ICE Thinks starts debate: how can we make our cities more inclusive?

A full day of discussions and workshops examined the role of the engineer in city planning and social sustainability.

Cities, engineering and social sustainability: discuss
Cities, engineering and social sustainability: discuss
This week’s ICE Thinks event ‘What is the city but the people?’ was a full day of panel discussions and practical workshops focused on inclusiveness and social sustainability.

It considered the ongoing focus by both policymakers and the infrastructure sector on the environment and economics while 'social sustainability'  has been left behind - with groups based on their age, race, class, gender and ability excluded.

Speakers included ICE President Lord Robert Mair, Professor Sadie Morgan, founding director of dRMM Architects and Buro Happold’s Neil Smith – also NIC Commissioner and a former advisor on access to the Mayor of London.

Dr. Ellie Cosgrave, deputy director of the UCL City Leadership Lab chaired a panel session on ‘The Feminist City’ and asked engineers to consider the social impact of civil engineering design decisions. She also posed the question: “Are engineers fully aware of the impact of their work on other people’s day-to-day life?”

Workshops also took place in parallel examining the experience of people who are disabled or blind and partially sighted, with speakers including Vicki Austin from the Disability Innovation Hub and Jenny Cook from Guide Dogs.

London’s ‘Night Czar’ Amy Lamé hosted a panel discussion on the ‘The City at Night’, looking at the way we engineer our cities and the profound effect on those who use them at night.

Illustrator Chris Ship was on hand to capture a visual summary of the sessions (shown above) and attendees were encouraged to write their thoughts on an interactive board. Participants praised the event for its interesting take on the topical infrastructure issues of the day.