The Living Space Team

We are a team of associates, from social, private and public sector, with expertise in green spaces, and the environment.

The team

Living Space Project has a team of associates from the social, private and public sector, with cross cutting expertise and experience in placemaking, cities, green spaces, environment, planning, well-being, funding, local economies, regeneration and community inclusion, design and architecture.

Maria Adebowale-Schwarte

Maria is a place and city strategist, and the founder of Living Space Project (formerly Capacity Global). She specialises in inclusive urban placemaking, inclusive collaborative participation, place led philanthropy and funding, research and policy development. Her client portfolio includes the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Big Lottery Fund, Battersea Power Station Foundation, Trees for Cities, the British Council and New Cities Foundation.

She is currently an advisor, patron or board member of a number of place focused organisations including the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Environment Agency and is a commissioner on the Mayor of London’s Sustainable Development Commission.

Maria is the first recipient of the Environment Fellowship from the Clore Social Leadership Programme and she has a Master’s in Public International and Environment Law as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Architecture, Sustainability and Design.

She is regularly invited to speak at national and international events including TedxLondon, Placemaking Week, the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR), Women of the World, Inclusive Cities, and Invisible Dust’s summit Under Her Eye. She was presented with a Mayor of London, London Leaders Award (jobs & training), is a member of the global Place Making Leadership Council and a co-founder of the UK Placemaking Collective.

Maria is the author of The Placemaking Factor and she is fascinated by inclusive urban placemaking, heritage and culture. In her spare time Maria collects ‘knackered old Penguin paperbacks’.

Emma Herbert

Emma has a wealth of experience in executive assistance and project management. Before joining Living Space Project, she worked in the TV, digital, IT and publishing sectors. Emma is a fellow of the Institute of Professional Administrators and the Institute of Administrative Management.  

As the Project Manager Emma is central to keeping Living Space projects running smoothly as well as managing events, workshops and training courses.

When Emma is not in the office, she is always on the lookout for community environment and places projects in the US where she operates from.


Chris Church

Chris advises, trains and project manages local sustainable development and climate change projects, with a strong focus on community engagement.

His work has a strong focus on social and environmental justice. He co-wrote ‘Hard to reach?’ with Maria Adebowale-Schwarte – a review of UK activity on community action within black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, older groups, younger groups and disabled communities. Chris has also worked with Maria on projects supporting third sector organisations’ design and delivery of urban placemaking strategies.

Outside work he loves hill walking and is the author of ‘A traveller’s guide to Ullapool and the North-West of Scotland’.

derek hooper

Derek has worked for more than 20 years on equality, inclusion and placemaking. 

He is an experienced manager and this gives his work a practical edge and understanding of how organisations work. He was the inclusive design advisor at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (now the Design Council), and has worked with the Town and Country Planning Association on the ‘Love, Life and Liberty’ performance programme about the history of land rights and planning in England. In addition Derek has facilitated international meetings for the World Health Organisation.

He brings a wide portfolio of good quality practice, a practical tool-kit for managers and front-line staff, experience and creativity in supporting managers to projects.  His analysis covers all strands of equality and inequality - poverty and well-being, safety in public spaces and environmental issues. 

Apart from his work Derek enjoys cinema, reading, walking and cream teas. 

jacqueline bleicher

Jacqueline is an urban designer, masterplanner and architect. Jacqueline utilises ‘environment-behaviour’ research to make better design decisions, and actively promotes the practice and use of urban design principles and sustainable development practices in inclusive place design.

She works on urban design, masterplanning and architecture in both the public and the private sector including: mixed-use developments, residential, public realm, parks and green space, regeneration and inclusive place design.

In her free time, Jacqueline can be found inspiring young minds by speaking to school assemblies a

Jasbah Singh

Jasbah specialises in designing, delivering and evaluating community engagement projects at local, national and international level.

He initiates and manages successful community engagement projects on climate change, environmental, science-related and social issues. Jasbah is also an editor of the leading journal Participation Learning and Action.

Jasbah pretty much cycles everywhere and takes every opportunity to visit London's green spaces and Britain’s national parks.

Helen Lynn

Helen works with occupational and environmental health specialists in relation to environment and places. She works on numerous projects linking health to environment – buildings and spaces.

She previously worked at the Women’s Environmental Network, where she was health co-ordinator for 12 years before becoming a freelance consultant. She has worked internationally and at EU level with the non-governmental organisation Women in Europe for a Common Future (now Women Engage for a Common Future) and is on its International Advisory Board.

Away from work, Helen enjoys walking her dog, watching films, reading and cooking

Tayo Adebowale

Tayo is a chartered environmentalist, and chartered water and environmental manager. She has a Doctorate in waste water treatment.  

Her portfolio includes environment projects relating to strategy, policy on sustainable business management, energy and resource efficiency, land management, regeneration and environmental impact assessment, and environmental auditing. She previously worked for Environmental Resources Management (ERM) and Jacobs Engineering, and has been on a number of boards within the public sector. Tayo is also a built environment expert and a member of the Design Council’s Cabe ‘Built Environment Expert (BEE)’ Panel.

In her spare time you will find her on a house retrofit and design, or on her much loved allotment.