Educated in architecture at London Metropolitan University and the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Lara has a multidisciplinary design and strategy background having worked in architectural and urban design practices, academia, local government and the charity sector for the past 15 years. Her portfolio includes the design and client management of major regeneration projects in London, leading a community education programme in Sao Paulo, masterplanning in Madrid, Moscow and Jerusalem, and building timber framed homes in Europe.
From 2007-2011, she was an urban designer at Design for London. As part of the Mayor of London’s office for architecture and urbanism, work included spatial strategies, urban design, design and planning review, policy research and project management with financial responsibilities for projects across London valuing £40 million. Lara led the delivery of public realm and building projects from concept through to delivery for a number of Olympic Fringe sites and was on the client team of several notable East London projects.
Alongside her practice work, Lara is an experienced educator. From 2012-2016, she was the director of London Metropolitan University’s Urban Research Projects, a research office for the capital’s urban issues that developed projects, provided analysis, influenced plans, and delivered informed urban change for clients such as the London Legacy Development Corporation, Diocese of London and the Greater London Authority. From 2010-2016, she was the course leader and senior lecturer on London Met’s MA Cities programme, which sought to provide training for the next generation of city regenerators and leaders, with a particular focus on London.
Current work focuses on advising and implementing new models for urban practice and governance that are more informed, collaborative and life changing, which are undertaken through her own practice and government advisory roles. The role of new technology and city leadership to aid better city design processes are of particular interest in this field of work. She is a member of the Northern Ireland Ministerial Advisory Group for Architecture and the Built Environment, co-ordinates a network on urban governance in UN Habitat’s Universities Network Initiative, and is currently completing a PhD entitled ‘Enabling Design-Led Decision Making: Towards a New Urban Governance Framework and its Practice in London’.