CONFERENCE | Making the Most of London’s Waterways

Development around London’s waterways is surging, putting pressure on waterside spaces to cater to diverse uses – living, leisure, commuting, freight – while safeguarding the environment. At the same time, fragmented ownership and management of waterways bring a host of governance challenges. Throughout 2019, Future of London’s major project, Making the Most of London’s Waterways, is taking a deep dive into strategies, policies and partnerships to better manage competing demands and ensure sustainable growth around the city’s rivers, canals, docks, and other water spaces.

Linked to this project, Future of London’s full-day conference on 20 June brought together our cross-sector network to share practical approaches to enhancing waterways and waterside spaces as well as managing competing demands – with a view to highlighting lessons which can be applied individually or strategically across any city.

The day included:

  • Spotlights on London’s lost rivers, valuing waterways, and reflections on regeneration of London’s waterways
  • Senior panel discussions on the potential of waterways, managing demand, and putting lessons from the day into practice
  • A session showcasing international approaches
  • Proposals for London from FLL21
  • Workshops and walkabouts to the Thames
  • Breakout sessions on working with communities – including London’s growing boating community – and access & inclusion
  • Contributors from other UK cities
  • A tasty buffet lunch and opportunities for networking

Speakers and Agenda

In keeping with FoL’s effort to help diversify urban debate, we mixed recognised experts with fresh voices for a lively combination of strategic nous and front-line experience.

9:00 Arrivals & registration / tea, coffee, pastries

9:25 Welcome

Nicola Mathers, Chief Executive, Future of London

9:30 Opening Spotlight: London’s Lost Rivers

Tom Bolton, author of London’s Lost Rivers

9:45 Discussion: Potential of Waterways

Nicola Mathers, Chief Executive, Future of London (Chair)
Dr Paul Brickell, Director, London Legacy Development Corporation
Ros Daniels, Director, Canal & River Trust
Debbie Leach, Chief Executive, Thames 21
Jim Trimmer, Director of Planning and Environment, Port of London Authority
Dima Zogheib, Associate, Arup

10:25 Spotlight: The Value of Water

Martyn Saunders, Director, Avison Young

11:00 Spotlight: Liquid Assets

Andrew Beharrell, Senior Partner, Pollard Thomas Edwards

11:15 Discussion: Managing Demand and Expectations

Lisa Taylor, Executive Director, Future of London (Chair)
Sorwar Ahmed, Boating Manager, Canal & River Trust
Mathew Frith, Director of Conservation, London Wildlife Trust
Peter Robinson, Head of Engineering, Scottish Canals
James Sutherland, Technical Director, Anthology
Emma Talbot, Head of Planning, LB Lewisham

12:00 Morning breakout sessions

Proposals for London from Future London Leaders round 21 & Leaders Plus 7
Blossom Young, Head of Operations, Poplar HARCA (Chair)
Richard Freeman, Team Leader – South Team, LB Croydon
Lydia Volans, Senior Project Officer, Greater London Authority
Carmen Largacha, Senior Urban Designer, Arup
Danny Tompkins, Accents Project Producer, Poplar HARCA
Iona Drummond, Development Manager, Swan Housing
Leigh Bullimore, Associate, Pollard Thomas Edwards

Thames Vision Workshop with the Port of London Authority

Thames walkabout with Susannah Wilks, Cross River Partnership

12:55 Lunch break

13:40 Panel: International Approaches

Amanda Robinson, Head of Knowledge, Future of London (Chair)
On Copenhagen: Søren Hansen, Project Director, Ramboll
On Bangalore: Sowmya Parthasarathy, Associate Director, Arup
On Cape Town: Robbie Parks, PhD Candidate, Imperial

15:00 Afternoon breakout sessions

Access & Inclusion
Lucy Webb, Head of Regeneration, LB Croydon (chair)
On young people: Matt Rostron, CEO, London Youth Rowing
On waterways and wayfinding: Maddie Taylor, what3words
On culture and waterways: Emma Underhill, Founding Director, Up Projects

Communities and change
Tricia Patel, Partner, Pollard Thomas Edwards (chair)
On river restoration: Alison Archer, Co-Chair, Pymmes BrookERS
On Cody Dock: Simon Myers, CEO, Gasworks Dock Partnership
On boaters’ contributions and needs: Helen Brice, National Bargee Travellers’ Association

16:05 Closing discussion: Putting it into Practice

Claudette Forbes, Director, CAF Consulting (Chair)
Jan Ackenhausen
, Principal Urban Designer, Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation
Abby Crisostomo, Senior Policy & Programmes Officer, Greater London Authority
Heather Hilburn, Executive Director, Thames Estuary Partnership
Carolyn Tobin, Senior Development Manager, Berkeley Group

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