On 23 and 24 April, the World Built Environment Forum (WBEF) Summit will assess the effect disruptive technologies are having on our cities, beginning with a keynote address from Tesla Chief Technology Officer and co-founder, J.B. Straubel.


This topic will be one of the key debates between global leaders, thinkers and decision makers at the two-day summit to be held in London this year.

Straubel will address more than 1,000 delegates drawn from the highest levels of industry, government, and policymaking and regulatory bodies to discuss how disruption in the form of new types of transport and energy storage are impacting urban design. Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times, will join Straubel and share his wisdom from 40 years of working in international economics with the crowd.

Business leaders sharing their knowledge

Further speakers include:


  • Guy Grainger, Chief Executive Officer for global property services firm JLL’s EMEA division and a prominent commentator on the real estate world
  • Rohan Pradhan, Vice President of Deliveroo, who will discuss how the gig economy is transforming the way people interact with cities
  • Chris Choa, head of engineering giant AECOM’s Cities and Development practice will bring a Transatlantic perspective
  • Greg Clark CBE, Chairman of the advisory group The Business of Cities and honorary UCL professor, will offer advice on how to seize the opportunities from urbanisation.
  • Taylor Wescoatt, founding partner at property technology venture capital firm Concrete VC will give his thoughts on the best start-ups transforming our cities
  • Richard Templer, Director of Innovation at Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute and a sustainable development commissioner at the Greater London Authority


  • Andreas Svenungsson, Senior Vice-President at the Volvo Group, an advocate of high-tech R&D clusters and smart cities
  • Maria Vassilakou, Vice-Mayor and Vice-Governor of the city of Vienna
  • Christian Ketels, Harvard Business School Professor and President of TCI, which supports innovation clusters around the world, will be speaking
  • Didier Bonnet, Senior Vice-President and global practice leader for digital transformation at Capgemini Consulting, an expert on how organisations should approach digital transformation
  • Lisette van Doorn, Europe Chief Executive Officer at the Urban Land Institute, will discuss the role of think tanks in 21st century policy making
  • Martin J. Brühl, Chief Investment Officer at Union Investment Real Estate and chair of the RICS’ Investment Risk Forum (IRF), will be hosting a panel discussion on the implications of the growing risk being taken in real estate investment
  • Ingela Lindh, City Director of Stockholm and CEO of Stockholm’s Stadshus AB, the city’s corporatised entity, will also be featuring on a panel discussing global cities and their agendas


  • Jonathan Ballon, Vice-President and general manager of Intel’s Internet of Things Group, one of the world’s leading experts on the relationship between new technology and human productivity, will travel from California
  • Sascha Haselmayer, Chief Executive Officer at Citymart - a company that helps spread best practice between cities quickly on issues like procurement
  • Lisa Picard, CEO and president of Equity Office will be offering her thoughts on how to embed sustainability in iconic office buildings like the Willis Tower and Park Avenue Tower


  • James Chau, Anchor on the China Central Television evening news and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador
  • Uma Adusumilli, Chief Planner at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority
  • Dr Vivek Nanda, Chief Executive of Hinduja Investment and Project Services
  • Karuna Gopal, President of the Foundation for Futuristic Cities, an adviser to the government of India
  • Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director at the Centre for Liveable Cities, set up by the Singaporean government, will all be providing their insight at the summit

Come to London

Now in its third year, the summit is the flagship event in the calendar of the RICS’ World Built Environment Forum, a network of leaders drawn from the worlds of the built environment, government, policy, wider industry, technology and academia. Under the banner of ‘Our Changing World — Urbanisation, Innovation and Civilisation’, experts at the summit will debate three driving forces of change: industrial transformation, urbanisation and digitisation, and their impact on the planet’s natural and built environment. Key themes of the summit include:

  • How development of collaborative infrastructure, trade and knowledge networks can generate inclusive wealth and wellbeing and inspire deeper regional economic co-dependencies.
  • The nature and scope of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the role of intelligent technology in driving productivity across both deindustrialised and industrialising global regions.
  • Competition and co-operation between cities and regions in pursuit of greater prosperity and economic versatility, enhanced public health and welfare, and improved levels of liveability and environmental sustainability.

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