While Jan Gehl’s research on public spaces and public life began in Copenhagen, it was quickly applied to many other cities throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. His ideas and approaches to design for public spaces incorporate the cutting edge of technology without losing sight of what best supports and enhances people’s experience of everyday life in the public realm. In 1960, Gehl earned his BA and MA in Architecture from the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and began practicing as an architect. 

In 1966 he received a five-year research grant from his former school to study the form and use of public space. This work spawned his first book, Life Between Buildings (1971, trans. 1987). From 1971 onwards he worked at the school as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, and Professor of Urban Design. In 1998, he became director of the institution’s newly-established Center for Public Space Research. Other publications describing Gehl’s intensive research on the social uses of public space include Publicd Spaces-Public Life (1996, 2004), and New City Spaces (2008), which have been translated into multiple languages. These and many other publications offer a method for evaluating city quality, designing to encourage active use of outdoor space, and discussing the ways our sensory abilities affect our use of space. In 1992, Gehl received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. In 1993, he was honored with the Sir Patrick Abercrombie Prize for exemplary contributions to Town Planning and Territorial Development from the International Union of Architects and in 1998 received the EDRA/Places Research Award from the Environmental Design Research Association. Gehl is also on the editorial board of Journal of Architectural and Planning ResearchUrban Design International, and Town Planning & Architecture.

Mary Mellor is Professor Emerita at Northumbria University in the UK where her main teaching area was social theory. She was also founding Chair of the University’s Sustainable Cities Research Institute. Throughout her academic career she has been concerned with the need for social change and sought to achieve this by bringing together radical social, feminist, and ecological thinking. In 2017, Mellor was presented with the Bernardo Aguilar Award by the US Society for Ecological Economics in recognition of her contribution to inspiring students through teaching, research, ideas, and mentoring. Her first research area was social economy, particularly co-operatives drawing on the experience of British consumer and worker co-operative movements (Worker Co-operatives in Theory and Practice (co-authored). 

In the 1980s, she explored the eco-feminist movement resulting in two books Breaking the Boundaries and Feminism and Ecology. Beginning in the 1990s, she started to develop her current area of interest, alternative economics, combining radical green, social, and feminist ideas. This work has involved a fundamental re-thinking of how current economies function, particularly the role of money. A major focus has been a critique of the privatization of the money supply and attack upon the public role of money under neoliberal "handbag" economics. This led to three books The Politics of Money (co-authored), The Future of Money, and Debt or Democracy.  She is currently working on a fourth book on the social, political, and commercial history and future of money.  Her aim is to achieve an ecologically sustainable and socially just economy based upon participatory democracy. 


Mette Boye is Director of the Danish Ethical Trading Initiative (DIEH) . DIEH is a nationwide organization that seeks to facilitate cooperation  among different stakeholders on a non-profit basis and  to promote international trade that respects human- and labor rights, environmental considerations , and contributes to global sustainable development by strengthening members’ efforts in ethical trade. Mette  is also a Board member of  the Danish Institute of Human Rights.

Connie Hedegaard

Connie Hedegaard was the European Commissioner for Climate Action from 2010 to 2014 and during this time she led the negotiations toward adoption of the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework. In this role she was also responsible for the 2050 Roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy and represented the EU in international climate negotiations. With two decades of experience in international and domestic executive policy making Connie is currently involved in several key positions in support of a low-carbon and green economy. She is the first chair of the Board for the KR Foundation, the chair of OECD’s Round Table for Sustainable Development; chair of the Danish Government’s Committee on Public Service, chair of the Board for the green think tank, CONCITO, member of the Nordex Supervisory Board, member of the Danfoss A/S Board, and member of the Board of Aarhus University. Connie has furthermore been appointed Public Investigator for the Norwegian government’s project on Green Competitiveness. Her prior background is in journalism.

Søren Hermansen is born and raised on Samsø, a Danish island in the middle of Denmark. He is the Director of  the Samsø Energy Academy  which provides consulting on energy saving and sustainable energy  while working toward Samsø’s status  to be fossil free  by 2030. Søren has won several prestigious awards for his work with the latest being the Swedish “Göteborgpris” also known as “the  Green  Nobel  Prize”.

