Meet the leaders transforming our cities

Gil Penalosa

Gil Penalosa CA

Urbanist, Founder & Chair, 8 80 Cities

Gil is a prolific and globally recognized voice reconceptualizing cities as places designed to support the health and wellbeing of people.

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Ankita Chachra US

Architect & Urban Designer, Director of Climate at Capita

Parent and practitioner, Ankita is the Director of Climate at Capita, a US-based think tank, leading work to frame the interrelationship between early childhood flourishing and climate adaptation for government policymakers.

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Jan Gehl DK

Architect, Professor, Consultant on Urban Design

Jan Gehl is an architect, professor, and consultant on urban design, who has focused his career on improving the quality of urban life by reorienting the city’s design towards people.

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Anna Dworakowska PL

Co-Founder & Director at Polish Smog Alert

Anna is the co-founder of Polish Smog Alert, a social movement leading 50 grassroots groups working to raise public awareness and demand government action for clean air in Europe’s most polluted country.

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Amanda M. Burden US

Principal at Bloomberg Associates

Amanda M. Burden is a Principal at Bloomberg Associates. Serving as the New York City Planning Commissioner from 2002 to 2013, she spearheaded the largest planning effort in the city since 1961.

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Erion Veliaj AL

Mayor of Tirana, Albania

Erion Veliaj was re-elected for his third term as Mayor of Tirana in May 2023. Prior to his tenure, Veliaj served as a Member of the Parliament of Albania and Minister of Social Welfare and Youth from 2013 through 2015.

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Xoli Fuyani ZA

Environmentalist, Founder of Black Girls Rising

Xoli is a Founder of Black Girls Rising and an Environmentalist who has led groups for over a decade, always guarding and guiding the younger ones.

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Tim Gill GB

Independent Scholar, Writer & Consultant

Tim Gill is an independent scholar, writer, and consultant based in London and a global advocate for children’s outdoor play and mobility.

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Meghan Talarowski US

Architect, Researcher, Founder of Studio Ludo

Meghan has degrees in architecture and landscape architecture, is a licensed landscape architect, a certified playground safety inspector, and founder of Studio Ludo – a non-profit with a focus on play research and design. 

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Sam Bloch US

Writer and Journalist

Sam Bloch has worked as a journalist for more than a decade, focusing on climate adaptation in cities as well as on the business, environmental, and cultural aspects of the food industry.

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Laís Fleury BR

Social Entrepreneur and Fellow of Alana Foundation

Laís serves as the Head of Partnerships at the Alana Foundation, advocating for the right of every child to connect and have access to nature.

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Sudeshna Chatterjee IN

Urbanist and Founder of Action for Children’s Environments

Sudeshna founded a research-based practice Action for Children’s Environments focusing on how environment, development, and urbanization relate to children and young people and action research to improve their living, learning, and play environments.

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Anna Symington-Maar SK

Social Entrepreneur 

Founder and CEO of Rozmanita, an NGO focused on helping schools in Slovakia to work with children and their communities.

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Atsani Ariobowo AUS

Philanthropist and Director of FIA Foundation

Atsani is an international development leader, supporting the philanthropic industry in the area of global children and youth health.

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Beverley Barnett-Jones UK

Social Worker

Beverley is the associate director for the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, which produces data to improve outcomes for children and families going through the family courts.

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Bronwen Thornton UK

CEO of Walk21

Bronwen is a leading global authority on walking and pedestrian-friendly communities, giving the topic of ‘walking’ a voice on the international stage.

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Dinah Bornat UK

Architect and Co-Director ZCD Architects

Dinah is an architect, urban designer, researcher, engagement specialist and co-director of ZCD Architects.

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Joe Waters US

Co-Founder and CEO of Capita

Since starting Capita, an independent think tank, in 2018, Joe has developed initiatives that explore how cultural, global and social transformations affect children and communities.

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Kamila Kadzidłowska PL

Founder of Parents for Future Poland Foundation

As founder and board member, Kamila has spent the last four years actively shaping and driving forward the social movement Rodzice dla Klimatu (Parents For the Future Poland).

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Matúš Vallo SK

Architect, Musician and Mayor of Bratislava

Mayor of Bratislava, co-founder of Vallo Sadovsky Architects and member of the music group Para.

