Public Practice is a not-for-profit company founded in September 2017 by the Greater London Authority and seed funded by six founding Partners from across the public, third and private sectors.
WHAT WE DO
Our purpose is not just to increase and diversify the built environment expertise working in local government, it's to transform the status of public service, and support those working within it to lead the way. To do this we have created a unique professional placement programme specifically designed for built environment practitioners and their public authority hosts. We offer professionals currently in the private sector an attractive route into working for the public sector whilst also celebrating and capturing leading industry knowledge and sharing it across the wider sector.
WHY WE DO IT
We believe good public planning is fundamental for creating a built environment that is spatially, socially and economically inclusive and sustainable. Being a public planner - by which we mean any built environment expert working in the public sector - can be an extraordinarily rewarding and worthwhile job. No role is more influential in shaping the world around us for the public good. But there is not enough recognition of the value of public planning or its potential to do more to tackle the grand challenges facing society.
HOW WE DO IT
We are a not-for-profit organisation. Local Authorities pay the salaries of Associates and pay Public Practice a placement fee of £5,000 - £7,000 per placement. In addition, we receive donations from Partners which help cover the core costs of running the organisation. This allows us to keep our fees charged to the public sector affordable and means we don't have to ask Associates to pay to take part, helping to ensure we can attract the most diverse candidates we can. In 2019/20 we anticipate that 55% of our income will be from placement fees, and 45% from Partners.
Public Practice currently has eight company Directors and two Board Observers, one from the GLA and the other an Alumnus of our professional placement programme. The Board delegate the day-to-day running of the organisation to a team of staff.
Anna Rose is currently the Head of the Planning Advisory Service, delivering improvement in planning services across the country. Anna started her planning career advising NFU members on planning, transport and environmental law before moving to Rugby Borough Council and becoming their Head of Planning and Culture at Rugby. In 2014 she became Milton Keynes Council’s Director of Growth, Economy and Culture. Anna is a past President of the Planning Officers Society; a trustee of the TCPA and sits as the practitioner on the RTPI accreditation boards for the planning courses at UCL and Birmingham City University. She is an active peer reviewer for the LGA and a regular speaker on strategic planning issues, growth focussed planning and improving the customer experience.
Aran is an urban planner at Leicester City Council. He helps write policies which will shape his home city in the interest of the diverse communities he grew up with. Aran’s specialist areas include climate change, the natural environment, open space and sports provision, and creating healthy and sustainable new homes. He was a task force member of the Raynsford Review and is now a Trustee of the Town and Country Planning Association. More widely, he continues to encourage young people to engage with the planning system and consider working in the public sector, as well as finding other opportunities to make the profession more inclusive and diverse.
Danna Walker is the founder and director of Built By Us - a social enterprise and an elected board member of the Architects Registration Board. Her career spans over 25 years in the construction and built environment sector and has encompassed a variety of roles from an electrician to Architect and strategic projects lead at the Construction Industry Council. She is a diversity and mentoring champion who chaired the RIBA’s Architects for Change Advisory Group for 6 years and founded the innovative FLUID Diversity Mentoring Programme, designed to provide support for practitioners seeking career progression. A finalist in the Precious Awards 2015, which celebrates the achievements of women of colour, Danna champions a more inclusive built environment and construction industry.
As Deputy Mayor of London for Planning, Regeneration & Skills Jules is working on key priorities for the city, including: revision of the London Plan, major regeneration projects across the capital, ensuring London’s infrastructure needs are delivered to benefit all Londoners, and building a skills system that properly addresses the needs of young people and the economy. Jules has an unrivalled knowledge of London government, becoming the first directly elected mayor of Hackney in 2002 and serving as Chair of London Councils from 2010 until he joined the Mayor’s team in 2016.
