Simon Power

PhD p/t Researcher & Chartered Planning and Sustainability Director at Mott MacDonald
Cardiff University School of Geography and Planning

PhD Research

Place leadership and the role of strategy and governance: How best to enable place leadership for zero carbon outcomes in cities


I'm curious as to how places such as cities are improved, why they work, how they can be made net zero carbon – and how that interest can help clients, stakeholders and colleagues.
My career to date has been a journey of investigation, developing client offerings, from the local (at site and development management level) to the city-region scale. I have seen how data/evidence produced by consultants and universities (including that by myself) has informed policy development and delivery in a wide range of environmental planning areas. This has included the site selection and development of major infrastructure projects and the master-planning process. My inquiry was initially carried out through a natural science and GIS lens; subsequently through a human/urban geography aspect and now increasingly with a management and leadership focus. (I’m fascinated by innovation & research).

In the last 5 years or so I have focused on the role of agency i.e. how leadership works initially within organisations. Increasingly I am interested in how external leadership can present opportunities; in particular how place-based leadership works for sustainability and low carbon outcomes. I have continued to be interested in how experts can make the places in which they work/reside more sustainable/resilient and economically viable - and I am keen to act to deliver on this agenda as well as research it.

My professional background is in Environmental planning, Environmental Impact Assessment /Sustainability Appraisal, for urban mixed-use development, water, energy and transport projects and programmes. I am a Chartered Town Planner and Chartered Environmental Scientist/earth scientist with a focus on sustainability and good design. I developed and led a 100 strong multidisciplinary consultancy team in Cardiff and Bristol over a 25-year career; and now supporting the growth again of the same.