Speakers in workshops

SPEAKER IN WORKSHOP A: ECHO-Zones in practice: How to deliver evidence


Erkki VälimäkiErkki Välimäki represents the City of Seinäjoki, Finland. He works for the City administration as a head of City Development Department. Seinäjoki is a town situated in the western part of Finland, about 350 kilometers from Helsinki. There are about 63 000 people in the City and about 200 000 in the marketing area. Seinäjoki has promoted Health and Wellbeing based on a City strategy for ten years, starting 2009.  Erkki Välimäki has been involved in developing City´s health and wellbeing promotion work at various stages.

SPEAKER IN WORKSHOP B: Listen to the kids!


Mara MintzerMara Mintzer is a founder and Director of Growing Up Boulder (GUB) in Boulder, Colorado, a child- and youth-friendly city initiative, based out of the University of Colorado in Boulder. She presents and writes internationally on the topic of engaging young people in planning. Before GUB, Mara was a director of a community school where she oversaw child and family support services on a low-income school campus. Mara has designed and implemented programs for under-resourced children, families and neighbourhoods in New York and California, and is a co-author of the book Placemaking with Children and Youth: Participatory Practices for Planning Sustainable Communities. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Brown University and her M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University.

SPEAKER IN WORKSHOP C: Supporting children’s mobility in complex urban contexts


Tim GillDr Tim Gill is an independent scholar, writer, and consultant. He is a global advocate for children’s freedom to play and explore, and for a balanced approach to risk in childhood. The New York Times described Tim’s book No Fear: Growing up in a risk-averse society as “a handbook for the movement for freer, riskier play.” Tim’s work cuts across education, child care, recreation, planning and, urban design. He is a Built Environment Enabler for the UK Design Council, and in 2017 was awarded a travelling fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to study child-friendly urban planning. Tim has spoken to diverse audiences in over 20 countries across five continents, at venues including Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He holds degrees in philosophy and psychology from Oxford University and London University, and an honorary doctorate from Edge Hill University. He is a former director of the Children’s Play Council (now Play England).

Marianne LabreMarianne Labre is Program Director for 'Ghent, Child- and Youth-friendly city'. After her studies in Social Work, she became involved in developing the city of Ghents play area policy. She pioneered the strategy and concept of ‘play tissue’: a kind of ‘spiderweb’ of formal and informal youth-places in the city and the connection between these places. For 15 years she developed several themes and projects, all for the purpose of making room for children and young people in the city and was the chairman of an intersectoral planning group working out the policy about youth space policy, developing a (manual for realizing a) ‘play tissue’, play streets, adventure playgrounds, etc.

In 2012 she left the play area policy to focus on a new challenge: ‘Ghent, child and youth friendly city’. In her role as program-director she works together with colleagues and partners on an integral and integrated child & youth friendly policy in Ghent. In 2014 Ghent received the child-friendly city label. Ghent has an action plan with more than 180 actions that are deployed on a city-wide basis for a more child and youth-friendly city.

SPEAKERS IN WORKSHOP D: City gardening and farms for learning and well-being


Kemo KintehKemo S Kinteh is a program officer in the school development unit of the NGO Future in Our Hands (FIOH) in The Gambia. FIOH is an organisation that has been working with rights-based rural development through education and capacity building in The Gambia for more than 30 years, to bring education closer to the rural people and strengthen their capacity to fight poverty. Kemo’s work includes planning, implementing and reporting on the in-service teacher training programme in teaching methodology, environment, health, advocacy and sports. Previously Kemo was appointed by the Ministry of Education as a qualified teacher and taught for seven years in 4 different schools. He has also served in the voluntary organisation Youth Ambassadors for Peace and the Youth Parliament.  He received his education at the Gambia College where he attained a primary teacher’s certificate in 2002. He is currently in process to complete a degree in public administration.

Henrik LernerDr Henrik Lerner is a lecturer at the Department of Health Care Sciences, Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College in Sweden. His research is mainly comparative between veterinary medicine and human medicine. The main emphasis has been on philosophically analyzing different concepts of health and whether they are suitable for both humans and animals. Henrik has also been studying the philosophical foundation of different global health approaches such as One Health, EcoHealth, and Planetary Health. A particular area where humans and animals meet is when animals are part of human health care, and he has co-written one of the Swedish handbooks in this field.


Sharon DanksDr Sharon Danks, MLA-MCP, is an environmental city planner and Founder and CEO of Green Schoolyards America, an NGO based in Berkeley, California in the United States. Since 1999, her professional work and passion have focused on transforming school grounds into vibrant public spaces that enhance local ecology, engage the community, and nurture children as they learn and play. Her current work focuses on scaling up the living schoolyard movement so that school grounds act as green infrastructure for their cities, helping to foster healthy urban watersheds, robust wildlife habitats, improved climate, and better air quality—while giving all children access to nature every day to improve their health and wellbeing. In addition to her work with Green Schoolyards America, Sharon is also a co-founder of the International School Grounds Alliance, the author of the book Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation, and an Ashoka Fellow.

SPEAKER IN WORKSHOP E: Nature play enhanced with digital elements


Fredrika MårtenssonDr Fredrika Mårtensson is an Associate Professor in Environmental Psychology at the Swedish University of Agricultural science in Alnarp, Sweden, specialized in the role of nature in children’s play, learning and socializing. She has investigated the strategic use of greenery to support children’s independent mobility and outdoor stay in neighbourhoods, schools and playgrounds in a number of studies. Fredrika is renowned for the development of a particular audit tool to evaluate the health promoting impact of outdoor play environments: The Outdoor Play Environment Categories.

