Keynote Speakers – University of Copenhagen

Keynote Speakers

Andreas Schönström, Deputy Mayor, Malmö
Social Democrat Andreas Schönström has been  the Deputy Mayor for technical & environmental affairs of the City of Malmö, since 2017. He is the City Commissioner in charge of issues relating to safety and security.

He is also a City Council member as well as vice chairman of the Municipal Executive Board, and chairman of Finsam, a financial cooperation. His dedication to the Social Democratic party goes far back (He has a long-standing dedication to the Social Democratic party). While in high school, in Trelleborg, he was chairman of SSU, the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League, 1993-1997, and has been  part of both the Labour Board and Board of Children and Education in Trelleborg.

Between 1998 and 2000 he was  councillor of a city district in Malmö, in 2006-2008 a councillor of the Service Committee and in 2007-2009 a political advisor at the Mayor’s office in Malmö.
Helena Bjarnegaard, Head Landscape Architect, Gothenburg.
Helena is the Head Landscape Architect in Gothenburg, Sweden and sits on the board of the Park and Landscape Administration in Sweden.

The Parks and Landscape Administration is responsible for urban planning, focusing on green areas, as well as constructing, managing and activating parks, squares and nature areas. Helena is responsible for strategic planning and policy making for public parks and landscapes in Gothenburg. She has done significant work in city planning, particularly as it relates to the perspective of children and has worked with the development of guidelines for equal parks and playgrounds.

Helena has also worked with the Gothenburg Green World event, where the premier parks in western Sweden joined forces to make the area a leading garden destination in the Nordic Region. She has as well been participating in the Swedish government´s reference group for forming a new architecture and design policy for Sweden, to mention some of her many activities.

Professor Stephan Pauleit, Copenhagen University

Stephan is the GREEN SURGE project leader, working from Copenhagen University as well as Chair for Strategic Landscape Planning and Management, Technical University of Munich since 2009. Prior to this, he held positions at Wye College, Kent, UK, at the University of Manchester, and at the University of Copenhagen.

He is Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. Stephan is an expert in landscape planning and urban ecology, with emphasis on city regions. He has a special interest in adaptation strategies to climate change in the urban environment. Stephan has participated in several European research projects and  has worked in urban planning and urban greening projects in China and Africa. He is co-leader of the “Centre for Urban Ecology and Climate Change Adaptation” at the Technical University of Munich.

Maria Yeroyanni, Innovating Cities, European Commission.
Maria is Senior Adviser for the policy agenda 'Innovating Cities', construction sector, sustainable urban development, member of the editorial Board of the Commission Web site ' One Stop Shop for cities- Topic Page', coordinator of intra-RTD group of officials working on urban issues (Innovating cities with systemic solutions, nature-based at the intersection of digital, technological, social etc.) to tackle issues of energy efficiency, urban mobility, health and well-being, social innovation, climate change and adaptation, urban coastal management, urban resilience, urban metabolism, urban waste, social innovation, circular economy.

Former (1992-2014) senior program officer, responsible for research projects on natural disasters, earthquake engineering, construction technologies, historical buildings, SMEs, fellowships, land degradation and desertification, and urban development.

Cathy Oke, Councillor, Melbourne, Australia
Cathy is committed to supporting programs, which enable a safe, vibrant and creative municipality. First elected to the Melbourne City Council in 2008, Dr Cathy Oke has over 20 years’ experience in the sustainability sector and is active in several advisory committees on urban parks and gardens.

Dr Oke currently works at the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Research Hub, based at the University of Melbourne. At the City of Melbourne, Dr Oke is Chair of the Future Melbourne (Transport) Committee, Deputy Chair of the Future Melbourne (Environment) Committee and represents the Council on the Regional and Global committees of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.

A resident of the City of Melbourne for more than 30 years, Cathy cares about making Melbourne as fair and inclusive as it can be and stands for open and transparent local government.

Dr Cecil C. Konijnendijk, UBC Canada
Cecil is currently working as a professor at the Dept. of Forest Resources Management, University of British Columbia. He is also , editor-in-chief of the journal Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. Before leaving Europe, he was the GREEN SURGE project leader. 

For the past 20 years Cecil has studied, taught and advised on the role of trees and green space in our cities and towns. His particular interest lies in green space governance, people-nature relationships and cultural ecosystem services, and urban forestry and urban greening. His work has brought him across the globe, always working in close dialogue with decision-makers and practitioners.

Gil Penalosa, 8 80 CITIES, Columbia

Founder and Chair of 8 80 CITIES (Canadian non-profit organization), Chair of the board of World Urban Parks, the international representative body for the city parks, open space and recreation sector. Gil also runs his own international consulting firm - Gil Penalosa & Associates and is an accomplished keynote speaker and facilitator of strategic workshops.

Gil is a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Faculty of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at the prominent University of Sweden SLU. He is also Senior Advisor to the Children & Nature Network, Vision Zero Network and America Walks. Gil’s passion is about cities for all people: vibrant and healthy communities – by well-designed parks and public spaces and sustainable mobility.

During his time as Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the city of Bogotá, Gil and his team revolutionized the city by building and designing more than 200 parks and opening 91km of car-free city roads on Sundays. He has since worked with approx. 250 cities, all over the world, advising decision makers and communities.

Kjell Nilsson, Director Nordregio

Specialised in urban and regional planning, sustainable urban development, interdisciplinary landscape research, green growth and innovation.

Kjell is a member of the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences and Affiliated Professor in Planning and Management of the Urban Green Infrastructure at the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen.

Kjell is a member of the Editorial Board of Nordregio News, European Journal of Spatial Development, European Structural and Investment Funds Journal, and Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.

Jonny Sadler, Programme Director, Manchester Climate Change Agency

The Manchester Climate Change Agency is responsible for facilitating the successful delivery of Manchester’s climate change strategy for 2017-50 and the city’s aim to become a ‘zero carbon, zero waste, climate resilient city by 2050, or sooner to ensure Manchester makes its full contribution to the Paris Agreement’. As Programme Director Jonny is responsible for the operation of the Agency and leads on the development of citywide climate change policy, programmes, strategic partnerships, and funding for the implementation of strategic initiatives. Working with local and national partners the Agency works to engage and give a voice to all 530,000 residents and 18,000 businesses in the city, to enable them to collectively define the city’s future and play a part in making it happen.


Jonny was previously Head of Environmental Strategy at Manchester City Council.