The Centre for Conscious Design

Conscious Cities Conference No.2: Bridging Neuroscience, Architecture and Technology

May 5, 2017 – 9:00 am
Urban Innovation Centre, 1 Sekforde St, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0BE

Host Chapter / Organisers

Organising Fellow/s

Recordings (available to CCD Members)

Conscious Cities Conference No. 2: Bridging Neuroscience, Architecture and Technology is a full-day event, taking place on Wednesday, 03 May 2017 (9:00 to 18:00) at One Sekforde Street, London.

Our previous conference examined the relationship between neuroscience and architecture. This year’s conference will disseminate and unify the different industries and elements needed to build a Conscious City, that is responsive to human activity and needs.

The day will open with keynote speakers representing: Neuroscience, Architecture, and the intersection of both.

From there, the conference will address four themes, each presented and discussed by a panel of experts from academia and industry (detailed further below):

  1. What Does Neuroscience Teach Us About the Built Environment?
  2. How Can We Use High Technology in the Built Environment?
  3. Creating Conscious Design: How Does Behavioural Insight Affect Architecture and Planning?
  4. Building a Conscious City: The Role of Governance and Industry.

A printed publication – Conscious Cities Anthology No.2 – will be given to all conference attendees. It will contain papers and thought pieces by the conference speakers.

Conference Thematics

What Does Neuroscience Teach Us About the Built Environment?

For the past 15 years neuroscience has been instrumental in discovering how the built environment, specifically cities affect the people who inhabit them. We now understand, for example, that a correlation exists between urban environments and stress, resulting in spectrum of mental disorders. In this section we will be discussing the latest in neuroscience research in the built environment.

How Can We Use High Technology in the Built Environment?

Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality are significantly impacting how we design, imagine, and use the built environment. This theme will explore these emerging technologies as well as other high tech tools; low carbon, model simulators, and computer software like depthmapX. We will debate the goals of technology and how it can facilitate the creation of more empathetic, dynamic, and adaptable spaces.

Creating Conscious Design: How Does Behavioural Insight Affect Architecture and Planning?

Whilst the concept of Conscious Design has been newly coined, there are already many examples of industry professionals creating spaces and places with greater awareness towards their users’ needs. In this theme we will be exploring case studies which use behavioural insight, new tools, and technology to implement conscious design elements.

Building a Conscious City: The Role of Governance and Industry

How do policies and market forces affect the built environment? We will be addressing issues concerning professional responsibility, confidentiality, consent, risk and vulnerability. What are the key considerations of decision-makers and how do those relate to creating a better built environment?

Chadwick Professor of Civil Engineering at UCL and Pro-Provost, East and South Asia, Nick Tyler was the Head of Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering at UCL from 2003 to 2013. Now he researches the environment’s interactions with people. He is working extensively with bodies such as Transport for London in the UK, Latin America including Cuba, Japan and China on creating an urban realm which is responsive to people and their needs.
Alison Brooks is recognised as one of the leading architects of her generation. Since establishing Alison Brooks Architects in 1996, she has attracted international acclaim for her work in urban design, housing, buildings for the arts and higher education. Her approach, based on research into the specific social, cultural and physical contexts of each project has led to a portfolio of award-winning architecture. She is the only UK architect to have received all three of the RIBA’s most prestigious architectural awards; the Manser Medal, Stephen Lawrence and Stirling Prizes.
Elite is an architect, technologist and maker. She specialises in creative applications of innovative technologies; focusing on Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, interactive installations and Artificial Intelligence in robotics. Elite is currently working as a creative engineer, designer and innovator at the innovation lab at Lift / Microsoft in London.

Prof Kate Jeffery is a neuroscientist researching how the brain makes an internal representation of space. Kate founded the “Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience” at UCL, a laboratory comprising several researchers who use physiological methods to study cognition. She studies how spatially sensitive neurons encode complex spaces, with a particular focus on two main issues: three dimensional space, and the internal “sense of direction”.

Co-founder of architecture firm Hollwish Kushner, and author of ‘New Ageing: Live Smarter Now to Live Better Forever’. Matthias is devoted to finding ways in which living spaces and communities can be shaped to make ageing a graceful and fulfilling aspect of life.

Moshe Bar, PhD is the former Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital and an internationally renowned cognitive neuroscientist. He has a PhD in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. For his outstanding research and academic achievements, he has received many awards and honors, including the prestigious 21st Century Science Initiative Award from the McDonnell Foundation, and the Hebb Award from The International Neural Networks Society. He headed the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University in Israel until recently.

Colin Ellard is a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Waterloo and director of its Urban Realities Laboratory.  Ellard works at the intersection of urban and architectural design and experimental psychology.  He has developed a novel set of methods by which the human response to the built environment can be measured using a toolkit consisting of both traditional psychological methods and sensor-based measurements of physiology and brain function.  Ellard publishes his work frequently in the peer-reviewed scientific literature but he also engages in extensive knowledge mobilization work involving collaboration and partnership with architects, museums and other NGOs. He travels widely giving keynotes for groups interested in architecture, design, and planning.  Ellard is an Urban Design and Mental Health Fellow, a Salzburg Global Fellow and an editor of the Journal of Environmental Psychology and the Journal of Urban Design and Mental Health. Ellard’s most recent book is Places of the Heart (Bellevue Literary Press, 2015).

Itai is a practicing architect, researcher, and multidisciplinary artist focusing on the relationship between people and place. He is the Founder of The Centre for Conscious Design, and Director of Hume – a Science-Informed architecture and urban design practice.

In 2015, Itai founded the Conscious Cities movement; a new field of research and practice for building environments that are aware and responsive, using data analysis, AI, tech, and science-informed design. For his work in advancing changes in the design profession, he was named by Metropolis Magazine as one of 2020’s ‘Game Changers’ in transformative ideas in Health, Social Justice, Technology, and Urbanism.

Itai carries out thought leadership and advisory roles in a number of other research and policy bodies, contributing to strategies that focus on systems change and the promotion of design as a socially conscious profession.

His work and writing has been featured internationally and he is a regular speaker at events focused on the built environment and human impact.