Conscious Cities Conference 2017
Urban Innovation Centre, 1 Sekforde St, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0BE
5 May, 2017





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?

Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience, University College London (UCL)

Kate Jeffery is a neuroscientist researching how the brain makes an internal representation of space, the so-called "cognitive map", which it can use for navigation. She investigates this by studying the activity of a class of brain cells called place cells, which seem to form the core of a place-knowledge system used for both navigation and memory. Her current research focuses on how the brain represents complex space, with a particular focus on two main issues: three dimensional space, and the internal “sense of direction”. She heads the Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at UCL, and is co-director of the electrophysiology company Axona Ltd, which makes high-density recording systems for behavioural neuroscientists. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Fellow and Vice-President of the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN), and chairs the Cognitive Navigation (CogNav) special interest group in the RIN, which aims to link cognitive scientists with architects, designers and other professionals interested in navigation. Recently she has also begun actively campaigning on the increasingly urgent and worrying issue of climate change

Director, Gonda Brain Research Center, Bar Ilan University

Neuroscientist and director of the Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University and professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. A co-author of ‘A Manifesto for Conscious Cities’, arguing that data, technology and planning techniques can be used to improve our built environment.

University College London (UCL)

Nick is the Chadwick Professor of Civil Engineering at UCL and Pro-Provost, East and South Asia. Nick 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.

Future Cities Catapult

Scott is the Chief Business Officer of Future Cities Catapult. Future Cities Catapult’s mission is to advance urban innovation, to grow UK companies, and to make cities better. Future Cities Catapult brings together businesses, universities and city leaders so that they can work with each other to solve the problems that cities face. From our Urban Innovation Centre in London, Future Cities Catapult provides world-class facilities and expertise to support the development of new products and services, as well as opportunities to collaborate with others, test ideas and develop business models.

HKWN Architects

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.

Professor of Building Usability and Visualisation, Director of Research - Architecture and Built Environment, Northumbria University

Ruth is an alumna of University College London. As a licensed architect, she has worked for Foster and Partners (London) and Sheppard Robson Corgan Architects (London) and key projects upon which she has worked include the Carré d’Art de Nîmes, in France, the Palaçio de Congresos in Valencia, Spain, and the Kings Cross International Terminal (unbuilt). She has taught at the Architectural Association, London, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA and the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

Director The Centre for Conscious Design
Director at Hume

Itai is a practicing architect and researcher focusing on designing with the human experience in mind. He is Director of Hume, a science-informed architecture and urban design practice backed by research at its Human Metrics Lab.

In 2015, Itai founded the Conscious Cities movement; a new field of research and practice for building people-centred environments that are aware and responsive using data analysis, AI, tech, and behavioural science in design. Itai is the Director of The Centre for Conscious Design, a think tank focused on using design to address urban challenges facing society today and in the future. The centre publishes open-access research and organises human-centred and science-informed design events worldwide.

A fellow at The Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health (editing its inaugural journal), and at the Urban Design Forum, Itai also carries out thought leadership roles in bodies such as Harvard and Brookings Institution and is on the Advisory Council of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture.

An alumnus of The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, Itai has worked alongside the late visionary architect Jan Kaplicky at Future System on projects such as the Ferrari Museum in Modena. His design work and writing has been featured internationally and he is a regular speaker at events focused on human-centred design.

President of Royal Institute of British Architects

Ben Derbyshire was elected as president of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) in 2016 on a platform of change. His term will run for two years from September 2017. He is Chair of HTA Design LLP, a design consultancy to the home building industry, practicing ‘creative collaboration’ in a range of professional and other disciplines.

Alison Brooks Architects

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.

University College London (UCL)

Tasos is a licensed architect and computing engineer with research focusing on hybrid architecture, computational analysis and interaction. Since 2011 he leads the spatial and architectural computation research for the Space Syntax Laboratory at the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) where he is developing new methodological and computational innovations combining spatial data-driven models with machine learning and agent-based models.

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.

Jamie is passionate about creating strong research and the translation of this into evidence informed design. He works on 3 large well-being research projects led by Sheffield and Manchester Universities (IWUN, GHIA, GrowGreen). He also works for BuroHappold Engineer‘s Sustainability team, liaising with developers, national and local policy makers. This has included several exciting project opportunities to explore ‘urban wellbeing’ in practice, such as the International Quarter London and Olympicopolis, The Factory in Manchester and a proposed new Asian city.

University of Bath

Joanna Bryson is a Reader (tenured Associate Professor) at the University of Bath. She has broad academic interests in the structure and utility of intelligence, both natural and artificial. Venues for her research range from reddit to Science. She is best known for her work in systems AI and AI ethics, both of which she began during her PhD in the 1990s, but she and her colleagues publishbroadly, in biology, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, cognitive science, and politics. Current projects include “The Limits of Transparency for Humanoid Robotics” funded by AXA Research, and “Public Goods and Artificial Intelligence” (with Alin Coman of Princeton University’s Department of Psychology and Mark Riedl of Georgia Tech) funded by Princeton’s University Center for Human Values. Other current research includes understanding the causality behind the correlation between wealth inequality and political polarization, generating transparency for AI systems, and research on machine prejudice deriving from human semantics.  She holds degrees in Psychology from Chicago and Edinburgh, and in Artificial Intelligence from Edinburgh and MIT. At Bath she founded the Artificial Intelligence research group (one of four in the Department of Computer Science) and heads their Artificial Models of Natural Intelligence.

Cushman & Wakefield

Juliette works as Partner in the Global Technology Practice at Cushman & Wakefield and is based in London. She is a property technology specialist with 15 years’ experience advising investors, developers, governments, occupiers and owners around real estate strategy for developing tech companies and clusters. She was a founder member of London’s tech city team for the UK government and co-developed Europe’s first prop-tech accelerator – PiLabs.

Director of Central

Patricia Brown is Director of Central, a niche consultancy largely centred on the dynamics of cities and the process of achieving change. Additionally Patricia is currently Chair of London Festival of Architecture, Vice Chair of the British Property Federation’s Development Committee and until May, was Deputy Chair of the Mayor’s Design Advisory Group, helping to lead its “Good Growth Agenda”. Patricia works across the UK, as well as New York where she is an adviser to Times Square Alliance and a consultant to Columbia University’s Centre for Urban Real Estate.