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Maya Mailer UK

Co-Director of Our Kids’ Climate

Maya is a communications and advocacy specialist with 20 years of experience in campaigning, strategy, policy, and coalition building for social and climate justice.

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Nikhil Chaudhary UK

Evolutionary Anthropologist

Dr Nikhil Chaudhary is an assistant professor of evolutionary anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

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Skye Duncan NZ

Executive Director, Global Designing Cities Initiative

Skye Duncan is a pioneering figure in global urban design. With 20+ years of experience, she is a major proponent of transforming “Streets for Kids”.

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Petra Marko SK

Architect, Chief Executive of Metropolitan Institute of Bratislava

Petra Marko is an acclaimed architect and placemaking expert dedicated to creating people-centric cities and public spaces. She serves as CEO of the Metropolitan Institute of Bratislava.

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Dagur Eggertsson IS

Deputy Mayor of Reykjavik

Dagur B. Eggertsson, Reykjavik’s longest-serving mayor, has an impressive record of service, including a decade-long stint as mayor from 2014-2024.

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Cecilia Vaca Jones EC

Senior Advisor, Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority

A renowned policymaker and consultant, has spent over two decades in social development policies and programs.

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Maria Vassilakou AT

Founder of Vienna Solutions

An experienced urban leader, Maria Vassilakou is dedicated to creating open, inclusive and green cities.

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Patrin Watanatada UK

Founder & Director, thinkfeelchange

Patrin is the founder of thinkfeelchange, a consultancy aiming for social change at the intersection of cities, climate, children, and equity.

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Andrew Tuck UK

Monocle’s Editor-in-chief

Andrew is the founder and editor-in-chief of Monocle, a magazine dedicated to urbanism and creating better cities.

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Aljosa Rudas NL

Program Manager, ISSA

Aljosa is a program manager at the International Step by Step Association (ISSA), the early childhood regional network for Europe and Central Asia.

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Chris Bruntlett NL

International Relations Manager, Dutch Cycling Embassy

Chris is the International Relations Manager at the Dutch Cycling Embassy, a public-private partnership that represents the best knowledge, experience, and experts from the Netherlands.

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Jan Krelina SE

Ingka Centres

Jan is a specialist in communications, public affairs and community engagement. He currently serves as Global Public Affairs Leader in the Ingka Centres.

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Louise Thivant-Johannsen CH

Founder & Executive Director, CYFGP

Louise is the founder and Executive Director of the Child and Youth Friendly Governance Project (CYFGP).

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Maria Sitzoglou GR

Architect & Urban Designer, Founder of Design Clips

Maria is an architect, urban designer, and advocate for children’s rights in cities.

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Nora Brüning FR

Policy Analyst, OECD Child Well-being Unit

Nora works as a policy analyst in the OECD Child Well-being Unit, which provides policy advice to ensure children have a bright future.

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Petra Jens AT

Mobility Agency Vienna

Petra serves as the city’s pedestrian representative and assistant manager at Mobility Agency Vienna.

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Sandra Al Richani DK

Architect & Researcher, Gehl Architects

Sandra Rishani, an architect, utilizes mapping and speculative tools to engage diverse communities and address spatial inequalities.

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Sophia Schuff DK

Director, Gehl Architects

Sophia is a Director at Gehl, an urban design practice on a mission to create more equitable, healthy, and sustainable cities.

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Thomas George IN

Global Lead in Urban, UNICEF

Thomas is the Global lead for urban in UNICEF.  He has over 36 years of experience in international development.

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Maud de Vries NL

Co-founder & CEO of BYCS

Co-founding BYCS in 2015 (previously CycleSpace), she embarked on a mission to revolutionise urban commuting through cycling.

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Adam Gebrian CZ

Architect, theoretician, promoter and critic of architecture

Adam is a trained architect. In 2008, he voluntarily decided not to devote himself to designing houses, but above all help other people take architecture and public space seriously.

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Aleksandra Dulkiewicz PL

Mayor of Gdańsk

In 2019 Dulkiewicz became the acting mayor and was officially elected in March 2019, becoming Gdańsk’s first female mayor.

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More speakers to come

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Námestie Nežnej revolúcie, 811 01 Bratislava
Námestie Nežnej revolúcie, 811 01 Bratislava

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