Panel: Shaping the Built Environment for Women


Thursday 24th March from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM via Zoom.


Gender remains a neglected focus for theory and practice in shaping our cities. Women make up 61% of homeless adults living in temporary accommodation, what’s more, temporary accommodation available to women fleeing domestic abuse is repeatedly found to be inadequate and unsuitable. 

Communities thrive when they have a safe, warm place to call home, and this does not start and stop with the provision of well-designed homes but extends into the built environment and the communities and spaces that are being shaped.  

One of the most famous written pieces about urban design was that of Jane Jacobs ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961),’ who cited the most important thing about urban planning was how people would live in a city — not how visionaries thought she should live. 

Consider, what would our urban landscape look like if women were placed at the epicentre of our design consideration? Applying a gender perspective to cities reveals how spatial and social structure are mutually fundamental in providing equitable spaces for all to benefit, especially communities often marginalised.  

The panel discussion will explore further the importance of women’s experiences and voices in urban planning and spatial interventions, look at the impact of not having women as part of the decision-making process, and at opportunities for creative disruption in the planning and design process.  

No one person’s experience is more important than another, but while systemic issues disproportionately impact one group of people, we must turn to sharpened solutions that address inequality for everyone’s benefit. 

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    Amy Francis-Smith

    Architect & Inclusive Access Consultant


    Amy Francis-Smith is a multi award winning RIBA Architect, an inclusive designer and consultant for Accessible Architecture, Project Lead at Pinnegar Hayward Design and the outgoing Vice-President of the Birmingham Architectural Association. With her work and research focused on providing decent housing and accommodations across the Built Environment for people with Disabilities.

    Campaigning for legislative change, she gives talks to educate students and professionals of their social responsibility, advises on accessible environments, sits on Habinteg’s Insight group and lobbies the government to improve the Part M Building Regulations. Having had numerous articles published herself, she has also been featured in publications such as the Financial Times, City AM, BBC Radio 4, RIBA Journal, Wallpaper* and the Architects Journal.

    With multiple invisible disabilities herself, she has been named on the Shaw Trust’s Power 100 list as one of the UK’s most influential Disabled people in the UK for 2 years running, shortlisted from 64,000 for the National Diversity Award’s – Positive Disability Role Model and one of the RIBA Journal’s Rising Star in Architecture.

    Liane Hartley

    Director, Mend; Founder, Urbanistas; Member, Mayor of London Infrastructure Advisory Panel; Expert, High Streets Task Force; Expert, Design Council


    Liane has worked as a consultant and writer on the broad area of urban sustainability for over twenty years and is a powerful advocate for women’s leadership in cities. She is a recognised thought leader in creating socially sustainable and inclusive cities and writes about the emergence of the “Social City”.


    Liane combines her personal interest in the social dynamics of how people live in cities and the future of cities, with her professional skills in strategy, policy, collaboration, and writing. She founded Mend in 2010 as a pioneering social sustainability consultancy, following ten years working in the public and private sectors. She founded Urbanistas in 2012 as a women’s leadership network amplifying the voices of women to make cities better for everyone. Liane is a member of the Mayor of London’s Infrastructure Advisory Panel, High Streets Task Force Expert, and a Design Council Built Environment Expert.

    Imogen Clark

    Co-Founder of Make Space for Girls, Chair and Trustee of Age UK London, and Trustee of Hackney Food Bank.


    Imogen Clark was a lawyer for many years, before leaving the law for opportunities in the charity sector. In addition to working for Make Space for Girls, Imogen chairs a charity that campaigns for London to become a more age-friendly city and is a trustee of a local foodbank. A life long feminist, Imogen studied for a post graduate certificate in gender studies at Birkbeck, University of London, which reinforced her belief that if we want to change the unfairness we see around us, we need to campaigning for structural change.

    Selasi Setufe

    Senior Architect & Innovative Sites Programme Manager Be First


    Selasi is an architect and co-founder of Black Females in Architecture, a network that aims to support and champion black/black mixed heritage females within the architecture/built environment. She is also the Innovative Sites Programme Manager at Be First Regeneration, and a chair at the New London Architecture Nextgen Soundingboard.