The event, Canterbury 2050, was organised by PhD student Rufus Howard and hosted by the Kent Business School as part of the Eastern ARC collaboration between the Universities of Kent, Essex and East Anglia.
It brought together business leaders, public sector chiefs and academics to discuss issues such as transport, ecology, sustainability and agriculture and how they can be best tackled in the years ahead, in alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 11 Sustainable Cities & Communities.
Rosie Duffield MP opened proceeding by setting out the challenges facing Canterbury and the importance of addressing them to help create a high quality of life for citizens of the city.
Key takeaways from the day included a focus on how the city can end a ‘siloed’ approach to planning and better incorporate sustainable solutions to problems at the same time. For example, new buildings should include solar power and green roofs to help contribute to energy and environmental challenges.
The outcomes of the event will be presented in a document set to be released later this year and the organisers hope to use the findings to stimulate discussions of a sustainable vision for Canterbury, in line with the Kent Environment Strategy Vision. Furthermore, the report will seek to set out concrete proposals for projects and policies to help that vision become a reality.
Other high-profile speakers at the event included Carolyn McKenzie (Head of Sustainable Business and Communities, Kent County Council), Professor Jan Pahl (Chair of the Canterbury Society) Professor Peter Vujakovic, (Geography, Canterbury Christ Church), Dr. Caroline Jessel (Chair of the Kent Nature Partnership) and Denise Everitt (Chief Operating Officer, University of Kent).