A great strength of the AoU's annual Congress is the breadth of local and international speakers who come together to share perspectives, case studies, and advice on the year's theme, on this occasion Designing for the Future.

So we are thrilled to announce the first four speakers joining us in Cambridge, 21 - 23 June, to do just this.

Click here for programme, tickets, and more.

Maria Vassilakou

Maria is an experienced, inspiring urban leader, devoted to open, inclusive and green cities, passionate about urban transformation processes leading to sustainable system change. She served as Vienna’s Vice Mayor responsible for Urban Planning, Traffic & Transport, Climate Protection, Energy and Public Participation from November 2010 to July 2019.

In her 9 years serving as Vice Mayor, Maria successfully implemented a vast transformation agenda comprising numerous innovative projects, contributing substantially to Vienna’s #1 position in all major international liveability rankings within the last decade.

Maria now works worldwide as an independent advisor on urban transformation. After leaving office, she founded Vienna Solutions, a network of experienced Viennese urban experts and practitioners, with whom she cooperates building flexible teams to deliver complex urban projects.

Since 2019 Maria has also been a member of the EU Horizon Mission experts board on Climate Neutral Smart Cities.

Stephen Kelly

Chief Planner for Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council responsible for leading a team of 140 professional and technical staff in the delivery of statutory planning services to support sustainable growth and effective infrastructure planning and delivery with partners across Greater Cambridge and beyond. 

Stephen has over 30 years public sector experience of urban and rural planning, regeneration and development across the UK including previous roles as Chief Planner in the London Borough’s of Haringey and Harrow, Director of Planning for an Urban Development Corporation and leading the planning input on projects in Brent, Hertfordshire, South Wales and the South West for Local Planning Authorities.

Robin Nicholson

Robin is a Fellow of Cullinan Studio, which he joined in 1979.  He is Convenor of the multi-disciplinary think-tank  for the built and natural environment, the Edge, and chairs the Cambridgeshire Quality Panel. He is a member of the NHBC Foundation Expert Panel and an Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham.  He was awarded a Doctorate of Design by the University of the West of England in 2022.

Previously he was a Vice-President of the RIBA (1992-94), Chairman of the Construction Industry Council (1998-2000), a founder member of the Movement for Innovation Board (1998-2001), a CABE Commissioner (2002-10) and a Non-Executive Director of the NHBC (2007-14).

Flora Samuel

Flora is the Professor of Architecture and incoming Head at the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on social equity and value in architecture and on fostering collaboration between communities, practice and academia. Her most recent book Housing for Hope and Wellbeing was published earlier this year.

The Academy of Urbanism (Number 2) Limited is a not-for-profit organisation limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales 0595604, 11c Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 IXE, United Kingdom.
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