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Dec 09, 2020

Leading Changes for the Future

Written by GT
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G&T Associate and NextGen Champion Nancy Elgarf represented the NLA NextGen Sounding Board in a New London Leaders webinar last week. With the Mayoral elections approaching in 2021, the panel of young professionals from across the industry discussed the Changing Face of London research study and the London 2035 checklist.

Building on the successes and transformations of the last 15 years, London has the opportunity to reposition itself even more positively in the future. With the many challenges facing London, the research report gives a set of recommendations about how we might ‘reboot’ London to be more sustainable and inclusive. The panel set about dissecting some of these ideas and discussing them in more detail. 

“By investing in civic centres we will see local revitalisation in places that might not have seen regeneration previously. A rebalance of rent for example will encourage new people into the city refreshing the vibrancy and re-invigorating London.”

Nancy Elgarf

G&T Associate and NLA NextGen Sounding Board Representative

Based on the 2035 recommendations the panellists discussed which factors need prioritising, what radical action must be taken and how and what does the next generation need to do to make London’s future better. All panellists agreed that achieving net zero should be the city’s main focus but that many of the other factors, for example smart technology and flexibility underpinned this.

“London is a global city discussed on a global stage. We can think and deliver big as seen in the Changing Face of London report.”

Jenna Goldberg

LCA Board Director

Other topics discussed included, whether the government’s proposed net zero targets are achievable, how the industry can harness the pandemic to create a smarter and more adaptable city and examples of other places which are leading the way in the fight against climate change.

“We need science based targets to inform our actions with a clear roadmap of exactly how we will achieve this. Accountability and transparency will be key in achieving realistic aims that are comparable”

Alexia Laird

Landsec Sustainable Design Executive

One of the key issues discussed was how to get climate change to the forefront of the agenda ahead of the mayoral elections. It was the panellists’ view that education at all levels would be key in achieving this and that organisations like the NLA must continue to provide opportunities, such as this webinar for it to be discussed.

“We can keep good design and urban planning at the forefront of any agenda but if we give the public the knowledge and tools to have effective dialogue we can understand what the key user issues and needs are”

Simon Graceson

HKS Senior Associate

As a final thought panellists were invited to give their view on how the industry can ensure future generations are equipped to contend with future crises. Speakers agreed that although the government’s ten step plan was important in recognising a need for change, more work is required to provide the public with detailed information on how that plan will be delivered. As the next generation of industry leaders all panellists affirmed that learning from previous mistakes will be essential in moving forward and creating a more resilient city for future generations.

The panel of speakers included:

  • Alexia Laird – Green Recovery
  • Benjamin O’Connor, Director, NLA (Moderator)
  • Jenna Goldberg, Board Director, LCA
  • Joseph Ward, Principal Consultant, AECOM
  • Nancy Elgarf, Associate Director, Gardiner & Theobald
  • Simon Grayson, Senior Associate, HKS

Watch the recording.

G&T has been NextGen Champion of the NLA’s NextGen programme since it began in 2015, the NextGen Sounding Board was created in response to the pandemic providing future industry leaders with the opportunity to have their say on key topics shaping the built environment.

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