or telecoms, data requires its own infrastructure, to collect it, store it and derive knowledge and value from it.’
How much will the resignation of Lord Adonis, Chairman of the government’s Infrastructure Commission affect this year’s march of new infrastructure and in which direction with the new Chair, Sir John Armitt take it?
The Commission is preparing for the publication of the first National Infrastructure Assessment later this year. Speaking about his appointment, Sir John Armitt said:
‘Making the right choices about planning and investing in infrastructure is critical to the UK’s prosperity and quality of life. I want the Commission to remain focused on tackling the long-term issues of congestion, capacity and carbon – and to continue to hold the government to account where decisive action is needed – so we can secure the improvements that companies, communities and families need.’
The Telegraph last year reported that although the UK ‘remains as one of the top countries for investors… it is falling in the ranking as Brexit and political stability weigh heavily.’
It quoted the law firm CMS as saying that the UK could look to top placed Netherlands as an example of ‘’transparent and efficient procurement process and a healthy multi-billion euro pipeline in road and water Public-Private- Partnerships’’
While in the USA, The Brookings Institution – a non-profit public policy organisation based in Washington – in its research report ‘If you build it: A guide to the economics of infrastructure investment’ argues that ‘because much of the nation’s infrastructure generates broadly shared benefits that are not limited to those who can pay, decisions about this infrastructure are an important public policy concern and not just a matter for private firms and investors’
In the UK, £42 billion has been spent on progressing HS2 from London to the North , and £540 million extra funding was announced in the 2017 Budget to boost Northern Ireland’s infrastructure.
Recently, an all-women team ‘VeloCity’ won the ideas competition set out by the National Infrastructure Commission to revitalise six villages and a network of cycling in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes –Oxford Corridor.
The team including Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, Featherstone Young, Khaa, Marko and Placemakers, Mikhail Riches and Expedition Engineering looked at the development of the region over the course of 30 years.
Questions at the 8th Future Cities Forum will cut across the future of infrastructure in the UK, place-making, modular construction in housing, investment in academic research and transport:
· Do we need a better dialogue and decision-making over how construction projects are commissioned?
· How do we address the funding gap in infrastructure projects?
· What can the UK learn and borrow in best practice from successful European city infrastructure projects?
· How can cities prepare to achieve social, economic and cultural maximum benefit from new rail projects?
· Why is city gateway design and investment essential to regeneration?
· How can data infrastructure be integrated into future city planning?
· How can we enable smaller infrastructure projects?
· Is the UK moving fast enough on modular construction and housing?
· Can we ensure that infrastructure investment helps solve the UK housing crisis?
· Is airport investment the Achilles heel of UK infrastructure?
· How can the UK road network become fully “smart”, and how will these innovations reduce congestion, pollution and respect place-making and quality of life in cities and suburbs. What can we learn from “smart” port projects in Europe?
· How should city planners prepare for the electric age in transport?
· Has risk become too high for office construction?
· What has happened to the Northern Powerhouse?
· How should companies protect themselves from cyber-attack and will these measures protect our essential services?
City Hall, London
This forum gathers academics, investors, developers, consulting engineers, architects, and city planners along with government and city councils into one research event with the outcomes written up in a white paper.
The hall will be arranged into cabaret tables with guests of 10 on each. There will be a top table of panel experts and a break-out session for research gathering and networking.
Please contact Future Cities Forum for further details.
Cambridge and European Technology Cities
Future Cities Forum is holding its 'Cambridge and European Technology Cities' event on 3rd December with leading speakers from UK and European innovation hubs. (Image: CGI of Google's London HQ - Heatherwick Studio)
Topics to be discussed will include the need for private-public collaboration and the impact of R&D sector growth on real estate and housing affordability. We will review technology investment (especially across healthcare) and development in the Cambridge region, a year on from our November 2019 ‘Science Cities’ forum at Cambridge University.
Cities to be included in the debate and follow-on report include Cambridge in the UK, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Stockholm / Uppsala in Sweden and Manchester. Contributors will include investors, city councils, university technology transfer offices, teaching hospitals and professional advisers.
