Be part of the conversation shaping the future of Kent and Medway.  

The Kent Design Conference will bring together the key players in the design, development and planning sectors in Kent and Medway for a day of learning, networking and creative exploration. The coming decades will see huge challenges and opportunities in the county, including housing delivery, placemaking, net zero carbon, and health and wellbeing. The conference will explore these topics through exciting panel discussions and presentations, complemented with practical how-to workshops.

The conference is run by Design South East in partnership with the University of Kent. It is part of our Kent Design learning network but is open to organisations and individuals from outside the network too.

Why attend?

  • The landmark event for the planning, design and development sectors in Kent and Medway.  
  • Learn about the major developments and investments in the county. 
  • Network with local authority officers, developers, architects, academics and other professionals. 
  • Learn best practice in sustainable and healthy placemaking.  
  • Help to shape the design and planning conversation in Kent through interactive workshops and Q&A sessions. 
Sibson Building, University of Kent, Canterbury
Date & Time
April 30, 2024, 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Conference Themes
Health and Wellbeing
Planning and design play a key role the health and wellbeing of the county's residents. We'll explore strategies and case studies for addressing health inequalities across the built environment.
Kent and Medway need to deliver great places, not just new homes. Placemaking is the central theme cutting across the Kent Design Conference.
From Net Zero Carbon to Biodiversity Net Gain, we can't separate sustainability from design and planning. Let's explore a future for the county that is sustainable and nature positive.
Below are some of the fantastic speakers you can expect to hear from at the conference. This list will grow over the coming weeks as more speakers are confirmed.

Joanne Cave
Chair, David Lock Associates
Joanne is a qualified planner and urban designer. With over 25 years of professional practice, Jo is still motivated by the idea that new and necessary development can enhance rather than detract from the quality of life in our towns and cities. 
Simon Thomas
Head of Planning, Canterbury City Council
Simon has been Head of Planning at Canterbury City Council for the past 9 years. He has extensive experience working in Kent, having previously worked at three other local authorities: Folkestone, Thanet and Medway.
Chloe Street-Tarbatt
Head of School of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Kent
Chloe Street Tarbatt is a registered architect who continues to combine practice with teaching. She has a particular interest in working on architectural projects that bring communities together and play a larger social role in society.
Scott Adams
Urban Design Director, BPTW
Scott has over 20 years of international design experience and is a leading expert in design coding. He is currently co-leading the creation of a design code for Chatham in Medway as part of the DLUHC Pathfinder programme.
Duncan Berntsen
Senior Urban Design Officer, Medway Council
Duncan has over 40 years of experience in public, private and academic interdisciplinary roles in service of the built environment. Recent activity includes co-leading the Pathfinder awarded to Medway Council by DLUHC to develop a Design Code for Chatham using the National Model Design Code.
Eleanor Trenfield
Founder and Director, EDLA
Eleanor is a landscape architect and Founder and Director of EDLA. We specialise in exceptionally creative Landscape Design and Strategic Landscape Planning. Our vision is borne out of respect for the landscape, sustainability, and aesthetic sensitivity.
Paul Clarke
Paul is a  Public Health Specialist within Kent County Council with a focus on the wider determinants of health. He is passionate about embedding health across the whole system with a particular focus on prevention and health improvement.
Annette Russell
Executive Director, MArgate Creative Land Trust
Annette leads the UK’s first Creative Land Trust outside London, working to deliver affordable creative workspace in Margate. She spent 20 years managing projects and people in the publishing, art and music industries, before a transformative stint in council led regeneration focusing on workspace, high streets and economic development.
Paula Hirst
Director, Disruptive Urbanism
Paula is a leading strategist and advisor for places undergoing transformational change. She is currently the Masterplanning Lead for the Port of Dover.
Rebecca Taylor
Partner, JTP
Rebecca has over 25 years’ experience designing and delivering residential and mixed-use neighbourhoods. At the conference, she will be sharing lessons learned from JTP's design codes in Kent.
Sophie Ward
Funding and Partnerships Manager, Active Kent & Medway
Julia Wallace
Placemaking Director, Otterpool Park
Julia is Placemaking Director at Otterpool Park LLP, leading on planning, masterplanning, design, community facilities and communications for the 10,000 home Garden Town.
Headline Sponsor
We want to partner with a few key organisations to make the Kent Design Conference an unforgettable event. Help to shape the conversation around design in the county and access incredible marketing and networking benefits. Check out the sponsorship brochure below.
Call for Speakers
Are you interested in speaking at the conference? We are looking for practitioners, academics, community organisers and council officers who know Kent and the challenges it is facing to come forward and contribute to the conference. Click the button below to express your interest.
Contact Us
If you have any questions about the conference, don't hesitate to get in contact.
Organisations at the
Kent Design Conference 2024
Active Kent & Medway / Ashford Borough Council / BPTW / Canterbury City Council / Chartway Group / Communications Potential / Corstorphine & Wright Architects / Dartford Borough Council / David Lock Associates / Disruptive Urbanism / Duchy of Cornwall / Ebbsfleet Development Corporation / EDLA / Elivia Homes Eastern / Folkestone & Hythe District Council / JTP / Kent County Council / Louise Hooper Landscape Architecture / Medway Council / On Architecture / Otterpool Park LLP / Phil Jones Associates / Planning Potential / Redrow Homes South East / Sevenoaks District Council / Space Syntax / Stantec UK / Thomson Snell & Passmore / Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council / University of Kent / West Kent Housing Association & more!
Sibson Building, University of Kent
Park Wood Rd, Canterbury CT2 7PE
The conference venue is the award-winning Sibson building at the University of Kent, Canterbury.

Join us on April 30

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