Making the Most of… What We’ve Got

People standing and sitting round a large table in a bright, white office space with plants
Expressway, Royal Docks: office block converted into community workspace (Picture: General Projects)

From changing patterns of urban living after Covid to the climate emergency and funding cuts, the built environment sector needs to deliver under huge pressure. Our Making the Most of… event series asks how placemakers can respond.

Future of London is hosting a series of expert-led seminars exploring how to make the most of what we’ve got. This series provides a space to share concerns and discuss potential responses.

Drawing on multi-stakeholder perspectives, we aim to support the sector to deliver for citizens despite present-day barriers.

Making the Most of… Retrofit 

As the demands on our high streets and office spaces are in flux, retrofit has a vital role to play in creating resilient and flexible cities. There’s opportunity for city-wide, repeatable retrofit solutions to prevent local authorities duplicating work and competing for funds.

Five people sitting in a row talk in front of an audience
Retrofit panel (l-to-r) Nicola Mathers (chair), Simon Rogers, Jo Spencer, Amandeep Singh Kalra and Matthew Essex

The case for cutting embodied carbon made national news with the M&S Oxford Street case last year. But when it comes to creating local social value, is demolition ever the answer? The event in January 2024 explored:

  • Retrofitting occupied buildings
  • Building-in flexibility for different end uses
  • Systems opportunities in London
  • Planning as a lever to improve retrofit standards
  • Gathering and normalising data on existing building stock

Read the retrofit event write-up here

Making the Most of… Public Assets

Five people sitting in a row talk in front of an audience

In 2021, we published a report called Better Use of Public Assets that looked at how councils could get more community value from buildings they owned, such as LB Newham’s Expressway building (pictured).

Now we return to the subject with a laser-focus on making the most of public assets and our building stock. Find out how innovative partnerships can drive local and cross-borough social and economic objectives.

We’ll explore topics such as:

  • Place-based social and economic value
  • Strategic alignment and coordinating asset classes across boroughs
  • Smart partnerships, delivery models and the end of Private Finance Initiative contracts
  • Better planning for the public estate of the future

Read the public assets event write up here
Read our Better Use of Public Assets report (2021) and listen to the podcast here 

Making the Most of… Nature in the City

Nature brings many benefits to those who live in cities. From mitigating the effects of climate change to providing leisure and mental health benefits, nature is a critical contributor to a thriving city. Hear from our panel of public and private sector leaders who all have compelling ideas to make nature more accessible.

Read the write-up of a previous event on green space here

We’ll touch on topics such as:

  • Biodiversity and net gain in developments
  • Green accessible open spaces – parks, streets, community gardens
  • Climate resilience and health and wellbeing
  • Tackling the climate and biodiversity emergencies
  • Clever ways of weaving nature into our everyday lives
  • Biomimicry – nature in building design

Thanks to Arup, Montagu Evans, Mount Anvil and Potter Raper for supporting the Making the Most of… What We’ve got events programme.