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World Built Environment Forum Summit 2018

Andreas Svenungsson
04 May 2018

We look back at the World Built Environment Forum Summit held in London. The Summit is a gathering of innovators and global influencers addressing the world’s biggest challenges including collaborate infrastructure, investment risk and the forth industrial revolution.

Keynote speaker for the April 23-24 event was Tesla Co-Founder and CTO, JB Straubel, shared his insights to an audience with standing room only, highlighting the need for innovation, creative thinking and forward planning. "When we try and convert, adapt and upgrade buildings, it’s always more expensive and more difficult than it is to do it from a clean sheet of paper and design in the right principals from the beginning," he said.



Leading practitioners in the built environment also tackled diversity issues and how companies can retain more women, with Simon Prichard, Senior Partner, Gerald Eve stating: “Things are changing as women become more empowered in the workplace and take progressive, higher earning roles. There’s an inevitability of greater flexibility if society keeps on the same trajectory it has been on.”


Affordable city

Following on from this, those helping to shape and run London, Stockholm and Vienna offered their viewpoints of creating the most liveable cities in the world with Maria Vassilakou, Vice Mayor and and Vice Governor of Vienna highlighting the need for affordable living. Vassilakou said: “What makes us special amongst cities worldwide, especially amongst growing cities is that although we are growing at such a high pace, which means investment and new urban quarters being created each and every year, is that we wanted to remain an affordable city.”


A changing world

Under the programme title of ‘Our Changing World - Urbanisation, Innovation and Civilisation’, the Summit looked at the three driving forces of industrial transformation, urbanisation and digitalisation and their profound impacts on the planet’s natural and built environment.


Key themes included:

  • How development of collaborative infrastructure, trade and knowledge networks can generate inclusive wealth and wellbeing and inspire deeper regional economic co-dependencies
  • The nature and scope of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the role of intelligent technology in driving productivity across both deindustrialised and industrialising global regions
  • Competition and co-operation between cities and regions in pursuit of greater prosperity and economic versatility, enhanced public health and welfare, and improved levels of liveability and environmental sustainability.


Snugging-up with Svenungsson

Andreas Svenungsson, Senior Vice President, Group Public Affairs & Partnerships, Volvo Group was one of the key panellists that discussed  how clusters and specialisation hubs can boost regional economic prosperity and how urban design, local skills bases and public policy combine to establish optimal conditions for clusters to become attractive to investors?

Svenungsson was joined by Christian Ketels, Chief Economist, Boston Consulting Group and Prof Richard Templer, Director of Innovation at Grantham Institute, Imperial College London


Harnessing Disruptive Change

Marcus Sawyerr, President, Adecco Group joined a panel to discuss 'Remaining Relevant: Anticipating and Harnessing Disruptive Change'.  While Vivek Nanda, CEO, Hinduja Investment & Project Services and Board Member, UK India Business Council and Executive Director, Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development joined a panel asking 'What kind of civilization do we want?' Nanda is a renowned urbanist who has worked on major strategic city building, regeneration and infrastructure projects in the UK, Europe, Middle East and India.


New York, New York

The World Built Environment Forum aims to align all stakeholders in the sector behind commercially viable actions that address issues of global significance for urban populations. It moves to New York, in April 2019.

Picture: Andreas Svenungsson was one of the headline panellists at April's  World Built Environment Forum Summit 2018.



Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 04 May 2018


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