4th February, 2020

MIDTOWN, LONDON (30 January 2020): The role that Midtown will play in helping to develop solutions to many of the biggest problems facing society in the 2020s was highlighted at the final event in the Midtown Big Ideas Exchange of 2019/2020

At a packed event in Clerkenwell in London’s Midtown district, speakers and attendees discussed how local businesses and individuals across a range of disciplines, including architecture, engineering, urban planning and design and neuroscience, are working to address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”), and in particular, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. 

The SDGs, launched in 2015, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity. Since the launch of the SDGs, 193 countries, more than 10,000 companies and investors with more than $4trn in assets have pledged their support.  

Over four events in Midtown, members of Midtown BID and other local business leaders have discussed how they are working to address the challenges posed by particular SDGs, including those relating to inequality, waste management, air quality and urbanisation. A combined audience of around 300 people has attended the events, which are sponsored by the Evening Standard

The final event in the current series took place on 29 January 2020 and was hosted by Connected Places Catapult, a government-backed network of not-for-profit technology and innovation centres established and overseen by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.  

It was chaired by the Catapult’s Executive Office Director, Sam Markey, and also featured Araceli Camargo, Lab Director and Co-Founder, The Centric Lab; Oliver Kampshoff, Director of Architecture, Carey Jones Chapman Tolcher; and Dr Geoff Kendall, Co-Founder and CEO, Future-Fit Foundation. Also on the panel was Alexander Jan, Head of Economics, Arup, and Non-Executive Chair, Midtown BID. 

The event focused on issues related to the sustainable growth of cities, from the local, such as the impact of Crossrail on Midtown and the steps that businesses in the area are taking to make their workspaces more sustainable and attractive for workers, to the global, including the challenges posed by the rapid emergence of new megacities across the developing world.  

The key takeaways from this event are discussed in more detail in a blog  and you can listen to a full audio recording of the event here.