Maria Adebowale-Schwarte, first understood the true nature of urban inequality when passing through a wealthy neighbourhood on her way to a netball match while in secondary school. This experience sparked a preoccupation with disproving the idea that inequality in our cities around the world is an inevitability. Maria takes us back to the principles of the 1940s and the creation of the UK’s “Town and Country Planning Act” to examine how the ownership and value of land has changed from once being for the collective benefit has moved too far to being for individual gain. From collaborative design to co-investment, she identifies the core principles at the heart of placemaking can shape an inclusive future for our cities. Maria is a city and an urban place strategist, focusing on collaborative design, policy, and funding models that are inclusive and equitable. Maria is also the Founder of Living Space Project – an urban place making consultancy and think tank. She’s also an associate, and on the board of a number of organisations with strong place and city agendas. She’s also the author of the “must read” book, The Place Making Factor, that blends narrative and fact, on place and grant making. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Maria Adebowale-Schwarte

Founder of Living Space Project, writer and city and urban place strategist

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