This forum will compare the approaches and fortunes of selected European technology clusters and their host cities. It will look at how cities make themselves attractive to businesses and to human talent working at the cutting edge of technology innovation. How these cities work as test beds for technology trials across health, mobility, infrastructure and everyday living will be examined.
This debate follows two forums – Science Cities I and II – that looked at how the UK can sustain and grow leadership in science and technology with a focus on creating the best places and campuses for R&D. It explored the proposed development of the Knowledge Arc between Oxford and Cambridge and approaches to building the right infrastructure and housing for expanding communities in this knowledge-rich region, which contains world famous universities, research institutions and science-led businesses.
Future Cities Forum No. 19: Infrastructure 2020
Venue: Herbert Smith Freehills
Exchange House, Primrose Street, London, EC2A 2EG
We begin a new year of Future Cities Forum infrastructure, transport and housing development discussions in 2020, having left the EU and with a government committed to infrastructure investment. How will our economy develop post Brexit? New connections will be forged around the world for trade and the UK economy will be looking to current and future infrastructure to connect our cities, develop new communities and attract foreign investment.
The UK government has begun a new drive on infrastructure. In the Queen’s speech, it pledged a revamped national infrastructure strategy designed to help support growth across the UK, as well as an aviation bill and proposals for rail reform. A long-term vision has been laid out to improve the nation’s digital, transport and energy infrastructure.
Our first infrastructure forum of 2020 will be held at leading international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills' London offices near Liverpool Street Station on 11th February. There will be three panel discussions, two workshops, coffee on arrival and lunch to complete the morning's networking. Those participants contributing to our discussions will be publicised through our on-line communications programme, research will be gathered and published from our round table workshops and a report will be compiled to summarise key findings for government, investors and city leadership.
9 am Coffee and networking
9.30 am Key speaker address : Dyan Crowther, CEO HS1
9.45 am Panel 1 – How do we build the UK economy through future infrastructure investment?
10.15 am Panel 2 – How do we use infrastructure investment as a catalyst for town and city centre regeneration and where should we put the design and development focus for long term sustainability?
10.45 am Workshop 1: Planning case study - Peterborough city regeneration
How do we achieve the best balance between residential, workspace and retail development in our historic city centres?
11.15 am Panel 3 – How does national planning need to evolve to incorporate future innovations in transport mobility, technology and the move to low carbon energy?
11.45 am Workshop 2: Planning case study - North Essex Garden Communities
How can we re-design towns for sustainable transport and mobility, low carbon energy and make our infrastructure 'smarter'?
12.15 pm Feedback and conclusions
12.30 pm Lunch
1.15 pm Close
Questions to be posed at the forum:
What direction should the UK government’s drive on infrastructure be taking in 2020?
Is there evidence that the current UK road infrastructure programme is working and genuinely making for better connections between UK cities?
Will the economy of the north of England stall under any re-direction of rail investment and will attention be focussed on rail infrastructure that connects us back to Europe?
How can a balance be struck between creating airport expansion to encourage foreign trade and protecting UK citizens’ rights against noise and air pollution?
How does the UK government’s policies on expanded infrastructure tie in with a drive to combat climate change?
What changes are needed to national policy to support the delivery of significant new settlements (10,000 + homes)?
How are local authorities coping with devolved responsibilities in tackling climate change, especially on energy and transport?
Will the National Infrastructure Commission manage to change policy for energy regulators to insist on long-term energy and digital infrastructure investment?
Join us for a morning of exciting debate and important networking.
Future Cities Forum 12
29 January 2019
Apothecaries’ Hall, Blackfriars Lane, London EC4V 6EJ
Back in April this year, the world-renowned medical journal, The Lancet and one of China’s most prestigious universities, Tsinghua, jointly published a report on building healthy cities in China, ‘Healthy Cities: Unlocking the Power of Cities for a Healthy China’.
