The public realm is defined as the space around, between and within buildings that are publicly accessible, including streets, squares, parks, footpaths, pavements and open spaces. These are the everyday spaces that we move through and socialise within, the places where we live, work and play. Approximately 85% of residents feel that the quality of public space and the built environment has a direct impact on their lives and on the way they feel. A smart space is a physical or digital environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated and intelligent ecosystems. Multiple elements – including people, processes, services and things – come together in a smart space to create a more immersive, interactive and automated experience for a target set of people and scenarios.
PUBLIC REALM & URBAN SPACES Smart Classes show key buyer side stakeholders how to harness innovation, technology, data science and design to create the next generation of smarter spaces and places in our cities and regions.
Qualifying delegates include commissioning, procurement, trialling, partnering and policy leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers, planners, place makers, architects, green space managers, urban designers, highways & street scene, transport & mobility and high streets & regeneration professionals from councils and local authorities (city, borough, metropolitan, district, county and combined); people and place partnerships; developers, landowners and creators of privately owned public spaces; prime contractors and city centre management companies; DfT, DEFRA, MHCLG, EA and supporting governmental bodies; transport authorities, highways agencies and public transport operators; civic organisations and community groups; and other key players from the public realm ecosystem with responsibility for managing, maintaining and operating our streets, squares, forecourts, parks, pathways, retail centres, car parks, airports, ports, travel hubs, hospitals, housing estates, campuses, communal gardens and the assets contained within these public or semi-public spaces.
Core themes range from connected LED street lighting, intelligent lighting of buildings, smart IoT enabled lamp posts and litter bins, smart urban furniture (benches, chairs, tables etc) and greening solutions (living walls and pillars, green corridors etc), and utilizing data to transform unused or ‘dumb’ spaces, to digital displays and signage (for streets, shop fronts, parks etc), interactive road crossings, parking and traffic management, civil enforcement technologies, outdoor fitness systems, innovative playscapes, and the future role of 5G in the proliferation of digital technology in the public realm. We’ll explore deploying digital technologies, data driven insights and progressive design to support a variety of objectives (e.g. bringing nature and the environmental benefits to the built environment; addressing crime and safety; reducing street clutter; managing kerbs and drainage; calming traffic, and promoting cycling and active travel; improving maintenance regimes; encouraging behavioural change and inclusivity; increasing commercial opportunities; creating clusters, flexible workspaces and innovation districts; protecting legacy and heritage etc) and also examine how innovation has helped the public realm to implement temporary changes and adapt to a Covid and post-Covid world (e.g. predicting footfall with technologies designed to monitor density; optimising navigation routing to help balance necessary urban traffic with pedestrianised zones; maintaining social distancing with electronic tags, track and tracing applications, and CCTV; repurposing spaces and recovering high streets; using 3D visualisation and digital twins to understand the implications of change).
PUBLIC REALM & URBAN SPACES Smart Class 2023 will be hosted in Manchester – at The Shipping Office, Lloyds House – on Tuesday 4th July, and follows on from a much praised inaugural 2022 edition in London! Delegates will hear from industry movers, shapers and disruptors during initial rapid-fire thought leadership presentations, before moving on to in-depth consultations with experts and peers during the roundtable discussions. In addition, the Smart Class will feature up to 3 keynote presentations from major buyer side stakeholders (e.g. a progressive local authority, place partnership, POPS creator, development corporation or public body of government) giving real world insight into their collaborative initiatives, digital journeys and adoptions of transformative technology and design. This half day in-person event is free to attend for bona fide delegates satisfying our registration criteria.
Our 2022 edition attracted the likes of:
Previous presentations addressed the following topics:
Testimonials and feedback:
Group Manager, Major Programmes and Projects – Policy and Projects Division, City of London Corporation
“Inspiring, really enjoyable and well organised, many thanks”
Senior Urban Designer, Sustrans
“I found the conference super insightful. Made you question how we’ve been managing public spaces for years and learn of innovative ways of doing it better going forward. I definitely got value out of this event and networked with organisations which I believe will help our clients to take the next step into creating more sustainable, digital and community driven mixed-use developments”
Project Manager Architecture & Placemaking, Mace
“Thank you for bringing this Smart Class to my attention!”
Placemaking Group Manager, Surrey County Council
“All the presentations and roundtables were valuable”
Senior Urban Designer, Hackney Council
“The Smart Class was an invaluable opportunity to learn, ask questions and engage with innovators and groups with great stories to tell. I believe I will have lots more fascinating conversations on the back of this session. Thank you!”
