Friday Speakers

To download the abstract book for Friday speakers please click here.

Speakers below are listed in alphabetical order of last name

Duncan Ecob

Isthmus Group

Duncan is an Isthmus Principal with a focus on urban design and masterplans. He has over 28 years experience in masterplanning and delivering change in the built environment and has detailed knowledge and understanding of the ever-changing processes involved in the shaping of our towns and cities. 

He is passionate about urban design as a collaborative process that can deliver high quality places that people wish to invest in both economically and emotionally.  His skills include encouraging, developing and managing diverse teams of people that can share their experience  to create quality places, whether they are professionals, clients or stakeholders. 

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Steve Gray


Steve Gray is a Principal at Beca Architects in Auckland. Over the last 40 years he has worked on the design and delivery of large and small scale projects in New Zealand, Australia and South East Asia culminating in being the  architectural lead for the Manukau Bus Station. 

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Lui Greco


Mr. Greco holds the position of National Manager of Advocacy with CNIB. CNIB, Canada's primary provider of vision rehabilitation services was founded in 1918.

Mr. Greco's current role has him engaging with federal regulators regarding barriers encountered by persons with sight loss within telecommunications, transportation, health and financial services.

Mr. Greco holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Calgary, a Computer Information Systems diploma and several years of software development and customer contact centre experience. With CNIB since 2011, Mr. Greco has held senior leadership roles as Director of Government Relations and Advocacy and since 2015, his current role as National Manager of Advocacy.

Mr. Greco, blind all his life, has traveled throughout North America and Europe often accompanied by his current guide dog, an eight year old Black Labrador Retriever.

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Lorraine Guthrie

Barrier Free NZ Trust

Lorraine has been CEO of Barrier Free for 10 years.  She has a background in education, leadership and in championing more liveable worlds for everyone.  Lorraine led the initiative in Christchurch for an Accessibility Charter.

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Amy Hartnell

Earthquake Disability Leadership Group

Amy is the Projects Facilitator for the EDLG – an advocacy group championing for disabled people to have a voice and be included in the regeneration of Christchurch.  

Amy's background is in sport and recreation and after managing recreation programmes for children, she then managed the world award winning 'Southern Centre' a multi-sensory room designed specifically for participants with significant needs.

Adam Johnson

Edith Cowan University

Adam is passionate about achieving social inclusion through inclusive urban design. He is nearing completion of an industry-sponsored PhD research project related to community access and inclusion, and has 15 years experience working in the disability and community development sectors. 

He has worked in various roles for local government, state government, and most recently as CEO of an independent advocacy organisation. 

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Áine Kelly-Costello

Access Matters

Aine Kelly-Costello is community organiser for the Access Matters campaign for an accessibility law at the heart of a more inclusive Aotearoa. She is also interning at Newshub as a digital news producer. she loves Celtic music. 

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Kathryn King

Auckland Transport

Kathryn has managed Auckland Transport's Walking and Cycling team since the Urban Cycle Programme was launched in 2015, and in 2017 took on the portfolio of Road Safety.  

Her team is responsible for the analysis of crashes and walking or cycling activity on the network, planning of investment, determining the scope of new infrastructure projects, programmes aimed to change travel behaviour in Auckland and activation of new infrastructure.  

Kathryn has been working in transport planning for 16 years, including 12 years in London delivering a number of award winning walking, cycling and road safety projects.  

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Keri McMullan

Otago Polytechnic

For honours then master's projects in occupational therapy, Keri has completed two research projects gathering the experiences of low vision mobility scooter users. These two projects covered Keri's interest and commitment to enabling participation and accessibility for all community members.

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Professor Robyn Phipps

Massey University

Professor Robyn Phipps worked in architectural practice, prior to joining Massey University.  In the past two decades she has researched healthy and sustainable buildings, including the health and environmental effects of domestic heating, design of healthy buildings, low energy buildings, ventilation in homes, schools and early childhood facilities, mould in buildings and health effects from fluorescent lighting. She is also researching topics on the health and safety for construction workers.  She is a Co-Director of a team that won the 2004 Prime Minister's Science Prize for a Research Team for their transformational research on housing and health. She is a Director (Research and Policy) for the New Zealand Green Building Council.  

Prof Phipps is active in many professional societies. These include the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand, the International Society for Indoor Air Quality and Climate, Sustainable Cities Research consortium and the He Kainga Oranga Healthy Housing Research Group.  

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Dr Dory Reeves

University of Auckland

Professor of Planning, Fellow of Royal Town Planning Institute; co investigator of a MBIE NSC11 project Give us Space.

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Workshop Speakers


AGE LAB workshop

Helen James


Helen James from Lifemark will take you on the journey of a lifetime. 

This is a fun and interactive workshop that gives you a chance to personally experience the impact of ageing and therefore better understand the reasons why designs that incorporate freedom of movement and spatial features are simply better designs for an ageing and changing population. 

The Age Lab uses an Age Experience suit that was developed in Germany and presents compelling information on why an age friendly approach to housing and the built environment is essential for all communities that value health, independence and inclusion.


Be Curious - Be. Accessible workshop

headshot and shoulder photo of Neville looking to the left, wearing a dark coloured suit jacket

Be Curious ?

1 in 4 New Zealanders currently live with an access need. At Be, this statistic isn't about deficit, lack, or limitation. Because for us, this statistic isn't about disability – it's about possibility. 

Be. Curious, our new possibility thought leadership platform, has a radical goal. We are seeking to position Aotearoa as a global leader – a visionary powerhouse – in access innovation. We envision a thriving nation whose leaders, thinkers, and makers are embracing the opportunities accessibility presents. NZ as an access tourism leader and societies built around universal design and innovative thinking are at the heart of what Be. does.

