Neil May was an inspiration and fellow traveller to the Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF), constantly striving to improve the performance of some part of the property and construction industry and gathering people around him to help make the necessary changes happen.

Neil had an extraordinary gift for bringing people together and inspiring them to act collectively. He spoke with enthusiasm and passion which inspired people to act, but he also had great understanding and knowledge of the problems that needed addressing, which gave honesty and integrity to his aims and campaigns. Read more

Neil’s work


Neil was closely involved in the development of the following organisations:

Neil also worked closely with the UCL Energy Institute.


‘Is the primary challenge how to think, not what to do? Open up the intellectual and cultural space.’

Neil May

He authored or was instrumental in the following published papers:

Neil’s legacy

The Neil May Lecture Series

The Neil May Lecture Series, inspired by Neil’s memory, focuses on restorative sustainability, net positive development and social justice. The inaugural lecture was held on 2 July 2021. We welcomed guests Prof. Karel Williams and Prof. Julie Froud from the University of Manchester’s Business School, who spoke about the foundational economy. A recording of the lecture can be found here.

The second Neil May Memorial Lecture took place on 20 September 2022 at UCL in London.  Josh Ryan Collins (UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose) discussed the UK and wider high-income economy housing affordability crisis, and the recording is available to watch here.

The 2024 event in the series took place on 21 March, and interrogated mould, damp and health inequalities, with contributions from Dr Andy Knox, Prof. Sani Dimitroulopoulou and Dr Valentina Marincioni. The recording can be watched here.

The Neil May Award

The Neil May Award has been established by the ASBP to recognise individuals who have made a significant contribution to sustainable building through their work. The first recipient of the award, Richard Oxley, was described as one of Neil’s ‘musketeers’, amplifying the healthy building practices that Neil was keen for the built environment to embrace. 

Tributes to Neil