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Digital Talk


Thu 29 Apr 2021
18:30 - 20:00


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What will our future city centres look like?

How can we make them exciting places to be and rekindle pride in our civic space?

Join Gavin Bridge of Spatia UK, Elad Eisenstein of Westminster City Council, Michael Cowdy of MacGregor Coxall and Sophie Thompson of LDA to look at cities across the UK and beyond and find out how social inclusion, nature and culture are informing how our city centres are evolving.

Chaired by Shruthi Guruswamy, Principal Masterplanner and Urban Designer at Arcadis.


Gavin Bridge, Spatia UK
During his career, Gavin has delivered over £750M worth of mixed-use development across the UK, including the multi award winning transformation of Finzels Reach, an inspiring new balanced neighbourhood created by Bristol’s Floating Harbour. Developments have driven new standards of environmental sustainability and focused on future needs, from digital connectivity to staff well-being. Passionate about the role the property and construction industry needs to play in contributing to a more inclusive, sustainable economy, Gavin Bridge has been twice named Business Insider – No.1 on Property Power List. Having set up the regional board of the property sector charity LandAid, Gavin is leading an industry consortium to deliver, pro bono, new housing for young homeless in Bristol.

Elad Eisenstein, Oxford Street Programme Director, Westminster City Council
Elad Eisenstein joined Westminster Council as the Programme Director for the Oxford Street District in October 2020. He is responsible for working with local groups and partners to develop ideas and deliver on the council’s investment in this key district within the West End. Elad is trained as an architect and urban designer and has over two decades of experience specialising in leading, designing and delivering complex and large-scale urban projects. He spent his formative years with Arup, where he held various roles as Director, working on major regeneration and infrastructure-led schemes across the UK and internationally. Past projects include Stratford City’s International Quarter and Tottenham Regeneration in London, NOMA in Manchester, Sydney’s Central Railway Corridor (C2E) and Circular Quay, Zuidas in Amsterdam, City of Tshwane in South Africa and the Singapore Sports Hub. Elad is a strong advocate for sustainable design. He is a member of the Mayor of London’s Infrastructure Advisory Panel. His work balances global challenges such as climate change or economic instability with the aspirations of local communities.

Michael Cowdy, MacGregor Coxall
Michael’s passion rests in achieving healthy, smart, green and locally responsive places. With 15 years international experience, Michael adopts a systematic design approach that achieves a restorative and engaging outcome to place. As a Director and Urbanism Leader for McGregor Coxall, he has delivered award winning visions, strategic frameworks, masterplans and public realm projects in the UK, Australia and China.

Sophie Thompson, LDA
Sophie is a Landscape Architect with over twenty years’ experience in the design and delivery of great places, streets and open spaces. She is passionate about LDA Design’s people-first approach to placemaking. This can be seen through her design leadership on the £50m Newcastle City Centre Transformation Programme, the £35m West End Project and Southsea Coastal scheme in Portsmouth. These represent some of the most ambitious transformations of public realm in the UK. Carving out new types of urban and green space to create a healthier, safer and more experiential cities. Sophie is a recognised authority on future street and public realm design, she is on the High Streets Task Force and the New London Architecture Transport and Infrastructure Panel.


Shruthi Guruswamy, Principal Masterplanner and Urban Designer, Arcadis
Shruthi is a Chartered Urban Planner / Designer and Architect passionate about delivering evidence-based smart and sustainable human-centred solutions. She is a Principal Masterplanner and Urban Designer at Arcadis. Over the last decade, Shruthi has lived and worked in four different countries delivering masterplans in the UK, Sweden, India, Middle East, and Panama. These include town/city centre regeneration schemes, transit-oriented developments, garden towns, employment and health campuses, city planning frameworks and infrastructure developments. She has extensive experience in leading interdisciplinary technical teams, stakeholder engagement and project management. With a keen interest in R&D and Digital Planning, Shruthi was one of the core technical specialists at Atkins involved in the development of the prototype for PIM, a parametric urban planning tool, funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. She lectures, supervises and publishes on urban regeneration, sustainable neighbourhoods, co-design and digital planning, and also acts as an RTPI Assessor for Chartership Applications.



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Presented in partnership with Bristol City Centre BID