Lucy Musgrave is the founding director of Publica, a London-based practice that specialises in strategies and design for public space, urban design and masterplanning. Over a 25-year career, Lucy has played a key advisory role in policy recommendations, strategic planning and the advocacy of design quality. She is currently a Mayor’s Design Advocate and sits on the Mayor’s Night Time Commission and the Sounding Board for the Mayor’s Public London Charter. Lucy is a member of the Barbican Centre Board and the National Infrastructure Commission's Shadow Design Group and Expert Advisory Group. Lucy is regularly invited to sit on the jury for International Design Competitions, including for the new Centre for Music, the Museum of London West Smithfield and the Illuminated River. Lucy is a co-author Design and Landscape for People: New Approaches to Renewal. She was previously Director of the Architecture Foundation.
Meeta Kaur is a chartered town planner and a UK qualified planning solicitor. She is a founding partner of Town Legal LLP, a specialist planning law firm. Before joining Town, Meeta was a planning solicitor at city law firm King and Wood Mallesons (formerly SJ Berwin) and prior to that a planning officer at Westminster Council. She has many years’ experience in advising on a wide range of development schemes of all types and scale, including urban extensions. However, her specialism is large scale mixed-use redevelopment and regeneration schemes, both in London and across the country. Meeta has been involved with the Royal Town Planning Institute at both a regional and national level for over 20 years and is currently on the board of trustees of the RTPI and chair of the Membership and Ethics Committee.
Pooja Agrawal is an architect working in the GLA Regeneration Team and managing the Mayor’s Good Growth by Design Programme. Prior to joining the GLA, Pooja has worked for architecture practices Publica and We Made That. She is a trustee of the Museum of Architecture, member of a DSE Review Panel, a mentor at FLUID, a fellow at the Institute of Innovation & Public Purpose at UCL, and a visiting lecturer at Central Saint Martins. Pooja was co-director of RIBA Guerrilla Tactics 2018 and nominated for the Planner’s Woman of Influence in 2019.
Sarah Cary is the Executive Director for Regeneration and Environment at Enfield Council. Sarah leads services that are central to Enfield residents’ quality of life, such as waste collection, recycling, street cleaning, building control and planning. She is also responsible for Enfield’s longer-term development plans, including ambitious plans for Meridian Water, which aims to bring 10,000 new homes and thousands of jobs to the borough. Sarah has a PhD in town planning and was previously at British Land, where she worked in the development team on major projects such as Regents Place, The Leadenhall Building and Canada Water before becoming Head of Sustainable Places with responsibility for environmental and social matters across the company.
Tara Gbolade is co-director of award-winning Gbolade Design Studio that specialises in residential and mixed-use developments for public and private sector clients through insight-led place-making. She sits on a few Design Review Panels including RBKC, Merton, and Lambeth where she advises the council on major planning applications. Tara joined Public Practice as an Associate in our second cohort where she was placed in Epping Forest District Council. She remains working on the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town development and supporting their Sustainability Guidance; setting the ambition and standards for Environmental & Socio-Economic sustainability; ensuring that high-quality sustainable design is embedded within new developments, and, in the regeneration of existing communities.
Vincent Lacovara is an architect, urban designer and planner. He joined Enfield Council as Head of Planning in 2018 where he is responsible for planning policy, urban design and heritage, CIL and S106, development management, planning enforcement and building control. Prior to Enfield Council, Vincent worked in the planning department at Croydon Council for 15 years and as Placemaking Team Leader led on masterplans, public realm projects, the design and heritage aspects of planning and Croydon Place Review Panel. Vincent co-founded AOC architects where he was a director from 2003 until 2014. He is one of the Mayor of London’s Design Advocates and member of several design review panels. He has taught widely and was Louis I. Khan Visiting Professor at Yale School of Architecture. He was a winner of the 2017 Alan Cherry Award for Placemaking.
A professional planner with substantial public sector experience in local and central government. This includes policy development in supporting the publication of the new National Planning Policy Framework and associated guidance in 2018 and Secretary of State decision making, most notably as part of the team responsible for delivering development consent for the Thames Tideway Tunnel in 2014. Coming to a career in the built environment after having lived and worked in many neighbourhoods in cities around the world. He brings a breadth of skills and experience from roles at all levels in public, private and third sector organisations.
