This episode was hosted in partnership with Mars Wrigley UK and recorded as part of a live webinar on 6 November 2023.
More and more people are living in our cities and as urban populations grow, so does the need to provide housing. Yet, building homes is often perceived to come at a high price: the destruction of natural landscapes and biodiversity. What are the innovative solutions in this space? And, is there political will to help promote these projects?
In this panel discussion, we’ll be bringing together architects, engineers and urban planners to discuss what it will really take to deliver affordable housing without any negative impact on nature.
Kate Turner – Kate is a consultant, working in the space between decarbonisation and the digital sector. She is also the founder of Vör, a start-up strategy firm providing carbon accounting and offset strategy services. Vör incorporates a Thought Leadership element where she enjoys promoting learning and discussion about science enabled climate security, biodiversity regeneration and responsible use of digital technology. An ex-military Engineering Officer, with a Master’s Degree in Materials Engineering and a background in communications and electronics, Kate previously served in the Royal Air Force before diverting her energy and passion towards climate and biodiversity challenges. Kate recently started an MSt in Practical Ethics at Oxford University, where she’s enjoying learning more about the philosophical underpinnings of modern ethics and applying these concepts towards current thinking on the global governance of AI development.
On the panel:
Anis Abou Zaki – Anis is a Partner in Environmental Design and Sustainability at Foster + Partners. Anis joined Foster + Partners in 2011 and he now leads a team of environmental engineers and designers working along the architects to deliver integrated sustainable design buildings and masterplans. He is an expert in Human centric low/ zero carbon development, passive and responsive design. He has presented at conferences and participated in several international panel discussions. Anis is a guest lecturer and design reviewer at different renowned universities, and an advisory board member for Postgraduate courses and research projects.
Aileen Evans – Aileen is Chief Executive Officer of Grand Union Housing Group and at the end of June 2021 completed her term as the president of the Chartered Institute of Housing, the professional body for those working in housing. An emerging mental health campaigner, she was, as part of her presidential campaign, working with the mental health charity MIND to provide a guide for housing organisations on creating mentally health organisations and had set a fundraising target of £50K to support MIND.
Dusty Gedge – Dusty is the International Ambassador for the European Federation of Green Roof and Wall Associations. Through the Federation he is actively involved at an EU level on nature-based solutions and biodiversity, especially in urban areas, including sitting on the EU working group on Ecosystem Services (2014 – 2019). He is also a Co-Founder of Gentian Limited which specializes in using technology (satellites, AI and deep learning) to remotely assess urban, peri-urban and rural green infrastructure with a key focus on biodiversity. A published author, he has been instrumental in writing strategic reports on both green roofs and green infrastructure including the technical report that lead to the initial green roof policy for the Greater London Authority (2008) and the new Urban Greening Factor policy that replaces the London green roof policy.
Jess Kennedy – Jess is Climate & Sustainability Associate Director at Arup and Arup’s ESG Advisory Lead in the UK. Jess has worked with leading organisations across sectors and geographies, and has over 20 years of experience in strategy development and implementation, ESG reporting and nature strategy. She challenges her clients to push their sustainability aspirations and set balanced targets, using recognised global frameworks such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) to encourage an holistic approach, considering the positive and negative outcomes and linking projects on the ground to the global context and future trends. Some of her recent work includes The Crown Estate Urban Greening Strategy, and co-founding and facilitating the award-winning Wild West End.