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Towards a more child-friendly London: the people making it happen

Mon 27 Nov 2023, 9.20am-4.30pm

A conference hosted by the Built Environment Trust, together with author and researcher Tim Gill

This conference is for people who are interested in and passionate about the built environment and children’s health, wellbeing and development. You do not have to be from a built environment background, and you do not have to be an expert in child development. 

We know that the built environment plays a big role in how we feel about where we live, study and play. However, children’s needs and wishes are often overshadowed by those of adults. How do we get decision-makers to care about children? How do we support marginalised groups, and those whose voices are not yet being heard? What lessons can we learn from projects in London and elsewhere? And what are we willing to do to ensure that future generations of Londoners feel at home in their city? 

The day will offer insights and candid conversations from those at the forefront of making London’s neighbourhoods more child-friendly. Our lively panels include residents, designers, developers, and campaigners who are all making a difference. Each panel will be chaired by an expert who will also open up the discussion to all participants. 

During the breaks, attendees will have the opportunity to add to the discussion using our giant comments wall, and to experience different versions of the same street using a VR resource developed by Arup.

Please note that this is a free event and lunch is not provided.  

Provisional timetable, subject to change.



Arrival, activities to inform the discussion and meet other attendees 


  • Introduction and house-keeping
  • Keynote: Mete Coban, Hackney Councillor and Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport
  • Tim Gill: Built Environment, children and the London context 


  • Panel 1: Public policy and participation. Chaired by Tim Gill.
    • Holly Weir: researcher and urban planner, Suffolk County Council and previously London Borough of Waltham Forest
    • Sripriya Sudhakar: Head of Regeneration, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
    • Dinah Bornat: Director at ZCD Architects and former Mayor's Design Advocate


  • Break 


  • Panel 2: Community advocacy. Chaired by Harriet Grant.
    • Kathy Batten: East Finchley Community Trust 
    • Fiona Sutherland, London Play
    • Phil Doyle: Play consultant


  • Lunch (not provided) with activities to continue the discussion 


  • Panel 3: Delivery. Chaired by Dinah Bornat. 
    • Ruth Holmes (Head of Landscape and Public Realm) and James Halsall (Senior Design Manager): London Legacy Development Corporation, Queen Elizabeth Park
    • Lise Benningen (Associate Director - Landscape Architecture - Cities, Planning & Design): Arup, Queen’s Quarter in Croydon
    • Susanne Tutsch (Director) and Barbara Kaucky (Director and Co-Founder): Erect Architecture, various projects inc. Brent Cross
    • Roger Madelin (Joint Head): British Land, Canada Water and ex CEO of Argent, Kings Cross Central 


  • Reflections on the day and thoughts on the future 
  • Evaluation


  • Networking 

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