Ricard Gomà, Professor of Political Science, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain

Professor of Political Science (Autonomous University of Barcelona). Director of the Institute of Regional and Metropolitan Studies (Autonomous University of Barcelona) and member of the Institut of Governance and Public Policy (Autonomous University of Barcelona). Visiting fellow at several EU and Latin American Universities (Bath, Warwick, Torino, México...).

Author of a number of books, chapters and academic articles on governance, democratic innovation and urban change. Deputy Mayor of Barcelona (2007-2011) as elected councillor for Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds-EUiA (the Catalan left green coalititon).

Kristin Kaufmann, Mayor for Work, Social issues, Health and Housing of the City of Dresden, Germany

Dr Kristin Kaufmann is Dresden’s Mayor responsible for Work, Social Affairs, Health and Living, a post she took up in October 2015. Following her degree in Geography at the TU Dresden, she has worked as a research fellow at the TU Dresden, the Leibniz Institute and other research institutions and earned a Doctorate in Geography at the TU Berlin.

She is closely involved in several organizations, clubs and committees in Dresden, serving as a board member for Dresden’s Job Centre, a member of the advisory board of Cultus gGmbH, board member of the Social Foundation of the State Capital of Dresden among a number of others.

Her aims as Mayor include commitment to sustainable social development, integration of asylum seekers, affordable accommodation and that Dresden continues to be a frontrunner in the field of health.

Derk Loorbach, Professor of Socio-Economic Transitions and Director of DRIFT - Dutch Research Institute for Transitions

Derk Loorbach is director of the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT) and professor at the Faculty of Social Science, both at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research focuses on societal transitions and their governance. He has pioneered the approach of transition management as a new mode of governance in theory and practice.

The transition arena method has become widespread as an approach to create transformative networks with shared transition agendas to impact ongoing transitions. He has worked on themes such as energy, water, mobility, health care, construction as well as neighbourhoods and urban development. He has over one hundred publications in this area and has been involved as an action researcher in numerous transition processes with government, business, civil society and science. He is a frequently invited keynote speaker in and outside Europe. 

Niki Frantzeskaki - Associate Professor - DRIFT, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Niki Frantzeskaki is an Associate Professor at the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions, focusing on governance dynamics and transition initiatives.

She has solid experience as a research leader within a number of European and international research projects and she has been designing and facilitating transition management processes in different contexts (i.e. energy strategy development, urban water strategy development in Melbourne and in the Pacific Islands and green city development in Rotterdam and Stockholm).

Mundano, Founder, Pimp My Carroça

Mundano is a Brazilian artivist whose work makes people stop and think about the issues swirling around them everyday. In 2007, he began using his graffiti skills to paint "carroças," the wooden and metal carts used by the trash collectors throughout Brazil who haul off junk and recyclables. He painted more than 300 carroças and in the process made these invisible superheroes visible—not only in the streets, but also in the media. The effort led to "Pimp My Carroça," which is crowdfunded and collaborative event that took it to another level. It has brought in over 500 trash collectors in more than 25 cities around the world, teaming them up with 354 street artists and 1429 volunteers. It quickly became a movement that are getting global with the mission to create a new legacy for this true environmental agents. ( pimpmycarroca.com )

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Paola Cannavò, Member of the Board of Trustees and the Scientific Committee of the LABoratory for the GOVernance of Commons - LabGov

Paola Cannavò is Associate Professor of Urban Design at the University of Calabria since 2006 where she is responsible for the section urban design - UdLab of PASTEM laboratory.

In 2004 she was awarded the Bronze Medal for Benemerita of Italian Culture and Art by Italy’s President for her exceptional contribution to Italian culture and in 2011 she received the Honor Award in General Design of the American Society of Landscape ASLA.

From 2007 to 2011 she was member of Comitato Tecnico-Scientifico per i Beni Architettonici e Paesaggistici of the italian Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali and in 2014 she was member of the staff of Assessore alla Cultura in the city of Rome.

She has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in USA, the Université de Montréal in Canada, the Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus and the Fachhochschule Lausitz in Germany, the Universidade Moderna Lisboa in Portugal and the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia.

She led as founding partner the office studio.eu in Berlin, a laboratory for experimental design, from 2000 to 2010. The results of this activity have received numerous international awards.

Andreas Otto, Deputy Director and Head of Research Management, Leibniz Institute for Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Dresden, Germany

Dr. Andreas Otto is Deputy Director and Head of Research Management at the Leibniz Institute for Ecological Urban and Regional Development. Following his Geography studies at  Technische Universität Dresden, in 2008, he earned a Doctoral Degree at the Technische Universität Dresden, Faculty of Forest, Geo and Hydro Sciences (summa cum laude). In 2002, he was awarded the Lohrmann Medal of the Technische Universität Dresden. 

He has been Deputy Director at IOER, since 2014. Before this, he was Head of Research Management at the IOER since 2008 and a Research Associate at IOER since 2001. He conducted field research activities in the USA between 2003-2005 and has been a frequent lecturer at the Technische Universität Dresden as part of the exchange programme on "Sustainable Development in the Urban Region in Germany and the US", 2003-2011

His professional and research interests include research management (Training at the Center for Science & Research Management in Speyer, 2009), revitalization of city centres/downtowns and the development of downtown retail in the US, development of distressed areas in medium sized and large European cities and regional development of rural and remote areas in Germany. 

