Episode 15: Cities building digital resilience featuring Greater Manchester and Arup

Nov 2023

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About This Episode

Our Executive Director Lauren Sorkin welcomes Dr. Kathy Oldham, Chief Resilience Officer at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Will Cavendish, Global Digital Services Leader at Arup on a new episode of the Urban Exchange Podcast! Set in the context of the publication titled “Digital Cities, Resilient Cities – Delivering urban resilience through digital solutions”, developed by Resilient Cities Network and Arup, the discussion explores how digital systems can support cities to enhance their urban resilience and disaster response. Both Kathy and Will share recommendations for cities to support the integration of digital technologies and solutions in a way that can support their daily operations. Kathy shares valuable insights from Greater Manchester’s experiences on creating digital masterplans to be better prepared to the possible threats and risks in this sector.

The Speakers

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Lauren Sorkin

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Dr. Kathy Oldham

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Will Cavendish

About Dr. Kathy Oldham

Kathryn has been Greater Manchester’s Chief Resilience Officer since 2017, providing strategic leadership for the city region’s approach to resilience. She is responsible for a specialist unit delivering disaster risk reduction and an emergency response service for Greater Manchester’s ten local authorities. Kathryn has led the development of Greater Manchester’s 10-year Resilience Strategy and provides a strategic advice function to the Greater Manchester Resilience Forum with a focus on multi-agency collaboration to deliver safer, stronger, and more resilient communities in Greater Manchester. Kathryn heads up Greater Manchester’s participation in several international partnerships including the Resilient Cities Network, UNDRR’s Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030) partnership and the Counter Terrorism Preparedness Network (CTPN). She led Greater Manchester’s successful application to become a UNDRR-recognized Resilience Hub in 2021. Kathryn is a member of MCR2030’s Regional Coordinating Committee for Europe and Central Asia and sits on CTPN’s International Board. Kathryn holds a medical degree and has previously held a wide range of positions in local government.

About Will Cavendish

Will is Arup’s global Digital Services Leader. He works with a wide range of clients to understand the potential of innovation and digital technologies to improve growth, regenerate cities and places, and improve the effectiveness of infrastructure. Before joining Arup, he was Applied Strategy Lead at DeepMind, responsible for taking the world-leading breakthroughs taking place in Artificial Intelligence, and applying them for good in areas such as health and energy. Prior to that he was a senior civil servant and his roles included: Director General for Innovation, Growth and Technology at the Department of Health; Director General, International Energy and Climate Change at DECC; and head of the Prime Minister’s Implementation Unit, reporting directly to David Cameron and Nick Clegg. As a result, he has wide-ranging experience of achieving change in areas such as digital, health, education, energy and climate change, cybersecurity, growth and innovation. During his time in government, Will led the creation of the world’s first network of What Works Centres, set up to provide proper evidence on effective uses of public money. He was also a LEP Senior Sponsor and was involved in a number of City Deals.

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