‘By 2030, China’s cities will house close to a billion people and the mass mobilization has also created unprecedented health challenges, such as pollution and social inequality’, the report states.
Ignored until recently, the Healthy China 2030 plan has now highlighted and recognized health as the centrepiece of sustainable development.
Our January forum will look at city planning and place-making for well-being and resilience, the development and design of science research hubs, the urban integration of sport and exercise for a healthy population, the evolution of well-designed city public transport and the new ‘NHS towns’ in the UK, as well as how the current housing crisis is affecting health.
Our previous healthy cities forum had leaders speaking from the Design Council, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Trust, Plymouth University, Peabody, Transport for London, EY, the Royal College of Physicians, PwC and The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.
Panel 1 Healthy and sustainable cities
This panel sets out the current inequalities in health in our cities, the future needs of our urban population and how our built environment enhances or hinders our health.
Panel 2 Transport, infrastructure, pollution and climate
Discussion will centre around climate research, joined-up infrastructure, pollution and electric vehicle introduction, last-mile deliveries.
Panel 3 Planning and place-making
Contributors will debate how we plan for healthier cities, place-making for multi-generational living and mental wellbeing, walkable cities and how transport and our road system affects our future world.
Panel 4 Technology and health
What will the science and technology innovations that will change our future health provision and how will our cities look and feel different with new types of healthcare centres, hospitals, wellness clinics and university research centres?
Future Cities Forum 10
‘Art, Exports and Emerging Cultural Districts’
Royal Arsenal Woolwich
20 November 2018
Our second event involves Brocket Gallery. Based in South London, which has invited us to run filmed discussions on the theme of new cultural quarters at the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair to be held in November at the former Royal Arsenal in the London Borough of Greenwich. Famous names such as Tracy Emin and Grayson Perry as well as the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers will be exhibiting in this the third year of the print fair.
The fair is a member of the Creative Industries Federation and a founding partner of the Woolwich Creative District (London). Greenwich Council is creating areas for concerts and open-air art/drama displays in and around the historic buildings where from the 18th century military cadets were trained. Some of the arsenal stores and factories where weapons were manufactured during the two world wars remain and Berkeley has been building new homes on the site.
Since launching our forum, we have been looking at the growth of creative districts in London, the UK and in Europe, debating the social and economic impacts. Brocket Gallery following our event last January at RIBA, during which the Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Art spoke on the topic of the sustainability of creative districts, has been awarded funding by the famous art institution and admits that this has been a game-changer.
In November speakers will debate the need for the careful planning of creative districts, the elements that go to support local communities and allow for developments to flourish. Art exports post Brexit will also be discussed in reference to the UK government’s announcement that Britain should strive to be a ‘21st Century exporting superpower with a rise in exports from 30% to 35% as a proportion of UK GDP.
Future Cities Forum will be running a series of discussions on the topic of sustainability over 2020/2021 to include areas such as housing, energy, climate change and public realm design.
The debates will ask whether the government’s new ideas on planning will lead to housing provision which meet targets on carbon reduction, how the design of city and district heat networks will help tackle climate change, the role of hydrogen in improving green energy supplies, and whether Covid-19 has accelerated the implementation of better public realm, creating healthier and more sustainable city centres and retail provision?
Back in the summer the UK government announced a reform of the planning system, which could see land being divided up into three categories – ‘growth’, ‘renewal’ and ‘protected’. On land earmarked for growth, new homes, schools and hospitals will be allowed to be built automatically, with councils unable to veto. Other measures included that all new homes should be carbon neutral by 2050 and all new streets should be tree-lined.
Critics argued that this would lead to rushed poor quality housing and the new rules would diminish the influence of local authorities as well as communities being side-lined in decision making.
Alan Jones, President of RIBA told BBC News:
‘While there is no doubt the planning system needs reform, these shameful proposals do almost nothing to guarantee the delivery of affordable, well-designed and sustainable homes.’
Planners, investors, developers, engineers, architects, transport and energy companies and local authorities will all take part in these important discussions – the first of which is online 18th November at 2 pm.
