Sustrans to take over Street Talks

I’m pleased to announce that Sustrans are to take over the role of organising Street Talks. I’ve recently started working for Transport for London and as a result have decided to put the activities of Movement for Liveable London on hold. The website will stay live so that people can continue to access the Street Talks archive and other resources, and upcoming talks will continue to be advertised through the mailing list – you might also like to follow Sustrans London on Twitter.

I’d like to thank German, Matt and Nick at Sustrans for offering to keep Street Talks going. Much progress has been made in London since the talks began in March 2011, but there’s still a need for events that allow anyone with an interest to hear inspiring speakers and discuss the relationship between transport, public realm and liveability.

Details of the next Street Talks, which will explore the role of street closures in providing space for play, can be found here.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have attended past talks and in particular previous speakers – it’s fair to say that Movement for Liveable London and Street Talks would have been nothing without you.

Best wishes

Bruce McVean, Founder, Movement for Liveable London

Street Talks, 17th March – Playing out: the role of street closures in providing space for play

The next Street Talks will hear from those responsible for facilitating, organising and assessing the impact of play streets in Hackney and consider the role of temporary street closures in providing space for play (and more), with presentations from:

6.30pm, Tuesday 17th March at The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, EC1M 6EJ (This event has been arranged by Sustrans who are taking over the organising of Street Talks, more details here)

Claudia Draper joined with other parents to successfully campaign for the introduction of Hackney Play Streets in 2012 and is a volunteer organiser in her own street. Claudia now works for Hackney Play Association, a charity that works to improve children and young people’s health, wellbeing and quality of life, through play. She has worked closely with Hackney Council and Playing Out CIC to support residents, schools and other community organisations to activate street play in their areas. There are now 32  streets taking part in Hackney that run regular playing out sessions with Claudia’s support. 

Nick Jackson is Play Development Manager for Young Hackney, Hackney Council, which aims to help all of Hackney’s young people to enjoy their youth and become independent and successful adults. Nick commissioned the play street support work that has running for the last year and a half. This has spurred the uptake of play streets in the borough and helped play streets spread to more deprived areas in Hackney.

Tim Gill is one of the UK’s leading thinkers on childhood, and an effective advocate for positive change in children’s everyday lives. For over 15 years his writing, research, consultancy projects and other work has focused on the changing nature of childhood. Tim has advised political parties and think-tanks across the political spectrum. His clients include the National Trust, London Legacy Development Company, Forestry Commission, Mayor of London, Argent plc. and Play England. He is also a Built Environment Expert for Design Council CABE, the UK Government’s design champion for the built environment.

Street Talks, 2nd September – In with the new: Designing for walking and cycling in new developments

Street Talks with:

  • Nick Searl, Partner, Argent 
  • Maximo Martinez, Associate Director, Space Syntax
  • Bruce McVean, Founder, Movement for Liveable London and Associate Director, Beyond Green

London is a growing and ever evolving city and new development is everywhere – often taking place at a significant scale that essentially creates new pieces of city. New development provides the opportunity to make places where walking and cycling is a pleasure, starting with a relatively blank canvas to create great streets, squares and parks.

We hope you can join us for the next Street Talks when we’ll be considering how to ensure new developments genuinely put the needs of pedestrians and cyclists first. We’ll explore how to improve connectivity for those on foot and bike, learn from the experience of developing King’s Cross – one of the largest and most exciting projects currently underway in London – and learn how the design of neighbourhoods, streets and homes in suburban locations can help break the cycle of car dependency.

6.30pm, Tuesday 2nd September at The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, EC1M 6EJ – in partnership with Sustrans London

Nick Searl is a Partner of Argent LLP, having joined the company in January 2008. His main priority is leading the commercial teams at King’s Cross who deal with the definition, strategy, leasing and management of the office and retail components. He is also closely involved with the wider branding and promotion of King’s Cross. At a corporate level, Nick is involved in securing new development opportunities for Argent and is jointly responsible for marketing and promoting the business.

Before joining Argent, Nick worked with Chelsfield and European Land at Paddington Basin where he delivered The Point and Waterside buildings for M&S and Orange respectively and was also the development manager obtaining planning permission for the 1.8 million sq ft Merchant Square development.

Max Martinez is an Associate Director at Space Syntax where he leads interdisciplinary projects that range from the development of design briefs to the strategic design of urban areas and buildings. His particular interest is to provide design solutions that optimise available spatial resources for the benefit of the project and to the wider area. Through a collaborative approach, he brings his extensive project experience into the design process helping partners and clients reduce the inherent risks of design and development.

Max leads the development of the practice’s complex buildings portfolio: cultural, health, education, workplace. His contributions include the redevelopment of the Royal Festival Hall and the Barbican Arts Centre in London and a visitor circulation strategy for the Natural History Museum in London. His recent masterplanning contributions include the BBC Television Centre and Elizabeth House in London and the Snow Hill Station Interchange Plan in Birmingham. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Bartlett, University College London where he lectures regularly on the Spatial Design: Architecture & Cities masters programme.

Bruce McVean is Associate Director of Beyond Green, a consulting and development business that aims to create places where residents, employees and visitors can enjoy a high quality of life while minimising their environmental footprint. He leads Beyond Green’s work on strategic masterplanning, helping design teams and local stakeholders work together to ensure places are designed and run in ways that are truly sustainable.  

Bruce founded Movement for Liveable London in 2011 and is also a Trustee of Living Streets. He was previously Senior Policy Advisor at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) where he was responsible for developing and communicating CABE’s policies on sustainable design and climate change, public buildings, health and public space.

