A programme on next generation thinking delivered by some of the most influential and innovative figures in the construction industry has been announced by Ecobuild. The conference takes an inventive look at the materials, practices and thinking which could shape our future living, from creating a swimmable commuter route on the capital’s canal, to smart buildings which operate without human intervention.

As well as providing an intriguing and highly provoking glance at the future construction of buildings and surrounding infrastructure, the programme, which is being hosted on day three of Ecobuild, offers a host of imaginative solutions on the question of how best to nurture talent within construction.

Among speakers giving their forthright, expert – and at times – provocative views include David Hancock, Head of Construction at the UK Cabinet Office; Andrew McNaughton, Director of Engineering at Tidal Lagoon Power; and Sam Martin, Director at Exterior Architecture.

One of the conference’s many stimulating presentations features a talk on the Thames Deckway by Anna Hill, founder of Space Synapse. Proposed as a first step in reinvigorating the River Thames’ role as a major movement corridor, this £600 million scheme could provide a floating cycle path from Battersea to Canary Wharf. The Deckway is seen by some as a delightfully unconventional solution to London’s deep-seated traffic and pollution problem.

With the capital in mind, the LidoLine is another real next generation idea being floated during the programme. It examines a proposal to transform London’s Regent’s Canal into a swimmable commuter route. This environmentally-friendly and healthy alternative to the bus would take the form of a clean basin being inserted into the canal, allowing swimmers to journey safely to work alongside boats.

The day’s conference programme will be rounded off with the final of The Big Innovation Pitch. Delivered in partnership with Marks & Spencer, The Big Innovation Pitch is an opportunity for companies to pitch innovative building products and solutions in the hope of becoming a potential supplier to the retailer. The finalists will give their final pitch to a panel of judges under the careful watch of host Rachel Riley from the Gadget Show and Countdown.

This lively session might just generate a revolutionary idea or concept to change the UK building industry. For further information about Ecobuild 2016 please visit www.ecobuild.co.uk.