Key contributors in our debate will include
Patrick Allcorn, Head of Local Energy, Department for Business, Energy, & Industrial Strategy
Patrick has led the local energy team in BEIS since October 2015, previously working in the Heat Strategy team where he developed a range of community initiatives, developing the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive. He will be talking about the following topics below.
Future Cities Forum No 18: Science cities - investment, innovation, infrastructure and talent attraction
University of Cambridge: Newnham College (Dorothy Garrod Building), Sidgwick Avenue, CB3 9DF
Our science and health forum will be held at Newnham College Cambridge on 20th November 2019 where we will be discussing the best approaches to creating knowledge hubs and clusters within cities that are both economically and socially successful - and very importantly are well designed, especially in urban settings. We will also be looking at tackling health issues in cities and will showcase innovation in medical care. We will consider the following questions:
1. With the interest in the growth of science hubs, how do cities accommodate incoming talent with transport and housing needs?
2. How can we ensure world class collaboration in the development of our science, healthcare and technology hubs?
3. How does the growth of knowledge hubs shape a city’s architecture and planning?
4. What are the discussions that councils need to have with developers and urban infrastructure experts to protect cities and plan future needs?
5. How do we plan for disease control in city populations and cyber-attacks to our healthcare systems?
6. How will Brexit affect the science brain drain and the influx of medicines to cities?
7. How can arts and sciences combine to build the strength of a city’s identity and sustainable culture?
These are some of the questions that we will be asking in our forum panel discussions and through our workshop round table exercise.
Future Cities Forum 13
‘The Great North’
27 February 2019
RIBA North, Liverpool, L3 1BP
Future Cities Forum will be running an event in February at RIBA North to look at infrastructure investment, transport innovation, jobs generation through the knowledge economy, as well as and art, culture and sports-led regeneration in major Northern cities. The prospects for affordable housing supply, linked to jobs and infrastructure, will be discussed in the light of government house building targets. The speakers and audience will be made up of a balance of city council directors, developers, cultural leaders and sports club chief executives from London, the Midlands and Northern England. Written and video content will be posted on Future Cities Forum web site.
Panel discussions will be arranged around:
Infrastructure and smart transport
Health sciences and the knowledge economy
Arts and culture for communities and tourism
Housing and jobs in the North
Future Cities Forum 9
3 July 2018
Westworks, White City Place, W12 7TU
10 am to 12.30 pm
This event will be our 9th Future Cities Forum and will gather together councils, architects, planners, developers and investors in a morning of debate with panel discussions and individual presentations.
It will be held at White City Place, London, W12 – the home to a growing group of media and creative businesses including the BBC, ITV, Yoox, Net A Porter as well as being a new campus for Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art. It has some of the newest flexible work spaces in the UK designed by Allies and Morrison. Stanhope PLC has been developing White City Place since 2015 – along with partners Mitsui Fudosan and AIMCo – adding to its long-term commitment and investment through its Television Centre project into the transformation of this West London hub. Berkeley Group – though its St James subsidiary – is developing a 10-acre brownfield site next to Television Centre into a new residential neighbourhood with 1,465 homes. It will have a new public park and attractive public realm linking through historic railway arches to the south to Westfield London.
At the White City Place forum we will be looking at the future of new model office workspace and creative hubs mixed with restaurants – and homes and leisure provision. The blue-print for successful place-making from city regeneration sites will underpin the discussions.
We will be asking some of the following questions:
How should we design homes and neighbourhoods given future ways of living and working and the dramatic changes in modes of transport?
How can data analytics be deployed to transform planning, environmental health and transport withincities?
Is London still able to create successful new areas for knowledge hubs? How important is new residential provision for these projects?
Is there an ideal model for community engagement, and private / public collaboration on new neighbourhood creation?
Does Brexit threaten the London office market and the growth of flexible working?
Are UK regional cities going to provide most of the investment opportunities for the long-term?
How do we integrate planning around industrial land use with housing and transport development?