In this episode we are in conversation with Dr Gemma John, who is talking in the Smart Cities stream at the conference in October. Gemma is an urban anthropologist and Managing Director at Human City.

Gemma explains how her PhD research led to her focus on spatial transformation in the context of the knowledge economy. She discusses the work Human City does with asset management companies and local authorities, and shares a success story from a small town in England where a retail space delivered both social and financial value in the context of crisis.

Gemma shares her experiences of interdisciplinarity and collaboration and the ways in which anthropologists add value to the design of buildings and the built environment.

We discuss working at a distance, the lack of affordable housing at a time when most people are now working from home, and why the systemic equation between housing, employment, and health urgently needs to be made more explicit.

Lastly Gemma explores the concept ‘speaking for the social’, why it’s important, and what that means in practice, particularly when collaborating with people from different disciplines.

Read the interview here.

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