SPEAKERS IN WORKSHOP F: Measuring segregation and child health


Ulrika Gustafsson

Dr Charlotte Johansson is acting Director General at The Swedish Agency against Segregation, a government agency mandated to help reduce and combat segregation. The national agency’s work aims to improve the situation in socio-economically disadvantaged areas and counter the structural causes of segregation.

Dr Johansson has a background from government agencies in Sweden working to promote children’s equal rights to good education and knowledge in secure environments and combating discrimination och exclusion e.g. within the labour market, the housing market and social services. She holds a Phd in Bilingualism and Education Science.

Robert NdugwaDr Robert Peter Ndugwa is the head of the Global Urban Observatory unit- a specialized unit that manages urban data and statistics at UN-Habitat Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Robert also doubles as the global lead for methodology development and monitoring and reporting of numerous urban-related SDGs under Goal 11 for which UN-Habitat is the custodian agency. Robert is credited with the development of the slums and informal settlements mapping methodology which has been widely used to monitor global slum populations, housing rights and urban health inequities.

Before joining UN-Habitat, Robert served as a lead for Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at UNICEF’s Kenya office, where he developed systems for tracking results for children, and provided technical support to government and many partners on monitoring and evaluation systems. Robert is well known for his research, statistical and analytical skills that he acquired while teaching and working at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Heidelberg University and African Population and Health Research Center, respectively.

Robert has published widely in the field of urban monitoring and co-authored many papers in the fields of urban health, epidemiology and statistical modelling, etc. Some of the articles he has contributed to can be found in the Lancet, the Journal of Urban Health, the Bulletin of WHO, the Child Health Journal, and the International Journal of Epidemiology.

SPEAKER IN WORKSHOP G: Social inclusion and empowerment in urban planning


Jonas TörnblomJonas Törnblom is a founder of Envito AB, advising companies, cities and organizations on environmental technology development and growth issues. An environmental industry innovator, thought leader and driver for change, Jonas has built a reputation as a champion of sustainability within the built environment. He is also the initiator of the Swedish School of Governance project, which started in August 2018. He has chaired the Swedish Environmental Technology Network’s steering committee and was a Board Member of the Swedish Organizational Committee for the participation at the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010. He helped to develop the SymbioCity – a concept to promote Swedish environmental technology solutions in the world, and in 2012 he founded the Sweden China GreenTech Alliance. Jonas is also Board Member of Electricity Hammarby Sjöstad 2.0 and Gröna Städer, both national industry platforms of companies delivering green technology and services for the urban development.

SPEAKERS IN WORKSHOP H: Indicators for children’s built environment


Roger MadelinRoger Madelin is Head of the 53-acre Canada Water Development at British Land and is a member of the Executive Committee. He joined British Land in February 2016 after 29 years at Argent.

As the Development Director at Argent from 1988 he was responsible for the delivering all of Argent’s projects including Brindleyplace in Birmingham, Thames Valley Park in Reading and major office projects in central London and the City.  The company was a FTSE 250 emerging major from 1993 until it left the stock market in 1997. Roger then became CEO of the once again private development business which was funded by British Telecom Pension Fund and the senior management team.  Over the next decade he expanded Argent’s development activities with major projects in Manchester and further projects in Reading, Birmingham and the City of London. In 2000 he led the company to be selected and then to take forward the development of the 56 acres of ‘railway lands’ between and to the north of King’s Cross and St Pancras Stations. He formally left Argent at the end of 2015 but retains an advisory role on the remaining King’s Cross projects for the Aga Khan Development Network.

SPEAKERS IN WORKSHOP I: Industry-academy collaborations for healthy brain functions through physical activity


Oscar SewerinOscar Sewerin is the event manager at Generation Pep, a non-profit organization founded by the Swedish Crown Princess Couple, with the vision that all children and young people in Sweden should have the ability and desire to live an active and healthy life. Oskar has a background in Sport Management and UN Women where he focused on the organization’s sport portfolio. As a part of the Generation Pep-team, one of his responsibility is to make sure that Generation Pep finds the best and most efficient ways to make an impact on children and adolescents’ health and disperse the knowledge to all people who have an opportunity to affect children and adolescents.


Erik BraggErik Bragg, Head of Business Development - Schools at Skanska. He is responsible to for supporting the school business in Skanska and utilize the experience of the large number of school projects that Skanska are implementing. Erik also participates in many school projects in the early stages to ensure that the requirements are complete and creates the best possible learning environment where examples of focus can be physical activity, safety and flexible school environments. These three examples are crucial for a pupil to achieve their full potential.

A large part of his work is to meet municipal leaders to be updated on their challenges and needs and to spread knowledge about good examples. Being up-to-date on the latest research on schools and ensuring that Skanska have a broad network of contacts with different types of actors around is also in Erik's area of responsibility.A summary of Skanska’s work for creating better schools (in Swedish) https://www.skanska.se/skolor


Stina Liljeqvist, Head of Strategic Communication and Chair for the Idéer för Livet Foundation, Skandia - Biography and photo coming soon.

Magnus ThuvessonMagnus Thuvesson has a background as a leader within the cultural field as a managing director of the Swedish Jazz Federation. He was commuting from outside the small of town of Älmhult where IKEA was founded some 70 years ago. When Magnus and his wife had their first child, commuting was no longer an option. But where could Magnus find the passion among co-workers that he so much loved from the jazz field? It turned out there was a specific department at the product development company IKEA of Sweden that had as a purpose to “create a better everyday life for the most important people in the world”, i.e. the children.

Children´s IKEA needed someone to lead and build up a Competence Centre to gain knowledge from experts, but also from children themselves. Three years (and for Magnus one more child) later -  the project has now turned in to running operation. Interacting with children in the Kids Lab or with the Kids Panel is now part of the everyday routine in the centre. The network of experts is currently expanding.