Flourish | Session 2 | Connectedness
21 October, 2020









People shape places, and, in turn, places shape people.

How can we create cities that better contribute to human flourishing?

Conscious Cities London is bringing together diverse voices from the science, design and creative communities to inform, inspire and agitate ideas of how we can reimagine our urban environments by putting people and planet first.



Wednesday, 21 October (2:00-6:00pm BST / 9:00am-1:00pm EST)

How can the built environment facilitate quality of life, community, sense of belonging and improve mental health?

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/flourish-day-2-connectedness-conscious-cities-london-festival-2020-tickets-119889963107



Placemaking, Social Value and Wellbeing
In conversation with:
Christine Murray (Founding Editor-in-Chief of The Developer magazine, Director, Festival of Place)
Prof. Flora Samuel (Professor of Architecture in the Built Environment, University of Reading)

Join a conversation between Christine Murray and Flora Samuel on the topics of placemaking, social value and wellbeing. Christine Murray is the founding Editor-in-Chief of The Developer magazine and director of the Festival of Place. She writes passionately about equity and liveable cities.  Flora Samuel is Professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Reading, author of Why Architects Matter (2018) and the lead author on the RIBA Social Value Toolkit for Architecture.


Designing Loneliness out of the Workplace
Rachel Edwards (Senior Strategist in Workplace Futures, Lendlease)
Nigel Oseland (Environmental Psychologist, University College London)

Does a workplace bring people together? Or does it push people apart? Loneliness is a growing problem, and although advances in technology make it easier than ever before to be connected to others, in reality people are feeling increasingly isolated. The “Loneliness Lab” is a collective looking at the problem of loneliness in the workplace. Research has been conducted as art of the initiative, including a literature review, on-line survey and workshops. Dr Nigel Oseland will share the early results.


Supporting flourishing in cities with salient ‘what works’ research (and more parsnips)
Jamie Anderson (Urban Wellbeing Lead, Buro Happold)

How we create cities that better contribute to human flourishing is dependent on a good understanding of ‘what-works’. However, when considering the most recent definitions and standards, the science of urban flourishing is limited; inhibiting what may be credibly translated into evidence-informed practice. Within his talk, Jamie offers two ways in which the University of Manchester and Buro Happold are addressing key challenges associated with this complex but fascinating area. He will discuss the importance of new tools that go beyond happiness and life satisfaction, and the need to address the long-standing ‘candy-floss’ criticism - with stronger research (or ‘parsnips’). The talk will draw upon recent and forthcoming tool Open Access publications such as MOHAWk and NOURISH, and ‘natural experiment’ case studies such as Grow Green and Brent Cross Town (BXT).


Our Future Foyle
Jeremy Myerson (Helen Hamilyn Professor of Design, Royal College of Art)

‘Ready for the Foyle’ is a familiar saying among residents of Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland, a city with a long history of sectarian tension and violence. Whether said in jest or with deadly seriousness, the saying refers to a bleak six-mile stretch of the River Foyle which is a well-known suicide black spot. In this presentation, Jeremy Myerson looks at one the flagship community engagement and research projects of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art: Our Future Foyle. This set out to reimagine conditions along the river and transform an area associated with poor emotional wellbeing into a more lively and lived-in place.


A Circle
James Tyson & Jennie Savage

a circle is an animated short film that takes you on a journey through a global city. A city of architectural objects which function as machines for the industry of the twenty-first century: processing capital. circle looks into the gaps to discover a human presence reflected in its surface and explores the potential of collapse as a metaphor for questioning what it means to be human; to live within this machine. Voices, reflections and dialogues provide a soundtrack in response to spaces which are conceived visually and rationalised scientifically to maximise consumption yet are presented as a kind of utopia.


Founding Editor-in-Chief of The Developer magazine and director of the Festival of Place

Christine Murray is the founding Editor-in-Chief of The Developer magazine and director of the Festival of Place. She writes passionately about equity and liveable cities. She is former Editor-in-Chief of The Architects' Journal and The Architectural Review where she founded the Women in Architecture Awards (now known as the W Awards) and received an honorary fellowship from the RIBA for her contribution to architecture.

Professor of Architecture in the Built Environment, University of Reading

Flora Samuel is Professor at the University of Reading where she came from being Head at the University of Sheffield school to help start a school of Architecture delivering ‘an education for uncertainty’ and a mother. She has long been interested in the connections between people and the environment with a particular emphasis on mental health and spirituality and is trying to bring some of this into the industry value agenda, one outcome being her most recent book Why Architects Matter (2018). In 2016 she set up the Research Practice Leads, a group of over 30 practices that meets quarterly to advance the cause of research of architectural research. Together they published the Social Value Toolkit for Architects with the RIBA earlier this year. Amongst other things she is Building Design columnist on social value and leads the ‘place’ strand within the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CACHE).