Associate Principal Lighting Design Consultant, Elementa Consulting
“Great seminar, Mark and team! Thank you”
Head of Innovation – SHIFT, London Legacy Development Corporation
“Programme Content was helpful and relevant”
Transport Planner, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
“The day was interesting, presenting a variety of projects. It was good to see technology companies as there is quite a gap in innovation in public realm design. Thanks again for hosting”
Director of Masterplanning, Meinhardt UK
“It was a pleasure attending, and really enjoyed the presentations”
Director of Digital Transformation, 31ten Consulting
“It was a great event, some really interesting presentations and ideas with good discussions with attendees throughout the day. Thanks for putting it on!”
Director of Insight and Research, AND London
“Thank you so much for the excellent experience. Looking forward to the next Smart Classes”
Urban Spaces Engineer, Sustrans
“Engaging roundtable discussions and excellent opportunities to network”
Landscape and Urban Design Associate Director, WSP
“The presentation and roundtable on Lewisham has led to a potential sales lead”
Local Authority Strategy Development Manager, Keep Britain Tidy
“Well done for organising! Great seminar to talk about Lewisham project and meet people interested and involved in public realm schemes. Thank you all”
Associate Landscape Architect, Project Centre – part of Marston Holdings (Innovation Sponsor)
“Really great event last week”
Senior Client Solution Architect, Brightly (Innovation Sponsor)
“I find the events very informative and look forward to attending again in the future…Really enjoyed this Public Realm & Urban Spaces Smart Class and the conversations with the attendees, keep these events coming!”
Client Engagement Director, Brightly (Innovation Sponsor)
“Thoroughly enjoyable! Good contacts made!”
Global Account Manager, Telensa (Innovation Sponsor)
“Thanks for a great event last Thursday in London and to the attending innovators from cities, councils and the private sector that we met who were both engaged and engaging. Telensa considered it a very worthwhile event and we look forward to collaborating in the near future”
UK & Ireland Sales Manager, Telensa (Innovation Sponsor)
Keynote from Cathy Parker, Co-Chair of the Institute of Place Management (IPM), Professor of Retail and Marketing Enterprise at Manchester Metropolitan University and Research Lead for the Government’s High Streets Task Force: Presentation title and summary description to follow!
“Knowledge Quarter Liverpool Innovation District: Public Realm at the Heart of Placemaking” – Knowledge Quarter Liverpool (KQ Liverpool) is a 450 acre urban innovation district which spans more than half of Liverpool City Centre. Bringing together the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool City Council and Bruntwood SciTech, KQ Liverpool is the strategic and placeshaping organisation tasked with developing a world-leading innovation district.
Sciontec is the commercial spin-out development of KQ Liverpool, with the vision to own and operate the most innovative science and technology buildings in the World. Sciontec owns and operates Liverpool Science Park, manages Sciontec AI serviced space offices in The Spine and is developing HEMISPHERE at Paddington Village.
This keynote from KQ Liverpool’s CEO Colin Sinclair will highlight the importance of public realm to placemaking, using the landmark £1bn Paddington Village development site in KQ Liverpool as a key example. Paddington Village sits at the eastern gateway to KQ Liverpool and is an urban village that has Science, Tech, Education and Health within its DNA.Paddington began to rise from the ground back in 2017 and is now proudly home to The University of Liverpool Kaplan International College, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre’s Community Diagnostics Centre, the Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village hotel, a Multi-Storey Car Park, and The Spine. Sciontec’s £56m HEMISPHERE scheme is the next plot to be developed on Paddington Village and will be Liverpool City Region’s first operational net zero new build.
In addition, this keynote will also explore the role that public realm and urban spaces can play in delivering inclusive innovation and in the case of KQ Liverpool “Being a Better Neighbour” to surrounding communities, removing both the physical and invisible barriers to opportunities within the innovation economy.
Keynote on behalf of Hull City Council to be co-delivered by Kath Wynne-Hague (Head of Culture, Place and City Centre) and Garry Taylor (Assistant Director for Major Projects, Culture & Place): Presentation title & summary description to follow!
“Bright and Connected Public Spaces” – Hear from the team at Brightly how, through the use of IoT, councils are able to create connected systems which deliver better outcomes for the communities they serve.
With examples ranging from street lighting and litter bins to fibre networks, through to connecting service users to assets operating in their community, this presentation will explore how you can enable Smarter Assets to deliver Sustainable Communities.
Innovator thought leadership presentation on behalf of Commonplace: Presentation title & summary + speaker details to follow!
Innovator thought leadership presentation on behalf of Project Centre, part of Marston Holdings: Presentation title & summary + speaker details to follow!
Further innovator presentations to be added shortly!
- 8:30 am - 9:00 am Registration, Networking and Refreshments
- 9:00 am - 9:30 am Introduction and Opening Keynote
- 9:30 am - 10:40 am Expert Presentations
- 10:40 am - 11:00 am Keynote Speaker 2
- 11:00 am - 12:40 pm Roundtable Discussions and Consultations
- 12:40 pm - 1:00 pm Keynote Speaker 3
- 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Close and Lunch Networking