How can an area be developed whilst positively contributing to its socio-economic conditions, and preserving the existing people and places that characterise said area?

This question has driven my professional career in the built-environment industry.  My expertise lies in understanding and enhancing people, places, and properties. This includes exploring who designs and has access to newly-built physical spaces, their cultural impact, and the sustainability of these spaces. I firmly believe that sustainable development directly contributes to creating a better functioning and more equitable society.

My career began with an internship as the Communications & Engagement intern for George the Poet, where I supported the team in generating maximum impact for the Peabody Award-winning podcast series, “Have You Heard George’s Podcast?”. During this time, I established professional relationships with various organisations that shared similar values and a strong interest in collaboration. 

Following this, I joined Quintain Estates, one of the largest Built-to-Rent developers in the UK, to support their work on the 85-acre Wembley Park development in north west London. My role focused on providing project management support and strategy development for community outreach, skills and employment programs, educational engagement initiatives, diversity and inclusion strategies, social value strategies, and volunteering programs. My responsibilities included overseeing project activities, conducting analyses of technical plans and corporate processes, and contributing to the completion and delivery of various projects at Wembley Park. Additionally, I led the organization’s equality, diversity, and inclusion strategy and consulted on sustainable placemaking initiatives, focusing on sustainable construction practices, affordability of tenure across the estate, and alignment of business values with UN Sustainable Development Goals and Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark certification. 

After my tenure at Quintain, I took on the role of Assistant Development Manager at Lendlease, where I worked on the Euston Over-Station Development masterplan. In this role, I managed the design development and planning deliverable production, orchestrating a comprehensive development strategy that aligns with political and planning policy directives. My work included managing the masterplan design code development and strategies for arts and culture, landscape and public realm, accessibility and mobility, and sustainability. This experience has provided me with a deep understanding of urban design and placemaking principles. 

My work has always focused on creating “desirable” change for all stakeholders by understanding the people we build for, the places we develop, and the properties we design. This involves questioning who will be affected by the development, the cultural significance of the area, how we can preserve and celebrate heritage, and how efficiently designed and accessible the buildings are. 

I hold a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences (Upper Second Class with Honours) and a Master of Arts in Cities (Distinction) from Central Saint Martins, University of Arts London - where we studied creative approaches to city-making through an enquiry-led approach that challenges the conventions of urban development, regeneration, and placemaking. My technical proficiency includes a good working knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite and QGIS, which allows me to convey spatial ideas graphically in a clear and compelling manner. 

Throughout my career, I have developed and implemented various policies and strategies that align with regional and national planning frameworks. For instance, my work on community outreach, skills and employment programs, and educational engagement initiatives at Wembley Park ensured they met quality, safety, and sustainability standards. My academic and professional experiences have equipped me with a robust foundation in research, analysis, and practical application in urban development and placemaking. I am passionate about creating positive social change through sustainable development practices.

Nabil Al-Kinani

Talks & Workshops
ABOUTBy day, Nabil Al-Kinani is a built-environment professional with a keen interest in urbanism, placemaking, sustainable development and place vision. By night, he is a writer and cultural producer that uses creative practice to deliver changemaking projects that draw focus on the relationship between spaces and stories. Other strands of his work includes the exploration of spatial politics, identity, culture and migration.