Sponsored by
Brightly Software
Project Centre


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, design and best practice 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 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; managing the night-time economy to shape places; 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:

Aecom • AND London • Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council • Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council • Bedford Borough Council • Brent Council • Brighton & Hove DRP • Bristol City Council • Canterbury City Council • City of London Corporation • Connected Places Catapult • Coventry City Council • Derbyshire County Council • Design Council • Design South East • Dorset Council • Ealing Council • Eastleigh Borough Council • Elementa Consulting • Epping Forest District Council • GL Hearn • Gloucestershire County Council • Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service • Hackney Council • Harrow Council • Hertfordshire County Council • Islington Council • Keep Britain Tidy • Landplanning Consultants • Leeds Sustainability Institute • Lewisham Council • London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham • London Borough of Barnet • London Borough of Enfield • London Borough of Lambeth • London Borough of Newham • London Borough of Tower Hamlets • London Borough of Waltham Forest • London Legacy Development Corporation • Mace • Meinhardt • Milton Keynes Council • Ministry of Defence • Momentum Transport • National Grid • Network Rail • North Ayrshire Council • North Somerset Council • Nottinghamshire County Council • Norman Rourke Pryme • Oxford City Council • Oxfordshire County Council • Peabody • Pembrey Airport • PJA • Project Centre • Public Practice • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park • Robin Buckle Urban Design • Savills • Sevenoaks District Council • Shaftesbury • Smart Transport Hub • Southend-on-Sea City Council • Surrey County Council • Sustrans • Swindon Borough Council • 31ten Consulting • Transport for London • University College London • Urban Design London • Waterman Aspen • Westminster City Council • West Yorkshire Combined Authority • Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council • WSP etc

Previous presentations addressed the following topics:

Projects in the City of London – How to create enhanced and people focussed environments through intelligent lighting and temporary greening and seating measures • City lighting strategy and using remotely operated lighting to complement the look of historic buildings, improve energy usage and environmental impact, tackle light pollution, improve well being and protect wildlife – without compromising safety and security • ‘Culture Mile’ lighting and illuminance case study (Beech Street, Tunnel array) • HULAB objectives and sustainable principles for connecting urban lighting policy and implementation with citizen health • Parklets and the greening and seating measures delivered during the pandemic to support social distancing and businesses in making the city more welcoming – How these safer and flexible outdoor spaces can contribute to supporting businesses in their return to work, the city’s post-pandemic recovery and help create a destination city • Covid-19 ‘City Streets’ interventions – Philpot Lane, Middlesex Street, Cheapside, Creechurch Lane, Ludgate Broadway, West Smithfield • Permanent installations in the ‘City Cluster’ – Working with BIDs (Business Improvement Districts) • Co-design with local community – Moor Lane Community Garden • Lewisham town centre regeneration – A holistic approach to public realm through commissions at three different scales for Lewisham Market, Lewisham High Street and an overarching urban design strategy • Engaging with diverse local communities and businesses, collaborating with local stakeholders and landowners, and quick wins (small interventions, market stall trials, improvements in waste management, cleaning and maintenance, temporary planters etc) • Art and culture, creating an urban design vision and masterplan, public realm visioning (incl. biodiversity gain and green grid, air quality improvements and carbon net zero) and funding • SHIFT: London’s living testbed and building the world’s 1st ‘Inclusive Innovation District’ at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park • An inclusive innovation model, UK innovation districts and delivering a regional approach to inclusive economy • ‘Movement in Cities’ current innovation trials at QEOP – AI-powered spatial analytics for traffic management and urban planning/using AI to monitor mobility modes across the Park (Flyma), last mile delivery: E-Walker (UPS/Frieghtlab), construction last mile logistics (Murphy’s/TfL), local deliveries last mile business suppliers (Signorelli), local last mile consumer deliveries (CDT/Poplar Harca), bike locks with Mosa, mass movement e-transit, robotic deliveries • ‘Health in Cities’ current innovation trials – Testing hearing wellness in venues: Mumbli, air quality trials with Aeternum, active travel optimisation for all feasibility study and micro mobility hub, Bikeworks e-scooter accessibility improvements • ‘Climate Emergency in Cities’ current innovation trials – Water temperature monitoring sensors/impact of urban heat index on rivers (UCL), urban roof farming and bio-solar research (UCL), green infrastructure, decarbonising district heat network • Circular high streets, borough integration (incl. citizen scientists, digitisation of planning, retrofit housing, local innovation corridors, creative enterprise zone, citizen assembly, community wealth building etc) and SHIFT 2025 objectives (5 year strategy complete, international recognition as a leading urban innovation testbed, digital twin developed, research programme established, innovation trials pipeline developed etc) • Bright and connected public spaces – Enabling smarter assets to deliver sustainable communities: How, through the use of IoT, councils are able to create connected systems which deliver better outcomes for the communities they serve • Smart assets in action – Using sensors to monitor gullies to prevent disruptive and costly blockages, knowing if certain litter bins are overflowing to ensure clean communities, receiving an alert to send a repair crew to fix tension cables to ensure safe streets, predictive/data driven inspection and maintenance of highways/pavements/lighting/fibre networks, connecting service users to assets operating in their community • Growth, drivers for change and the importance of public realm for city centres: A case study of central Milton Keynes – Practice and opportunities • Repurposing existing public realm in MK such as the Station Square key gateway space and significant new office and residential development • Linking destinations through improved public realm: Midsummer Boulevard East – temporary transformation and workshopping a series of ‘rooms’; Theatre District mobility hub; Midsummer Boulevard at the centre of a 15 minute neighbourhood; Pedalling culture – promoting active travel to access and connect cultural infrastructure across the city; Walking trails as a new way of exploring urban spaces • Smart street furniture – helping meet a carbon reduction agenda • A rigorous and uniform approach to the design of the public realm in CMK – CMK’s handbook for the public realm and new HQ with publicly accessible space • Saxon Gateway – A new way of providing shared communal space • The business case for smart street lighting – The qualitative and quantitative benefits of adding smart controls to streetlights and outdoor lighting • What is a ‘smart’ streetlight? How does CMS address local authority money, safety/security and sustainability concerns? Which local authorities in the UK spend most on street lighting (Birmingham, Leeds, Surrey, West Sussex, Cambridgeshire, London, Coventry, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Essex, Knowsley) and which local authorities are already realising the benefits of adopting smart street lighting (Hertfordshire County Council, Doncaster and Suffolk County Council use cases)?etc.