Be. Curious will urge you to take part in a bold new conversation – to open to new ideas, new perspectives, and new challenges – Come and explore the opportunities opened up through innovative thinking and designing spaces , places and experiences to the edge. 

Be ready for a provocative discussion and possibility in action our facilitators will be exemplars of possibility in action. 

Neville Pulman

Neville is tasked with continuing growth and focus on the Business development across a wide range of sectors. 
Neville has an extensive customer experience, business development and marketing background across both the Retail and Service sectors – SME and Corporate environments.

Assisting Be. in developing and fine tuning their approach to the evolution and effectiveness of their Be Welcome Accessibility program he has the role of Program Director.
Keen to share insights and challenge businesses to think more broadly about the access economy as one of the most rapidly growing international and local opportunities available.
He believes New Zealand is uniquely positioned to benefit from both the social and economic returns of a more accessible society.

As a closet designer, he relishes the opportunity and benefits that great universal design and thinking present to businesses and operators
As a Leadership New Zealand Alumni and Board member Neville has a real passion in seeing NZ accelerating its unique place as a world leader and beneficiary of improved access for all.


Accessibility Boot Camp

Auckland Council, in collaboration with the Universal Design Forum, have developed a range of personas to represent diverse people and their experiences of the built environment. 

This workshop will allow you  to 'wear' a range of different hats and find new opportunities to create environments which are functional and welcoming to all.

You will hear the stories from real people, gain insights as well as practical tools to develop great spaces and places which fully optimise their potential.

Sarah Cameron, Senior Architect


Sarah has qualified both as an occupational therapist and an architect and the combination of these skills has shaped her design focus.

She has  24 years' experience in architecture specialising in housing, education, urban design, universal design  and accessibility design. 

Recent projects include urban design reviews for Auckland City, developing universal and accessible housing design standards for Housing New Zealand,  and  designing  for students with special needs for the Ministry of Education. 

Sarah believes that exploring differing perspectives of our diverse society opens the doors to great design and is excited by the expanding opportunities that design and technology offer.


Claire Wilson, Community Development Adviser 

Whangarei District Council

Claire previously worked at Auckland Council for 7 years in a range of roles relating to community development, disability and universal design. 

A passionate advocate for Universal Design, Claire takes every opportunity to weave good design for everyone into her work, and to educate and influence others. 


Managing the media and gaining public support for change workshop

Headshot of Mark, wearing a button up blue shirt, framed by tropical green trees.

Mark Ames, Director

Strategic Cities

The success of any change in the urban realm hinges on how it is portrayed by the media. Whether you're introducing equality by design, lowering traffic speeds, or even building bike lanes Mark Ames from Sydney-based Strategic Cities will argue everyone in the business of change must be thinking about the media, and will share practical tips on overcoming resistance and generating community support.

Drawing on the experience of often controversial public space and urban design initiatives from around the world, Mark will discuss how to share your vision, make friends with the media and inspire the public to embrace your plans for more people-friendly places.


Mark Ames established Strategic Cities in 2015, and specialises in communication strategy and media management advice for cities, government agencies and peak bodies.

Mark started his urban career writing in London, where he was an influential figure in helping to secure the Mayor of London's ambitious and controversial 10-year cycling strategy and action plan.

He's gone on to work with clients such as the cities of Sydney, Adelaide and Vincent (WA) as well as Auckland Transport.

He recently delivered the keynote session at the Iberian Cities and Cycling Conference in Spain, and addressed the global Velo-City conference in the Netherlands last year.

He has previously written about cities and transport for WA Today, The Times, The Guardian, the London Evening Standard and the Royal Town Planning Institute magazine. Broadcast appearances include Sky News, ITV News, BBC London, Russia Today, Public Radio International's The World, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's As It Happens and the BBC's flagship current affairs programme Newsnight.

Mark believes an understanding of the media production process is today both a vital and underestimated skill for anyone involved in achieving change in cities.

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Curiat workshop - Creating community experiences (with Augmented (AR) & Mixed Reality (XR))

Come and dip your toes into the future of Smart cities where experiential technology, analytics and Universal Design principles are creating more inclusive vibrant communities. 

Experiential technology and analytics are changing the way we learn, work, and engage.  

Universal design provides a balanced framework where input from key stakeholders ensures inclusiveness, community and collaboration are right at the heart of our vibrant Tamaki Makaurau culture.

The 90-minute workshop:

  • Hear about how Universal Design is being used to grow a better Tamaki Makaurau.
  • Get the latest universal design in AR (diverse users) report
  • Try out the latest human-centric technologies
  • Create a stakeholder/technology roadmap

Rob Hanks

Rob Hanks is Tamaki Makaurau born and bred. He is married and has brought up his two children on the North Shore. Professionally, he has had a career in Senior management roles - travelling internationally and adding value by leading strategic business improvement projects. 

Since 2016, he's pioneered the use of Augmented Reality in Auckland and finds value in helping others engage with new technology.

Grace Brown

Grace Brown is a highly proud Maori, who belongs to the Ngati Kahangungu te Wairoa and Tuhoe tribe. She has lived in Auckland for seven years after spending most of her childhood in Gisborne. 

Her academic background is a recently completed a Bachelor of Communication at Albany's Massey University, majoring in communication management and minoring linguistics. From that, it has led her to becoming an intern at the Auckland Council's Design Office.

Platinum Sponsor


Gold Sponsor

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Universal Design City Tour Sponsor

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