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Esther Kurland

Title: Head of Urban Design, Transport for London
NACTO Title: Speaker, Designing Cities Conference

Esther is a planner who specialises in urban and street design.  She worked in local councils as a planner in and around London for 10 years before moving to the Greater London Authority in 2001 to work on the design and built environment elements of the London Plan.   In 2003 she moved the UK Government funded Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment where she led on planning issues, before  being seconded to Urban Design London (UDL)  in 2005.

Esther spent the next 12 years developing UDL into the premier design support organisation for public sector built environment practitioners in the UK.  By 2017 the organisation was delivering round 5,000 training places a year to a wide variety of planners, architects, highway engineers, transport planners and housing professionals.  UDL also delivers a comprehensive range of design review, guidance and advice services to support the delivery of good design across public sector projects.  In 2017 UDL published a new national guidance document, the Design Companion for Planning and Placemaking.  Esther remains the host manager for UDL and is a member of its Executive Board.

Early in 2018 Esther took over managing the urban design function at Transport for London, bringing UDL to sit alongside this team. She is currently developing synergies between the two to develop policies, guidance and offer greater support to practitioners, particularly on street projects.