Testimonials and feedback:

Yesterday’s event was really insightful, and it has been a pleasure to contribute to these interesting discussions”…“Thank you for the details on the next event. It was a great experience to attend the last event in London so will definitively recommend!”
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)


“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.

- Colin Sinclair

“Hull, Culture Led Regeneration from the Built Environment to Lived Experience” – Over the past decade UK City of Culture brought in over 5 million visitors to Hull and created over 800 jobs, Siemens Gamesa’s wind turbine factory delivered in excess of 1,000 jobs, and throughout this time Hull has continued to innovate, evolve and transform.

A key driver for this seismic shift was the investment made in the built place, grounded in the place and its people and aspirational in its quality.

Now in 2023, Hull is looking at how to revive and enliven the lived experience of space, through behavioural insights intelligence and understanding of human needs, motivations and understanding to soften and create a space that works for all.

In this keynote presentation, Hull City Council’s Kath Wynne-Hague (Head of Culture, Place and City Centre) and Garry Taylor (Assistant Director for Major Projects, Culture & Place) will showcase the process, projects and methodology that have led to and continues to lead the transformation of Hull.

- Kath Wynne-Hague, Garry Taylor

“Designing Healthy Places: Creating Vibrant, Healthy, People Focussed Public Realm” -The public realm plays a crucial role in fostering a sense of community, promoting inclusivity, enhancing quality of life, and contributing to local economies. There are also the competing demands of the urban environment, including vehicular movement, water management, services, access, maintenance, air quality and local microclimates.

The public realm has a unique role in the creation of multifunctional urban places that play their part in physical, mental, and social wellbeing, while fostering connections to nature and promoting active lifestyles. These spaces need to be resilient and adaptable while providing a feeling of safety and security.

In this presentation, Project Centre’s Luke McGuinness and Bharati Ghodke will discuss the elements involved in creating positive people focussed public realm, that balance the competing requirements of users while following the principles of current best practice in placemaking where pedestrians are prioritised.

Examples will be featured from delivered schemes which include elements of urban greening, water management, bio-diversity net-gain, school streets, low traffic neighbourhoods, active travel routes, placemaking and truly inclusive places.

They will discuss the importance of involving local communities at an early stage of the design process and how close collaboration with wider technical teams helps to create vibrant, attractive, thriving environments that create a sense of place and respect local context.

- Luke McGuinness, Bharati Ghodke

“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 from Steve Harris and Cherryanne Cooper will explore how you can enable Smarter Assets to deliver Sustainable Communities.

- Steve Harris, Cherryanne Cooper

“Building Better Places Together: How Early Community Engagement Accelerates Positive Change” – In this presentation on behalf of Commonplace, Charlotte Bowen will explore the transformative potential of involving communities early in the planning and development process:

“By recognising the community as a vital stakeholder from the outset, we create opportunities to address concerns, generate collaborative ideas, and shape better places together”.

Harnessing the capabilities of digital-led tools is key to fostering community participation. These tools not only facilitate involvement but also demonstrate the sincere desire to include the community in the decision-making process. Charlotte’s discussion will also focus on overcoming communication barriers and common challenges faced when engaging communities in planning. Through examples, she will illustrate how early involvement can lead to successful outcomes.

Additionally, Charlotte will introduce Commonplace’s tools, which enable positive conversations, prevent the formation of negative echo chambers, and ensure the engagement of a diverse and representative population:

“By harnessing the collective wisdom of communities, we can co-create vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive developments that truly benefit everyone”.

- Charlotte Bowen

“The City Welcome” – CityCo, the Manchester Business Improvement District and the Accommodation Business Improvement District represent and work with 1000s of businesses across several sectors, including office occupiers, night-time economy, property development, retail, leisure, hospitality, and culture.

CityCo, The Manchester BID and the new Accommodation BID are interconnected organisations who are working towards an improved City Welcome.

The City Welcome sounds like a simple enough concept. Manchester should make you feel like you have arrived somewhere special. Business tells us Manchester should be cleaner, greener, safer and friendlier.

So, tactically, how does CityCo deliver those very basic concepts in a city where private and public spaces blend, where objectives can clash, where you have no control, and where the public purse is already under huge pressure?

What can CityCo do that is obvious, impactful and delivers a sustained improvement?

In this presentation, Partnership Director Alex King-Byatt will explore how the Operations team, which includes the Business Crime Reduction Partnership, works on the ground to develop, and deliver their approach to The City Welcome.

- Alex King-Byatt


  • 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

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Supported by
Knowledge Quarter Liverpool (KQ Liverpool)
Sciontec Development
Hull City Council
CityCo Manchester
Manchester BID (Manchester City Centre Business Improvement District)

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