New London Architecture

Urban Innovation

Emerging ideas and technologies for the built environment

Emerging ideas and technologies for the built environment

The Mayor of London has set out an ambition to make London the world’s smartest city. As a data rich, global centre for learning with good investment in tech-innovation; London is already an established global hub for smart technologies across multiple sectors.

NLA’s new Urban Innovation programme will explore the opportunities represented by technological innovation across property, planning, architecture, construction, engineering and city management.

At this time of rapid change and digitisation, the programme aims to connect sectors and support the built environment industry to navigate and leverage emerging technologies and practices. As well as examining the impact of technologies on London, it will champion the role of London as an incubator for innovation in property and city making.

  • London’s growing PropTech community 
  • London’s data landscape 
  • Building Information Modelling 
  • City Planning, 3D computer modelling and Open Data 

2020 – Smart Cities: engaging with citizens to accelerate green solutions

News Video

Expert Panel

Jonathan Burroughs, CEO, Creative Places

Jonathan is a chartered surveyor and has a degree in Estate Management.  He worked for an international firm of real estate advisors in London before moving to Cambridge and for over 10 years has been CEO of Creative Places, a niche consultancy that helps clients provide business environments that enhance innovation and enterprise. Jonathan concentrates on research, R&D and learning activity in sectors and locations where added value can be created through joint endeavour.  He works for various governmental bodies, universities, hospitals, research institutes, developers and investors.  Alongside his work with the NLA Jonathan is an active member of the United Kingdom Science Parks Association (UKSPA), the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation(IASP) and a founding member of the Academy of Urbanism. 
David Williams, Partner, Business Space Agency & Head of Science & Technology, Bidwells
David is a Partner in Bidwells, leading the firmwide Science and Technology group, focussed on advising developer and investor clients on 23 science and technology campuses across the Golden Triangle, and representing occupiers on real estate acquisitions and specialist fitting out. 
David also leads the team retained to advise Oxford Sciences Innovation plc, the world’s largest University fund, with a growing portfolio of 78 technology companies. David has market insight across all sectors of science and technology; Space, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, AI (including autonomy, sensors & robotics), Computing and Data, Energy and Engineering.
Darius Umrigar, Science & Higher Education Director, NBBJ 
Darius has more than 25 years’ experience spanning education, science, healthcare and workplace sectors. He operates as an architect and lead consultant, steering consultant teams from bid through to the design, planning, procurement and delivery of complex projects for key clients in the UK.
He is currently delivering a new research, teaching and learning centre for the University of Oxford. In creating a world-class centre for Life and Mind Sciences, this will be the university’s largest building project to date. Through strategic vision and design excellence, supported by robust technical knowledge, he leads projects with innovative thinking and sensitive, human-centred solutions that align with his clients’ vision and goals.
Faaiza Lalji, Director of Planning and Development, Precis Advisory Limited
Faaiza is the Director of Planning and Development at Precis Advisory where she oversees a new residential-led mixed use build to rent portfolio in Outer London representing 2,500 homes and 1 million sqft of workspace and storage.  She also leads on the company’s life sciences and sustainability-focused projects, the flagship of which is located in the heart of the King’s Cross Knowledge Quarter and Innovation District.  Faaiza sits on the Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board, the Urban Land Institute’s European Life Sciences and UK Residential Councils, the British Property Foundation’s Residential Build to Rent Committee, and the Young Camden Foundation Trustee Board.
Peter Baird, Urban Design Associate, Perkins Will
Peter Baird is a planner and designer who is passionate about advancing the design quality, application of data, and collaborative opportunities in science and technology locations. He advocates for deep-dive analysis to establish transparent design decisions, improve problem solving, and create open dialogue with the community. His experience has led to a strong understanding of research environments, global trends, and the company growth dynamics that underpin innovation campuses and districts. His experience spans multiple master plans and facility programs across the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.
Rebecca Mortimore, Principal, Hassell
Rebecca has over 25 years of architectural experience working on complex projects for leading universities and scientific institutions in the UK.
During that time, she’s carved out a reputation for crafting exceptional environments – places that attract and inspire people and help support scientific advances. 
She believes the best places for research and learning put people at the heart of the experience – and that’s where you see innovation and discovery really flourish.
Rob Partridge, Design Director, AKT II
Rob is a Design Director at AKT II, responsible for leading a diverse range of projects, both in the UK and internationally, requiring a holistic focus across the many facets of design. His portfolio includes the Francis Crick Institute with HOK International and PLP Architecture, the LSE Centre Building with RSH+P and Oxford North with Fletcher Priest Architects.
Kat Hanna, Masterplan Strategist, Lendlease
An experienced urbanist and researcher, Kat has worked in London politics, planning and policy for the past eight years. Her research interests include urban economies, transport, and the relationship between technology and the built environment. Kat has authored a number of reports and articles on urban development in London and regularly appears as a commentator on urban affairs across a range of publications, media, and events.
Kat joined Lendlease in April 2019 as masterplan strategist for the 60 acre Euston over-site development. Her role focuses on developing the masterplan vision and ensuring both the plan and the project.
Charles Walford, Property Director, Stanhope
Charles is a Director at Stanhope and specialises in the development process including securing new opportunities and managing all aspects of pre-development including planning and de-risking and has a specific interest and expertise in Life Science. He has worked on major mixed use projects including Ruskin Square and Television Centre and is currently heading up the British Library project.
Gavin Henderson, Principal Director, Stanton Williams
With a focus on the development and culture of cities and the role of public space, much of Gavin’s work involves interventions in sensitive sites and the engagement between architecture and the public realm. Gavin has extensive experience in higher education, science and research and a particular interest in the interrelationship of these disciplines and urban life. As a Principal Director at Stanton Williams, he has led a number of the practice’s high-profile projects including the Stirling Prize winning Sainsbury Laboratory for the University of Cambridge. Recent projects include the expansion of Cambridge Judge Business School, key worker housing for the University of Cambridge, and the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Gavin is currently responsible for the design of a new 33,500sqm academic facility within the first phase of the UCL East masterplan within the new Cultural and Education District in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.
Emma, Frost, Director of Innovation, Sustainability and Community, London Legacy Development Corporation
Emma is highly experienced in delivering strategic integrated urban regeneration programmes. She has been working on the London Olympic and Paralympic Legacy since 2006 and leads on all aspects of community and business development round the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.  Specialising in community development, sustainability and masterplanning as well as business strategy and start-ups, with experience across public, private and third sectors. She is also chair of the UK Innovations District Group co-founder of Echo and Trustee of the One Percent Scheme
Dan Culling, Construction Engineer, Innovation Incentives, EY
Dan is a Civil Engineer is highly specialised in the architecture and construction R&D space. His acute level of knowledge and detail has allowed his clients to have a competitive advantage across the sector by increasing R&D claims and facilitating Innovate UK grants.
Prior to joining EY, Dan spent five years as a Project Engineer with Skanska Construction managing various contractors and design teams on large Infrastructure projects throughout the UK.
See all NLA expert Panels

In association with

Programme Champions

London Legacy Development Corporation
Sharing Cities


There are opportunities to become either a Champion or Supporter of this programme. To find out more about how you could get involved in the events and output across our platforms please get in touch with the Membership Team via

Prices start from £4,250 + VAT for 12 month support. 


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