Three new trustees join Open City


Open City has appointed three new trustees - Jayden Ali of JA Projects, Sara Bailey of Trowers & Hamlyn and Johanna Gibbons of J&L Gibbons – to its governing board chaired by Crispin Kelly.

Jayden’s architectural vision represent a concern for those at the fringes of society and explore the recurring themes of place, community and empowerment, while Sara, widely recognised as a leader in both real estate and social housing, specialises in advising local authority and developer clients on a range of property and regeneration projects. Johanna is a leader in community engagement and known internationally for co-creating the Dalston Eastern Curve Community Garden in east London.

The move comes as chief executive Rory Olcayto steps down after four years at the helm. “We’ve had a number of distinguished and longstanding trustees move on in recent years and, in what is likely my last act for Open City, I am delighted to be able to announce Jayden, Sara and Johanna as trustees, champions essentially, of our ongoing mission to make architecture, planning and urban design something all of us can enjoy and learn from.”

The new appointments follow on from a number of existing trustees recently stepping down including Berkeley Homes boss Tony Pidgley, MP Nick Raynsford and IP lawyer Helen Newman.


Meet the new trustees:


 Jayden Ali is the founding director of interdisciplinary practice JA Projects and works at the intersection of architecture, film and events, directly engaging with contemporary society on projects that are participatory and empowering.


Previous projects range from the design and implementation of a whole school masterplan for primary aged boys with behavioural difficulties in Bow, to the creation of an immersive temporary restaurant within the Barbican run by unaccompanied asylum seeking children; from the production of a documentary concerning powerful women within South African townships to the establishment and continual curation of a café/bar in Hackney.


Jayden graduated from the The Cass with a previous degree from the University of East London. He is currently a Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins, where he co-leads the MArch Architecture course while also, alongside Theatrum Mundi, teaching a studio that assists students in using performance as a tool to explore aspects of culture within the city. 


 Sara Bailey

Sara Bailey has over 20 years' experience in the real estate sector and has established herself as a trusted adviser to a range of private providers, local authorities and central government developers, advising them on complex public and private projects. 

Specialising in development, regeneration, PPP projects, partnerships and joint ventures, Sara is often called upon for her expertise in providing innovative structuring advice – helping her clients to navigate and deliver complex, and often high profile, real estate projects and regeneration schemes.

Sara leads the mid-market tier 1 ranked (by Chambers UK 2018) real estate team at Trowers and is herself ranked as a notable practitioner within real estate and social housing (Chambers UK 2018). She has also been recognised for her market-leading expertise by legal research experts, Acritas, who have designated her as an 'Acritas star'.  Market commentators describe her as "… very down to earth" with a "'no city' type attitude towards law but with city firm quality."

She is a regular speaker at high profile industry conferences and events including MIPIM and MIPIM UK and is a member of the British Property Federation Residential Committee. She is also an Ambassador for the World Child Cancer charity.


 JLG choice 710315

Johanna Gibbons is a Landscape Architect, Fellow of the Landscape Institute, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Geography Birkbeck University London. She trained in Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art / Heriot Watt University, graduating in 1983. Jo is founding member of J & L Gibbons LLP established in 1986 and founding Director of Landscape Learn, a social enterprise established in 2016 to advance a wider understanding and appreciation of natural processes and the landscapes we inhabit. Johanna is a member of various advisory panels including Historic England’s Urban Panel, HS2’s Design Panel and the Forestry Commission’s Forestry and Woodland Advisory Panel. She is currently External Examiner at Edinburgh University / Edinburgh College of Art.