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The 'Make it Happen' Conference

A national conference delivered by East Midlands partners dedicated to celebrating good design delivery and best practice during challenging times.
17 April 2024 at 10:00 AM - 03:30 PM / East Midlands / Conference / Updates

17 April 2024 at 10:00 AM - 03:30 PM
Cleaver and Wake 1 The Great Northern Close, Nottingham NG2 3JL
Price from
£0.00 Sold Out
RTPI East Midlands | [email protected]

Our Collaboration 

The Make it Happen Partnership* is delighted to invite you to our first National Conference dedicated to celebrating good design delivery and best practice during challenging times.

*Make it Happen is an East Midlands based partnership between the Urban Design Group, RTPI, RIBA and the Landscape Institute, created to celebrate successes and best practice.


The ‘Make it Happen’ Conference aims to throw a positive light onto the gloomy ambience in our industry. We will be bringing the public and private sectors, communities and academia together to listen to exceptional key speakers from across the built environment. It will be lots of opportunity to network with colleagues from across the UK and to get our heads together to debate viable, constructive avenues for positive change.

Conference Location

The event will take place Wednesday 17 April 2024, upstairs at Cleaver & Wake at  The Island Quarter – a £1.3 billion 36-acre regeneration site that is central to Nottingham’s sustainable growth. The venue is an award-winning piece of architecture, the ideal place to host an event like this. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Conference Schedule 

Chaired by Dr Laura B Alvarez, Nottingham City Council

09:30          Breakfast welcome - Refreshments available throughout

10:00          Open note – Chair

10:10          Update on activities from the Office for Place - Joanne Preston, Office for Place

10:25          Levelling Up and Planning Reform: translating policy into places – Clare Maltby, Director, Sustrans

10:40          1 The Great Northern Close: an award-winning building – James Dilley, Jestico + Whiles

10:50          The Island Quarter: when pre-app and community engagement work – David Jones, Axis and Ian Staples, Leonard Design

11:10          Place-based Community Engagement through Urban Rooms – Carolyn Butterworth, University of Sheffield and Diane Dever, UR Folkestone

11:30          Digital Planning Transformation through 3D Urban Modelling  – Mick Dunn, Nottingham City Council

11:50          Utilising digital technology for neurodivergent design solutions – Josh Chrystal, Maber

12:10          Morning Q&A Panel

12:20          ‘Way Pavers’ Raffle’

12:30         Lunch & networking – 3D lab experience



13:30           Placemaking; it's more than a double act - Chryse Tinsley/ Nicola Handa, Leicester City Council

14:00           Vibrant High Streets & Heritage – Justin Webber, Leicester City Council

14:20           2050 Homes Nottingham – Suzanne Davenport, RIBA/Studio Partington

14:40           Getting the most from Design Review – Dharmista Patel, Design:Midlands

15:00           Achieving quality, sustainable development on the ground - Martin Philpott, Head of Design and Engineering, Sustrans

15:20           Afternoon Q&A Panel

15:45           Closing remarks - Chair

16:00           Event closes


There will be ample opportunity for networking. Refreshments and lunch are provided.

To book your place please click the 'book here' link below, a limited number of tickets are allocated by Institute so book promptly to avoid disappointed.

If you are not an RTPI member please book a 'non Institute ticket'. Please note there are also a number of FREE tickets allocated to students, Nottingham City Council and Leicester City Council employees.


Access: The Island Quarter is a short walk from Nottingham Train Station The Island Quarter | Getting Here.


With thanks to our conference sponsors: 



Conference Speakers

James Dilley

Director at Jestico + Whiles

Dr Laura Alvarez

Senior Principal Urban Design and Conservation Officer at Nottingham City Council

Joanne Preston

Research Lead, Office for Place, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Clare Maltby

England Director, Midlands & East | Sustrans

David Jones

Technical Director at Axis

Ian Staples

Co Director Leonard Design Architects

Carolyn Butterworth

Senior University Teacher, The University of Sheffield, School of Architecture

Diane Dever

Founder Urban Room Folkstone

Mick Dunn

Business Development Specialist (GIS|3D|Digital Twins) Nottingham City Council

Josh Chrystal

Head of Digital, Maber

Chryse Tinsley  BA., BA., dip LD., CMLI., MSc

Landscape Planner Leicester City Council

Nicola Handa BA(Hons) BArch DipUD DipESD

Urban Designer, Leicester City Council

Justin Webber

Historic Environment Team leader at Leicester City Counci

Suzanne Davenport

Associate, Studio Partington

Dharmista Patel MRTPI

Design:Midlands' Design Review Panel Manager

Martin Philpott

Head of Design and Engineering, Sustrans Midlands & East