Selina Juul is a Founder of Stop Wasting Food movement Denmark (Stop Spild Af Mad), which is Denmark’s largest non-profit award-winning organization against food waste. Since 2008, Stop Wasting Food has massively contributed to bring food waste on Denmark’s agenda and achieved a large number of results in Denmark, in collaboration with EU and UN. Stop Wasting Food has started the fight against food waste in Denmark and brought Denmark’s fight against food waste on the world map. Selina Juul is a co-developer of the global Food Loss & Waste Protocol, a Member of European Commission’s EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste as well as Partner in the United Nations’ global SAVE FOOD initiative and Partner in the FAO/UNEP campaign Think.Eat.Save.

Louise Koch is the Corporate Sustainability Lead for Dell EMC in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Her work is driven by a passion to build a better world through business. At Dell EMC she is working closely with colleagues, customers, and partners to share and develop Dell’s corporate sustainability program and to drive sustainability in business development. In 2016, she was listed in the global top 100 of most influential CSR leaders. Prior to joining Dell, Louise was Head of CSR for the Confederation of Danish Enterprise where she also served as a board member of the Danish Ethical Trade initiative and a national expert in the ICC Commission on CSR and Anti-corruption. Louise holds a master's degree in Anthropology and Innovation from the University of Copenhagen.

Charlotte Pedersen is responsible for GAIN's representation in the Nordic countries and is leading the GAIN Nordic Partnership, a multipstakeholder collaboration that includes Arla Foods Ingredients, Tetra Pak, DanChurchAid, and the Confederation of Danish Industries. Before initiating the Nordic Partnership, she organized ​the Dutch project “Amsterdam Initiative Against Malnutrition (AIM) which is an alliance of thirty​ partners committed to ending malnutrition.​ These partnerships are examples of GAIN’s​approach to bringing together collaborators from various sectors (private, public, civil society, and academia)​ to develop sustainable solutions to address malnutrition. Charlotte is also responsible for GAIN’​s focus group on diary products which ​seeks to advance affordable solutions within this sector​. Prior to joining GAIN, she worked for more than ten​ years for Accenture as a management consultant and a prior ten​ years for DLF, ​a leading agricultural crop-​seed producer. Charlotte holds a MSc and a PhD in agricultural sciences from Copenhagen University and a MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management.

As Head of Responsible Investment, Pelle Pedersen is Leading PKA’s implementation of responsible investment covering impact investments; environmental, social, and governance; active ownership; proxy voting; stakeholder management; and public policy. The €40 billion fund has particular focus on climate change and impact investments which has led PKA to invest in five offshore wind farms, the Danish Climate Investment Fund, the Danish Agribusiness Fund, green bonds, and microfinance. In total, PKA has invested €3 billion in impact projects and the fund aims to make further allocation through an SDG-guided investment process.

Steffen Rasmussen is Head of the Department of Traffic and Urban Life for the City of Copenhagen. He has skills and flair for leading organizations in change, strategic planning, managing processes and building organization. Steffen has experience in public administration and governance from several assignments in municipalities, counties, and ministries in Denmark. He has also learned experiences from working in an international context as a consultant, technical advisor, project manager, and director in African and Latin American countries. Steffen is experienced in analyzing, conceptualizing, planning, implementing, and evaluating comprehensive development strategies and plans.

Helene Regnell has worked within corporate social responsibility, compliance, and sustainability for twenty years years. She has created sustainability strategies for multinational companies such as GE, Maersk, and Dansk Supermarked and gained deep understanding of how companies have positive and negative impacts on society. Today Helene owns Regnell Works which assists companies as well as public entities to optimize their approach to sustainability and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Susanne Stormer leads Novo Nordisk’s efforts to be a sustainable business, building on the company’s Triple Bottom Line (TBL) business principle. In this capacity, she sets the strategic direction for the company’s positioning as a sustainability leader and a pioneer in demonstrating the long-term business value of incorporating economic, social, and environmental perspectives into its market proposition.

Susanne joined the Novo Group in 2000 to ingrain the TBL principle in the business as the lens for decision-making and a strong component of the corporate culture. Among her achievements are the successful integration of the company’s financial and sustainability reporting. 

She is member of the International Integrated Reporting Council the Board of the Access to Nutrition Foundation. Susanne is adjunct professor of Corporate Sustainability at the Copenhagen Business School and a Berkeley Social Impact Fellow at Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. Susanne holds a MA in English Studies and a BA in East Asian Area Studies, both from Aarhus University. She is a graduate of the Stanford Business Executive Programme.