Dr. Alonso Ayala is an architect and development planner specialized on the fields of regional development planning, human settlement planning and urban and housing research in emerging economies, as well as academic and professional capacity building. His specific fields of expertise are: Manager of housing projects, Planner of human settlements, Researcher of housing and urban development in the developing world, Lecturer of human settlement planning and housing in developing countries, Facilitator of urban and regional planning workshops and Trainer of trainers and institutional capacity building. His focus areas include housing equity and justice as well as housing and climate change.

Laura Quadros Aniche is an Urban Environment, Sustainability, and Climate Change specialist. She works on education, advisory, and research on urban sustainability and governance at IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research focuses on nature-based solutions, ecosystem services, climate resilience, and urban redevelopment. Laura coordinates the PhD programme Urban Development and Governance. She holds a Masters (cum laude) in Urban Management and Development at IHS, an MBA in Real Estate Business and Civil Construction Management, and a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Urban Planning.

Dr. Maartje van Eerd (PhD Leiden University, MA Human Geography University of Amsterdam) is a Human Geographer by profession with extensive experience as researcher, trainer and advisor on housing, social development issues and social sustainability. She has conducted research on resettlement projects, forced evictions, acquisition, expropriation and compensation, and the role of NGOs and CBOs in developing alternatives to forced evictions. Also she has developed training courses on gender and tenure security, access to land and affordable housing. Additionally, she is the author and editor of various publications and member of the editorial board of an international academic journal.

Dr. Ogenis Brilhante (PhD. Environmental Science, University Paris XII, Paris 1999 is the Head of the Infrastructure and Green City (IGC) thematic area, which includes the master specialisation “Managing Infrastructure for Green Cities (MIGC)” and the professional short course “Green Cities for Eco-Efficiency”. He has initiated the IGC thematic area in 2013 by developing the IHS Green City Concept and two tools: one to measure green city performance and the other to develop a Green City action planning to help cities become greener. Ogenis has completed more than 50 assignments in more than 25 developing and transitional countries working for different bilateral and multilateral agencies, governments and non-governmental organizations.

Saskia Ruijsink has a background in the field of urban planning and development. She works on and manages post-graduate academic education, research and training and advisory work in the field of urban planning, policy and development, urban socio-spatial dynamics, participation and sustainability, strategic urban planning, multi-stakeholder processes, self-governance, informality, (urban) living labs and place-making and (urban) social innovation. She recently developed a toolkit for stakeholder engagement in integrated spatial strategy development with a team of colleagues that is being implemented in various projects focusing on improving quality and access to public space, addressing urban justice and food and nutrition security.

Somesh Sharma is a team member of Urban Environment and Climate Change (UESC) thematic area at IHS and he is involved in teaching, research, advisory and designing tailor-made training programs. Somesh has worked with the Planning and Marketing Research Services, Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG), Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A), and German International Services (GIZ-IS). His main thematic areas of focus are public finance, inclusive smart cities, nature-based solutions for sustainable development planning, and sustainable urban transport. Somesh has two master’s degrees (Master in Urban Planning, and Master in Urban Management and Development) and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering.

Taslim Alade (MSc GIS and MSc Urban Management and Development), is a GIS analyst and PhD candidate in urban development and governance. At IHS, he lectures on sustainable transport governance and GIS. He is a trained project manager by United Nations Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER). He was the GIS analyst for IHS-Erasmus University on Sustainability Benefits Assessment for green growth; African Economic Outlook 2016; and Geography of African Investments 2018. He has eleven years work experience at the National Space Research and Development Agency, Nigeria.

Bruce Echberg is an Australian Landscape Architect and Urban Designer and Founding-Director of URBAN INITIATIVES Pty Ltd an Australian practice that has worked since 1983 with all levels of governments on planning and design of towns and projects of wide-ranging scales. He is also a founding member of Urban Design Forum, a national network of urban design practitioners and an organising author of URBAN VOICES : Celebrating Urban Design in Australia ( UDF 2013) which documented the history of urban design in Australia and canvassed challenges and opportunities for the future. He is currently on the Australian Institute of Landscape Architect’s National Advocacy Committee which recently declared a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency, and has developed policy on the need for a new category of infrastructure called “Green Infrastructure” as a separate class for government funding.

John Jung is a registered urban planner, urban designer, economic developer, urban navigator and global speaker on Smart Cities and Intelligent Communities. A graduate of Waterloo’s Urban And Regional Planning School and a Master of Urban Design from the University of Manchester ( UK), John is co-founder and Chairman of the global think-tank Intelligent Community Forum ( ICF ) headquartered in New York. Since 1999, the Intelligent Community movement has grown around the world with over 200 cities and thousands participating.

Paola Huijding Paola Huijding is born in São Paulo of European parents, she grew up in the Netherlands and Brazil, was raised in three languages, and began her professional life in 1990. Since then she has been working in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Brazil. She has built her career as designer, city planner, innovation developer and strategy manager. Having received two degrees in Architecture and Urban Planning, she has specialised in a combination of highly efficient, inclusive spatial solutions and creative functional conceptions, multicultural background communications and project management.
Driving by passion she has led big scale and complex projects at international level, providing a wide range of management, strategy and design services; meeting the needs for both the public and private sector for long-term urban strategies. She understands the crucial role of knowledge and feeling for the potential of urbanisation, and enables a city to develop a coordinated, institutional framework to make the most of opportunities, giving residents a chance to have a voice in the future of the place where they live. During her career she has collaborated with Michael Wilford (London/Stuttgart), Sjoerd Soeters (Amsterdam) and René Daniels (Maastricht). In the last years she led her own company Volpi Urbane in collaboration with the Collaborating Center on Sustainable Consumption and Production in Wuppertal.
Since April 2017 she joined Platform31 and is responsible for the development of the vision and overall coordination of the sustainability programme focussing on climate change, energy transition and circular economy.

Shyam Khandekar is an Architect, Urban Designer and Urban Planner and has over 40 years of professional experience in various aspects of the design of cities and their (urban) landscape and public spaces. He is an alumnus of IHS, Rotterdam (1973), and holds a Master’s degree in Urban Design from the University of Manchester (UK) (1976) and a Master's degree in Urban Planning from the Technical University of Delft ( Netherlands)( 1978), besides holding a B.Arch( Hons) degree in Architecture from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur,India (1972). Shyam has founded and led his own private practice in the Netherlands for more than 25 years and has been working and leading multi-disciplinary design-teams engaged in large complex urban projects in Europe and in India. As founder of his design studio, Shyam has led, among others, the design of the award-winning Paleiskwartier in Netherlands and the Nirlon Knowledge Park in Mumbai, India. As Chairman of BDP.KHANDEKAR, Netherland and BDP.INDIA, Shyam was responsible for leading design teams which won the competitions for both IIT, Mandi campus and the sustainable IIT,Jodhpur campus in India. He has lectured extensively around the world in conferences and at universities on issues related to the liveability of cities and on his own designs. He is co-founder and Editorial Director of the international magazine MY LIVEABLE CITY.

Victor Retel Helmrich is an Architect with experience of working on projects in Netherlands, South East Asia and Africa. Throughout his long career, in which he has worked for major practices from Netherlands and Belgium, he has combined his work in the field of design with his keen interest in and knowledge of biology and ecology. Since 2005 he has his own private practice in architecture and ecology.

Jurrian Knijtijzer is Managing Director of Finch, and was responsible for developing its building concept. Trained as an architect, Jurrian has a mission to make sustainable living available for everyone in the world. With the sustainable and circular solutions of Finch Buildings, he contributes to making our planet more liveable.