Paula Hirst

DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY

 

paula@priorandpartners.com

Paula is a recognised leader in urban development and regeneration with over 20 years’ experience across the public and private sectors, within the UK, Europe and the Middle East, working in both a client and consultancy capacity.

Specialising in long-term large scale projects, involving a variety of disciplines and stakeholders, Paula’s experience includes working for High Speed Two, Homes England, Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, Olympic Delivery Authority, and the Greater London Authority, as well as working with the European Investment Bank, European Commission, and the Future Cities Catapult.

Paula brings a strategic perspective that allows organisations in the built environment to work through complex project challenges to deliver for their funders, clients, partners, and naturally for local communities.  Paula has an MBA from Cass Business School, is Co-Chair of the Urban Land Institute’s Infrastructure and Regeneration Council, and is a member of Design South East’s Design Review Panel.

Housing Infrastructure Fund, UK 

The Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) is a £5bn Government fund aimed at boosting UK productivity by investing in infrastructure to unlock the delivery of new housing. Seconded into Homes England, Paula acted as the Programme Manager for this fund, managing relationships with the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government, and overseeing the Forward Funding bid assessment process.

Euston Station, London

Working for High Speed Two, Paula was the client lead for a new landowner masterplan for Euston, and an update to the business case for investment in supporting infrastructure. Paula had responsibility for senior stakeholder relationships and acted as a key advisor in the appointment of a Master Development Partner for the oversite development. 

Old Oak and Park Royal, London

The regeneration of Old Oak and intensification of the Park Royal Industrial Estate in West London is a key aspiration of the Mayor of London and central Government, to realise the economic benefits associated with the new High Speed 2, Crossrail, and Great Western Mainline Station at Old Oak. As Director of Development for the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, Paula was responsible for land assembly, masterplanning, and infrastructure.

 

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London 

The Olympic Delivery Authority was established to deliver the infrastructure, venues, and first new urban park in London in 100 years, in time for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. A once in a lifetime opportunity to regenerate a brownfield industrial area in the heart of East London, and improve life chances for some of London’s most deprived communities. As Head of Sustainable Development for the Olympic Delivery Authority, Paula gained agreement to a challenging set of standards and targets across sectors and industries, leading to a step change in sustainability practices in the design and construction industry. 

 

Urban Investment and Innovation 

The role of International Finance Institutions and Development Banks in urban investment and innovation is key to supporting urban growth, regeneration, and innovation to ensure cities around the world are able to address current and future trends. As the Executive Director for Integrated City Systems at the Future Cities Catapult, Paula led this work programme, engaging with senior representatives from IFIs, resulting in the publication of the first ever report into IFI and Development Bank activity in this area.  

Paula advised several European city authorities and national governments on the feasibility of establishing urban investment funds to support urban regeneration as Director of Urban Development and Regeneration at Mazars. Paula also led a pan European project with the European Commission, European Investment Bank, and European Investment Fund analysing the barriers and opportunities to establishing city investment funds for urban development and infrastructure, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and investments in small and medium sized enterprises.  

 

Smart and Sustainable Cities

Cities need to plan for and respond to the changing technological, population, environmental and economic environment they face. In order to provide for a consistent approach to strategy, planning, and implementation, the British Standards Institution, working in partnership with the Future Cities Catapult produced a suite of standards documents to assist Local Authorities, Infrastructure Providers, Developers, and other parties. Paula acted as a key advisor on this work, chairing the workstreams on infrastructure funding and financing, and smart city planning.

Paula was also the Project Director for a new report into Smart and Sustainable City Funding and Financing published by the European Investment Bank, and European Commission. This project considered the business models and financing for smart city projects, integrating technology with new property development, infrastructure or urban retrofit.

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