Speak up for your high street – Tom Platt’s Street Talks presentation

Tom Platt, London Manager, Living Streets: Speak up for your high street (1st April 2014)


The Living Streets Speak up for your high street campaign aims to ensure councillors elected on 22nd May champion people friendly high streets following election.

The campaign proposes six practical steps councils can take to help breath new life into London’s high streets by making them more inviting places to walk and spend time.  Write directly to party leaders in your borough and ask them to take the Living Streets pledge.

Street Talks, April 1st – Balancing act: the roles of place and movement in creating successful high streets

The way we shop may be changing but London’s high streets are still at the heart of local communities. They are the city’s hardest working streets – having to accommodate through and local traffic while also being great places where people want to spend their time and money. Finding the right balance between those competing demands is essential if high streets are to thrive.

We hope you can join us for Street Talks on 1st April when Tom Platt from Living Streets and Louise Duggan from the Greater London Authority will be exploring the roles of place and movement in creating successful high streets.

6.30pm, Tuesday 1st April at The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, EC1M 6EJ – in partnership with Living Streets and Sustrans London

Louise Duggan has a strong track record in linking strategic thinking with effective programme development and project delivery at local national and regional levels in the public sector.  In her current role at the GLA she is responsible for delivery of £28m support for regeneration in Tottenham. She is helping deliver complex projects which promote urban renewal and economic growth by working with partners to secure physical change and support enterprise. Louise also is also leading on development of strategies to addresses the complex challenge of accommodating 1 million new Londoners while maintaining space for jobs and growth on London high streets. In previous roles at CABE Louise defined and led an innovative street design and placemaking programme. She represented CABE at a senior level, brokered multi agency agreements, and influenced national policy agendas.

Tom Platt specialises in city design and policy, with a particular interest in how people get around. In his role as London Manager, Tom oversees Living Streets’ policy and campaign work aimed at making London a safer and more inviting place to walk. Tom is a champion for 20 mph speed limits in London and has played a key role in its greater roll out within the capital.  He currently sits on the Mayor’s Road Safety Steering Group and Better Junction’s Review Group. Before joining Living Streets, Tom studied Urban Design at the JCUD in Oxford and worked as a regeneration consultant for URS. Between roles, he set up and ran his own fruit business, before selling in 2006.


Street Talks, 22nd January – The quick, the cheap and the temporary

The quick, the cheap and the temporary: Speeding up the transformation of London’s streets and public spaces 

6.30pmWednesday 22nd January at The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, EC1M 6EJ – in partnership with Sustrans London

Is it time London learnt to loosen up and lighten up in its approach to the design and delivery of cycle infrastructure and other public realm improvements?

Over the last few years New York has been rapidly reclaiming street space for pedestrians and cyclists using little more than ‘paint and planters.’ Temporary and pilot projects are now being refined, adapted and made permanent. Should London be doing the same?

We hope you can join us for the first Street Talks of 2014 when our panel of speakers will explore the potential for quick, cheap and temporary projects to speed up the transformation of London’s streets and public spaces:

  • Hannah Padgett from Sustrans will explain how the Pocket Places project in Peckham is using temporary and semi-permanent interventions to transform unused spaces along Rye Lane and stimulate debate about the future of this important local high street;
  • Brian Deegan, who pioneered ‘light segregation’ for cycle lanes on Royal College Street, Camden and is one of the authors of Transport for London’s new Cycle Design Standards will consider the importance of adaptability when delivering cycle infrastructure; and
  • Hackney Council’s Ben Kennedy will present a series of case studies at a range of scales – from on-street cycle lockers to a pilot project to test the potential for pedestrianising the Narrow Way on Mare Street.

Street Talks, 5th December – Cycling lessons for London with John Dales

Street Talks with John Dales, Director, Urban MovementCycling lessons for London: Conclusions from TfL’s International Cycle Benchmarking Study

Please note that this talk is being held at Look Mum No Hands, 125 – 127 Mare Street

We hope you can join us and John Dales for our next Street Talks when we’ll be discussing the conclusions from an international study of cycle infrastructure commissioned by Transport for London.

The study, which will inform the updated London Cycling Design Standards, looked at how a number of cities where cycling has been growing strongly in recent years have designed and built new cycling facilities. Cities visited for the study include Berlin, Dublin, Malmo, Minneapolis, Munich, Nantes, New York, Seville, Stockholm and Utrecht.

John will present the study’s findings and consider the lessons for London and the UK. Subject to availability Phil Jones, Managing Director, Phil Jones Associates and Mark Strong from Transport Initiatives, who were also part of the study team, will join John for the discussion.

7pm, Thursday 5th December at Look Mum No Hands, 125–127 Mare St, E8 3RH (Map). Look Mum No Hands will be open as usual beforehand for food and drink.

John Dales is Director of Urban Movement, a consultancy specialising in transport, movement and streets. John is a traffic engineer, transport planner and urban designer with 29 years’ professional experience that spans from strategic transport planning to concept design.

Well known as a champion of better town and city streets, he was Director being responsible for Urban Initiatives’ Movement + Streets portfolio before founding Urban Movement. John is an urban realm design advisor to several UK local authorities, including the City of Edinburgh, the London Borough of Ealing and Southend Borough Council, as well as a Design Review Panellist for Transport for London and Urban Design London. He is a Trustee of Living Streets, was a contributing author to Manual for Streets 2, and is a former Board member of the Transport Planning Society. He’s an experienced trainer of other transport practitioners, a regular conference speaker and chair, and has been author of a monthly article in Local Transport Today on ‘Transport in Urban Design’ since 2005.