City Conversations: how are infrastructure decisions made?


This conversation will examine how infrastructure decisions are made at both a macro and micro level. Major new infrastructure projects seem to grab the headlines and political support. Do we have the right balance between new projects and those that make the most of existing infrastructure? Some of these are big decisions demanding long democratic processes – airports for example. Should we give equal attention to smaller regeneration schemes? Decisions in a democratic market economy can often contradict traditional notions of civic infrastructure planning. These can often be the result of speculative design or consultancy ideas which catch the eye of decision makers.  Do we encourage enough of this, or is it largely a waste of resources? How do we make sure design quality is given appropriate consideration? Is the political cycle too short for sensible long-term infrastructure decisions? Would a more 'dirigiste' culture help with problems such as housing?

Speakers include:

- Chair: Alan Harbinson, managing director of cities at BuroHappold Engineering

- Robbie Owen, head of infrastructure, planning and government affairs at Pinsent Masons LLP

- Dr Matt Ives, systems modeller at the University of Oxford, Centre for the Environment

- Hugh Sumner, team principal at Sumner and Co

- Martin Tedder, principal environmental planner at Transport for London

This event is free to attend but booking is essential. Registration and drinks will start from 6.00pm and the talk will begin at 6.30pm.

City Conversations is a series of informative thought-leadership discussions around the big issues that are changing our cities - growth, technology, resource efficiency and climate change.“How are Infrastructure Decisions Made?" is the fourth in the series. Other topics include: 'The invisible city', 'The material city', ‘Must Cities Grow?' and ‘Home in the City: living at density’.

This series is produced by The Happold Foundation with ngenuity Ltd and supported by The Building Centre and Rehau.