Claire is an architecturally trained academic and researcher, with over seven years experience as a lecturer, most recently running the Critical and Contextual Studies programme for the school of architecture at the University of Hertfordshire. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has held editorial positions on peer-reviewed journals. Her doctoral research on the radical architectural group NATØ, funded by the AHRC, was published as a monograph by Routledge in 2017. Prior to entering academia, she led the RIBA’s think-tank Building Futures, most notably authoring ‘The Future for Architects?’ – challenging the profession to consider its changing roles.
Finn has over 9 years of experience working in the public sector at Croydon Council and then the Greater London Authority (GLA). As the Regeneration Area Manager for North West and Central London he led new initiatives on placemaking, workspace, street markets, infill housing and crowdfunding. Finn is a CABE Built Environment Enabler, member of the Planning Advisory Service Board, sits on the Raynsford Review Task Force, Labour Planning Commission, and RIBA Planning Group. Finn is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Innovation & Public Purpose at UCL, has tutored at the Royal College of Arts, and was co-curator of the British Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.
Lilli has over 15 years’ experience working in various administrative roles at a number of architectural and engineering practices across London. She is an Associate member at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and a keen volunteer for Open House London, Fluid Mentoring, Isokon Gallery and London Cycling Campaign. She is originally from the garden city of Tapiola, in Finland. Growing up in such beautiful surroundings got her interested in buildings and landscape from an early age and taught her appreciation of great planning.
Nikki is an architecturally trained operations and management consultant specialising in social impact startups. She has co-founded and help set-up a number of built environment charities, managing projects and ethnographic research across Europe, Asia and Africa. Following this, she moved into consultancy, overseeing a major university restructure and most recently, helping raise £750,000 in angel investment for a workplace wellbeing tech start-up. Nikki has also held senior lecturer positions in Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Nottingham and Brighton and is currently writing up an EPSRC funded doctorate on the ethics and economics of the Architecture profession and its 'humanitarian capitalism'.
Public Practice is a value-driven organisation that aims to empower and support public planners. We believe that:
THE PUBLIC SECTOR CAN BE BOLD AND ENTERPRISING
There is a proud history of the public sector driving innovation and excellence. The state is not only about maintaining the status quo.
EVERYDAY PLACES CAN BE EXTRAORDINARY
Planning has the power to build better everyday environments, for everyone. Rather than creating exceptions to the norm, we work to raise the standards of normality itself.
THE RULES CAN BE REDESIGNED
Bureaucracy is not a constraint on creativity – it is a field for creativity in its own right. Even meeting minutes, procurement processes, or legal clauses are opportunities for better design.
SHAPING PLACES MEANS SHAPING DECISION MAKING
There is no point in designing the right answer to the wrong brief. We work upstream to influence the decisions which have the greatest impact on places.
DIVERSE PLANNERS MAKE DIVERSE PLACES
Places and their populations are complex and don’t benefit from being simplified. We value the diversity of the places we plan and reflect the diversity of the people we plan for.
PLANNING BUILDS DEMOCRACY
Every citizen should have a say in how their city changes. We listen hard to people that are engaged, and engage people that aren't being heard.
PLANNERS ARE STEWARDS OF THE FUTURE
There is an urgent need for long-term thinking. We can only act sustainably by planning for broader communities, wider geographies, and longer horizons.
Equal Opportunity Employer
We are highly committed to the diversity of our small team. We are proud to have a mix of talented people, from all walks of life and personalities, that bring their whole selves to work and are passionate about Public Practice and our mission. You can learn more about our existing team here.
Inclusion is one of the core principles of our work, and we seek to build on this at every opportunity. In filling vacancies, we actively encourage applications from all candidates that meet the job specification regardless of ethnicity, age, gender expression, sexuality, race, and religion. All of our current vacancies are listed below. If you have any accessibility requirements accessing or applying to join our team please do get in touch and we would be happy to assist.
We are currently not looking to hire any new team members at this time.