Jonathan Smales

Jonathan Smales (BA, IHSM)

Founder & CEO

Jonathan has worked in sustainable development for over 30 years, and is a recognised leader in sustainable design and urbanism.

Whilst MD of Greenpeace, in 1989 he bought and oversaw the refurbishment of an old animal testing laboratory in Islington as Greenpeace UK’s new HQ – London’s first green commercial building. In 1990 he created and became CEO of the Earth Centre national millennium project, commissioning some of the world’s finest architects, designers, artists and engineers to create a living showcase for sustainability best practice. In 2001 he co-founded the Beyond Green group, which he chaired until 2015 working across strategic built environment consultancy, direct development and communications. 

Jonathan has advised city authorities, regeneration and government agencies and blue chip private clients on values, vision, policies and protocols for placemaking, masterplanning, public engagement, planning and politics for many of the UK’s largest and most complex projects. In this capacity he’s shaped schemes for over 100,000 homes now in the delivery pipeline and evolved a suite of innovative typologies for sustainable urban blocks, housing, streets, public realm and urban landscapes. Human Nature harnesses the international network of skilled and empathetic designers and other built environment professionals established through this work. 

Having grown frustrated by the inherent limitations of consulting in sustainability, while emergencies in the climate and natural world accelerate, he created Human Nature with Michael Manolson to gain control of the development process.  

Jonathan is a regular speaker in international forums on sustainability, real estate and regeneration, has been a trustee of four charities and founder of two, an adviser to the Mayor of Hannover on the World EXPO 2000, worked on the London 2012 Olympic Park and its Legacy, was a member of the Mayor of London’s Design Advisory Board, founded and ran the Remarkable Cities programme at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and having written the sustainability principles for CABE, became a CABE Space enabler and member of its major Infrastructure Projects Panel. 

Formerly a reluctant marathon runner, Jonathan now lets off steam cooking, venting on social media, cycling his Brompton bike up and (mostly) down the hills of home town Lewes and ineffectually counselling his children on which music to listen to.