Joke Quintens, Deputy Mayor, City of Genk, Belgium

Alongside her post as Deputy Mayor of Genk, Joke Quintens works as a developer and facilitator of processes for Dwarsdenkers, a co-creation office organising participation processes in organizations and companies.

Her areas of policy expertise include neighbourhood development, equal opportunities and diversity, citizen participation, the environment, sustainable development and transition management.

Her political experience includes a four-year term as Vice-President of the Social Democrats of Flanders (2011-2015), a position as campaign, communications and networking advisor for the province of Limburg (2007) and as a people manager for the Social Democrats of Flanders (2002-2006).

She also has a long history of community and social engagement, working as teacher and team leader for the Brussels Centrum voor Basiseducatie from 1997-2001 and as a mentor in youth welfare and community work.

Ugo Guarnacci, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission

Ugo Guarnacci works as Policy Officer at Directorate I "Climate Action and Resource Efficiency", Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), European Commission.

Ugo is an environmental economist by training and he is currently working on the development of a new R&I policy agenda on Re-Naturing Cities through Nature-Based Solutions.

His areas of expertise include: sustainable urban development, beyond GDP indicators and environmental accounting, social innovation and citizen engagement.



Annemarieke van Egeraat, City of Rotterdam, Netherlands

Annemarieke van Egeraat

Annemarieke van Egeraat is a senior project manager in the Health and Social work sector, focusing on democratic innovation. An important aspect of her role emphasises creating opportunities for residents in community building, connecting local networks and organising services such as a neighbourhood kitchen for the elderly.

"How can local government support/stimulate citizens' initiatives?"

Rotterdam has a long tradition which started with "opzoomeren" (neighbourhood improvement activities) 30 years ago, and continues today with the experimental Right To Challenge project. The bottom line is that it is all about the will to co-operate and to be an adoptive government.

Arif Khan, Fellow, Harvard University

Arif Khan is a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Prior to that, he was coordinating partnerships for the UN’s World Humanitarian Summit, to improve global disaster preparedness and response. Internationally, he has managed millions of dollars of humanitarian aid, built temporary settlements, and implemented relief projects that supported hundreds of thousands of people affected by natural disasters and conflicts in Kenya, Indonesia, Somalia, Yemen, Chad, Pakistan, Lebanon, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.

In the US, he has also led initiatives to improve disaster resilience, promote urban walking and bicycling, increase urban green space, and build social capital. He has planned hundreds of miles of bikeways and trails. He founded Depave, a non-profit that works with communities to transform underused car parks into greenspaces and gardens. He spearheaded the development of the first food garden on international territory at the UN Headquarters in New York, in partnership with New York City Parks and Brooklyn Grange. He is currently working on setting up a small educational farm in the Hudson Valley of New York State.

Liselotte Nóren, Founder, Refo

Liselotte Norén is a social entrepreneur with a passion for helping people enter and re-enter the job market and founder of Refo, a system for sustainable design, job creation, multiculturalism and community development. Refo uses waste materials and transforms them into designs to remake, educate and inspire people - particularly youth - providing employment and integration opportunities at the same time.


"I am a doer and I work with the idea of combining places, people and knowledge into novel contexts to empower and achieve positive results, e.g. more jobs, societal integration, satisfaction, and education for life."

Gabriella Schneider, Activist, Transition Wekerle

I am an activist of Transition Wekerle, Budapest. I have been part of this wonderful initiative for 8 years. My local community is the 100-year-old Wekerle suburb of Budapest, designed by a Transylvanian architect, of whom we are all so proud. There are fairytale houses with brightly coloured shuttered windows that surround a central square and radiate out throughout this garden city district. Every avenue is lined with 100-year-old trees. It resembles a small village, with its compactness, within-reach shops and markets, kindergartens, schools, family doctors and playgrounds.

We are a member of the international Transition Towns network and the Hungarian Transition initiatives (Small Communities in Transition). Transition Towns aim at tackling peak oil and climate change by building resilient communities. They focus on local economies, local food and energy sources, energy efficiency and environmentally friendly households and transport. Transition Wekerle is a key member of the Hungarian Transition initiatives (a network called Small Communities in Transition) and is also the member of the international Transition Towns movement. It relies heavily on the cooperation of individuals, local NGOs and local institutions. It focuses on local food, local energy and local economy in order to lighten our eco-footprint, promote active citizenship, new ways of cooperation and solidarity. Our projects include improving the energy efficiency of old homes through insulation, collecting fruit and vegetable donations at the local market for poverty-stricken families and promoting urban gardening by organising seed-swap events.

Leen Gorissen, Transition Research Coordinator, Flemish Institute for Technological Research

Leen Gorissen is one of the Transition Research Coordinators at the Flemish Institute for Technological Research. She focusses on bridging technological and social innovation by fuelling and supporting co-creative processes developing new pathways of transformative science. 

Leen focusses on bringing transition insights and methods into practice by engaging a wide diversity of actors in action oriented research approaches. As a biologist by training, she is also exploring how society can learn from and cooperate with nature to find more sustainable solutions to the sustainability challenges that are present in today's world.