The City we Have in Mind
Zoom Conference, places are limited
7 May, 2020





5:00 PM CET / 11:00 AM EST

Now more than ever before, the future of our cities is closely tied to the need to look after nature. The time has come to rewrite some of the rules governing this relationship.

Cities will play a crucial role in rebalancing factors associated with economic and psychological stress, reducing pollutants and mitigating the environmental impact caused by transport, factories and the urban fabric. Food chains must be redesigned, as must our networks for conveying water and energy.
The sheer social and economic scale of this global crisis means we need to finally take this step forward. It is not a question of reaching a safe port but of taking up the challenge of redesigning along multidisciplinary lines and guaranteeing a better future for our communities.

We will be discussing these issues together on Thursday, 7th May, at a virtual roundtable involving leading international thinkers and designers.

Visiting Scholar, School of Architecture, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Sarah Williams Goldhagen writes, lectures, and consults about the design of architecture and landscapes, cities and urban design, infrastructure and public art – all the things that constitute the built environment. The author of the widely discussed Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives (HarperCollins, 2017).

Goldhagen is a contributing editor at Art in America and Architectural Record; for many years, she was the New Republic’s architecture critic, and taught for a decade at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Goldhagen has been an invited guest lecturer at numerous universities and colleges in the US and Europe, and her award-winning essays appear regularly in professional and general-interest publications.

Director L22 Retail - Partner Lombardini22

Adolfo has been a Founding Partner of Lombardini22 since 2007 and is head of the company’s Retail and Hospitality design department. Here he has developed his own exceptional know-how in all aspects of restyling projects concerning shopping malls, an additional piece of the puzzle that has enabled him to gain practical experience in all aspects of the Retail project, from A to Z, from the preliminary studies to the renovation phases, all with a sustainable “Cradle to Cradle” outlook. When approaching a project, Adolfo’s mindset is analytical and supported by a strong will to ensure that the mall runs smoothly, in the long-term and at all levels: from the meticulous way he plans the architectural brief as a tool for creating value. One example of this is CityLife which, having clearly positioned the project high in the European markets, creates value for the city which goes beyond the consumption opportunity in a system based on coherence between message and product. And there is Forum Palermo which generates urban relations and resources for the territory of which it is part. In these and indeed all of the projects in which he is involved, Adolfo continuously designs while he works, wherever he may be, and is capable of creating quiet corners for himself even in the noisiest situations. This means that his vision of a problem always delves deep under the surface, sometimes dragging up unexpected solutions and this helps to create that “positive conflict” which continuously goads the team into seeking better solutions.

Advisor Department for International Development DFID

Jagan Shah is Senior Infrastructure Adviser in the Department for International
Development of the UK Government, where he leads a programme to support the
PPP Cell of the Indian Ministry of Finance and is devising a new programme for
developing inclusive, investible and resilient cities. Prior to joining DFID in 2019, he
gathered over two decades of experience in bridging across various disciplines
related to the design, planning and policy for the built environment and cities. He has
been deeply involved in creating innovative urban plans, such as the heritage plan
for Jaipur (2004-6), city development plans for 14 cities in Madhya Pradesh (2005-9),
plans for station-areas for the Regional Rapid Transit System between Delhi-Meerut
and Delhi-Panipat (2009-12), the Regional Plan 2021 for the National Capital
Region, the Master Plan for Delhi (2006-7 and 2018-19), the National Urban Policy
framework (2018) and the policy and implementation of India’s Smart Cities Mission.
Shah combines a sharp knowledge of social processes and the built environment
with a nuanced understanding of spatial planning, infrastructure design and finance,
transportation, heritage revitalisation and livelihoods development. His prominent
leadership roles include Director of the National Institute of Urban Affairs, the
premier urban thinktank of the Government of India (2013-19), Director of the
Sushant School of Art & Architecture (2010-12) and Chief Executive of Urban Space
Consultants (2007-10). He was Independent Director in the Delhi Integrated Multi-
Modal Transit System Ltd (2014-17) and has advised numerous NGOs across the
country. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Clean Air Asia since
2016. Prior to 2007, Shah devoted his time to teaching, writing and film-making. He has
authored two books on architecture and his writings on architecture and urbanism
have been featured by leading publications in India and abroad. Shah studied
Architectural Design at the School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi (1985-90),
and Architectural History & Theory at the University of Cincinnati (1993-95) and
Columbia University (1995-97).

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.

Curator of the Italian Biennale Architecture Pavilion, Venice

Dr. Alessandro Melis, RIBA ARB AOU, is a professor of architecture innovation at
the University of Portsmouth and the co-director of the Cluster for Sustainable Cities
in the UK. In 2019, he was appointed by the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage
(MIBAC) as the curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 17th International Biennale of
Architecture in Venice 2020. In 2020, he was appointed by the Italian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs as Ambassador of Italian Design.

He joined the University of Portsmouth in 2016. His specialist teaching, supervisory,
and research interests lie in the fields of community resilience, environmental
policies, radical theories, and criticism. Previously, at the University of Auckland, he
was the head of the technology area and director of postgraduate engagement at the
School of Architecture and Planning. He has been a guest professor in Austria (Die
Angewandte, Vienna) and in Germany (Anhalt University, Dessau).

He holds a PhD in architecture design from the University of Florence. He has been
a member of the academic body of the Foster Foundation and an honorary fellow at
the Edinburgh School of Architecture. He has also been invited as a keynote speaker
at the China Academy of Art, the MoMA New York, the University of Cambridge,
TED, the Italian Institute of Culture in London, and the UNESCO Headquarters in

In 1996, he founded Heliopolis 21, a multi-awarded architecture practice based in
Italy, Germany, and the UK. The SR1939 Institute of the University of Pisa, the Stella
Maris Hospital, and the Auditorium of Sant’Anna, inaugurated by the president of the
Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, are acknowledged both in scholar publications
and in popular magazines as examples of excellence in sustainable design.
The recognition of Alessandro’s research is corroborated by a record of over 130
peer review journal publications and by as many citations, including in popular
periodicals such as Wired, the New York Times, the Independent, Reuters, and the
Conversation. His work was the object of several exhibitions and of a recent
monograph (Rome, 2020) edited by Francesco Fallacara Chirico, titled “Alessandro
Melis, Utopic Real World.”