Bristol, a city bursting with creativity, innovation, and digital technology, has managed to maintain momentum despite these challenging times. With forward-thinking changemakers at the helm, the city was quick to adapt and avoid lockdown inertia. Now, they share a thirst for seeing the city come roaring back to life.

But with a clear focus on the green movement, the essential shift to mixed-use developments and a new relationship forming between high streets and workers, could this be a chance to renegotiate the purpose of the city centre?

Join EG as we discuss:

  • The regional migration trends – how this is affecting both residential and office markets.
  • The benefits and draw backs of permitted development rights.
    And how sustainability needs to be at the core of the built environment’s future.


Professor Elena Marco, head of architecture & the built environment, UWE

Marco studied architecture at the Universidad Politecnica de Catalunya and the University of Bath. She has worked as an architect in Spain and the UK for more than 10 years, building a strong profile in sustainable design, particularly at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, where she worked on many pioneering and award-winning projects, some as part of Europe-wide research initiatives. In 2005 Marco moved to academia, building a top-class global reputation for the third-largest Department of Architecture and the built environment in the UK, at the University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol, of which she now leads. Her multi-disciplinary team is made up of more than 100 staff and 50 associate lecturers from across 20 professions, spanning a wide range of industries, where 2,600 students are taught across architecture, product design and built environment subjects. She is a charismatic leader with an analytical mind that allows her to influence and drive change. As a passionate and vision-led architect, educator, academic leader and researcher, she continues to develop her research interests, which focus on the crossover between health, sustainability and architecture.

James Durie, chief executive, Bristol Chamber & Initiative – Business West

Widely recognised as one of the most influential people in Bristol and the South West region, Durie is passionate about making Bristol, Bath and the west of England the best place to live and work for all of its citizens and the crucial role that plays now and in the long term. He leads the Business West’s activity across this area and promotes the views of its 22,000 members to key decision makers locally and nationally. The organisation is now a B Corp and operates the chambers of commerce. At its heart is a business leadership team that has a track record of making things happen for more than three decades and is focused on improving the business environment to make it attractive, healthy and truly inclusive. Durie serves on several boards and is co-chair of the Bristol One City Economy Board.

Paddy Hales, head of Bristol office, UK investment, Savills

Hales is Head of Savills’ Bristol office. He runs the Bristol investment team and sits on the UK investment board. He specialises in retail assets including, shopping centres, supermarkets and out-of-town retail parks. Due to this historic retail experience he is currently working on a number of repurposing projects. Hales has worked at Savills since 2005, when Mansfield Elstob Main (which he joined in 1998) was purchased by Savills. He was born in Cardiff and attended the University of Reading before moving to Bristol in 1994 at the start of his surveying career.

Chair: Tim Burke, deputy editor, EG

Burke joined EG as deputy editor in July 2019, before which he was property editor at Financial News, a Dow Jones publication. Earlier in his career he wrote for and edited magazines covering capital markets and businesses across developed and emerging economies, including titles at The Economist Group and Thomson Reuters.

The Future of Bristol

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