The Loneliness Lab was co-founded by Lendlease and Collectively in 2018 to explore the role of urban design and placemaking in tackling loneliness in our cities. The Lab has since grown to a diverse collective of people and organisations who share a mission to design loneliness out of our cities and communities. The network is made up of architects, developers, designers, policymakers, students, artists, activists and community groups, many with lived experience of loneliness. Together they are looking to understand what’s driving loneliness in our cities, experimenting with ideas to improve the spaces and places where we live, work and play and influence change in industry, policy and communities.

Director of Collectively and co-founder of the Loneliness Lab

Bethan Harris is Director of Collectively and co-founder of the Loneliness Lab, a collective of people and organisations working to design out loneliness from our cities. Bethan is passionate about the role of cross sector collaboration and action to address some of the big issues of our time and will share the approach the Loneliness Lab has taken to unlock collective action on loneliness in the built environment since it launched in 2018.

Senior Strategist in Workplace Futures (Lendlease)

Rachel Edwards is a Senior Strategist in Workplace Futures at Lendlease, an integrated property company, delivering large-scale urban regeneration projects globally. She is also co-founder of the Loneliness Lab. She has 12 years’ experience in workplace strategy, contributing to the development of pioneering workplaces around the world. Rachel cares passionately about building sustainable, thriving workplace communities, with a focus on how the design of places can impact the lifestyle of people and culture of organisations.

Environmental Psychologist, University College London

Dr. Nigel Oseland is a workplace strategist, change manager, environmental psychologist, researcher, international speaker and published author with 11 years research and 22 years consulting experience. He draws on his psychology background and his own research to advise occupiers on how to redefine their workstyles and rethink their workplace to create working environments that enhance individual and organisational performance and deliver maximum value.

Urban Wellbeing Lead, Buro Happold

Dr. Jamie Anderson has 16 years' professional experience, split between research and practice: creating and using strong urban wellbeing evidence. His PhD was supervised jointly by an urban designer and neuro-psychologist at Cambridge University. Most of his research focuses on sustainable city and neighbourhood design, in relation to Subjective Wellbeing and associated behaviours – such as the Five Ways to Wellbeing. Together with University of Manchester colleagues, he has developed new robust tools such as MOHAWk and NOURISH, and ‘action research’ using analogue and digital approaches, in particular - improving causal inference with natural experiments.

Within Buro Happold’s sustainability team, he leads a range of work improving the interface between urban design and the science of wellbeing. Most recently and on behalf of Argent Related, he led an overarching wellbeing strategy and the first stages of a Flourishing Index, to be used to evaluate a large regeneration project – Brent Cross Town (BXT), in north London.

Helen Hamlyn Professor of Design, Royal College of Art

Jeremy Myerson is a design writer and academic. He is the Helen Hamlyn Professor of Design at the Royal College of Art, a Visiting Professorial Fellow in the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing at the University of Oxford, and Director of the WORKTECH Academy, a global knowledge network on the future of work. After a career in journalism and design research, he co-founded the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art in 1999 and was its Director for 16 years, helping to pioneer the practice of inclusive design in response to population ageing. The author of more than 20 books in the field, his Design Museum exhibition New Old: Design for Our Future Selves is now touring internationally and visited the Pratt Institute Gallery in New York in early 2020. Myerson is the academic convenor and chair for the Healthy City Design International Congress in London and a member of the advisory board for design schools in Switzerland, South Korea and the UK.

James Tyson writes and stages experimental texts for theatre, as well as collaboratively making dance, performance and interdisciplinary works. Recent projects include: Vista with Zuppa Theatre (K’jipuktuk / Halifax, NS); Georges Bataille’s Bathrobe by Yubiwa Hotel (Sapporo / Tokyo); February 2018/ by Sarah Michelson (Hamburg / Dusseldorf), Spring, Autumn, Summer, Winter (for Gwangju) and as Director of International Agatha Christie Festival, Torquay. He previously worked as Head of Theatre at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff and as co-founder of Intangible Studio in Seoul.

Jennie Savage is an artist / curator who seeks to transform people’s perception of place through the creation of mediated experiences. Working with a site, she explores the dialogues between public spaces, constructed landscapes and the human story. Locating individual experience and perception at the centre of the work, she seeks to draw out and make connections between interior and exterior landscapes. Her projects take many forms and sit at the edges of fine art and architectural practices. Works have included museum interventions, a radio station, broadcast events, a bus tour, audio walks, a cinema for the sea, online projects, maps, pamphlets, publications and artist films made for site specific exhibition.