Thoughts from our Citymaking Sessions speakers


The Citymaking Session's inaugural event on June 27th was a one day convention exploring how cities are made.

 We listened to a variety of speakers, from architects and designers to authors and academics- on a range of citymaking topics. Prior to the event we asked our speakers a set of questions on citymaking, the answers of which were remarkably insightful and will be published over the course of the next week, so keep an eye out!

 To get a flavour of our day at Citymaking Sessions, below are some of the most thought-provoking comments from our speakers at Citymaking Sessions.  

 Citymaking Sessions June 2019 


 OC CMS 145

Sharmaine Lovegrove, founder and publisher of Dialogue Books 

"It is difficult to get people to think outside themselves, but if you’re designing buildings you have to be able to do this. The same is true for writing: if you can’t tell stories to people outside your understanding you shouldn’t be a writer. You can’t be what you cannot see"



Sowmya Parthasarathy, director, Integrated City Planning, Arup

"In order to design experiences for people in their neighbourhoods we need to find new and better ways to engage with the people who live in them. Data can be used, but access can't be tech-driven; we must ask end users"



Julia Barfield, director, Marks Barfield Architects

"We needed a project to lift our spirits after recession in the 1990s wiped out our equity so we came up with the London Eye. Today it is like climbing a mountain in the middle of London, with capsules on the outside to ensure views are unobstructed"



John McRae, director, ORMS

"London has lost many important music venues because of investification, not gentrification. The Outernet project is critical to putting this kind of cultural infrastructure at the heart of our city"



Alice Haugh, futurist, UNStudio 

"Data isn't enough without a story, but would we have built massive roundabouts in the past or more recently felled trees in Sheffield to save on maintenance costs if we were able to project the health costs of these decisions 50 years into the future?"


OC CMS 133


Will Wiles, author of Plume and Care of Wooden Floors 

"When a place works, its flaws are part of it"



Theo Blackwell MBE, chief digital officer, GLA 

"Government is the biggest provider of lampposts onto which 5G will be fitted. We need to rethink the relationship between customer, city and corporation when it comes to using mobile data for public benefit"


OC CMS 165

Roz Barr, director, Roz Barr Architects (left) and Katerina Dionysopoulou, director at Bureau de Change (right)

Roz Barr: 
"Technology that makes things faster and cheaper doesn’t necessarily lead to a more sustainable approach. Architects need to be able to speak to the maker"

Katerina Dionysopoulou:
"Architects don’t know everything – we need to collaborate to create something magical" 



Zung Nguyen Vu, strategy lead, Digital Studio, Arup

"We need community feedback much earlier in the design process. The built environment is also unique in not having much learning after projects are completed. As tech companies invest more in this space, this will change"


 All images: Steve Lavers