Who We Are
Here at Urbis, we have one simple goal – to shape the cities and communities of Australia for a better future.
...you’re dealing with the experts who will connect you to a better outcome, every time.
It’s something we achieve by drawing together a network of the brightest minds. Think of Urbis as a creative community of practice experts, working collaboratively to deliver fresh thinking and independent advice and guidance – all backed up by real, evidence-based solutions.
So what does this mean for you? Whether you engage with us in the areas of planning, design, policy, heritage, valuations, transactions, economics or research, you know you’re dealing with the experts who will connect you to a better outcome, every time.
How we work
At Urbis, we don’t just work for you. We work with you.
We help you achieve remarkable, sustainable outcomes.
We work hard to understand what you want to achieve. We guide and provide independent advice. At Urbis, we’ll manage your expectations, and help you see what’s possible. We help you achieve remarkable, sustainable outcomes – places or policies that work, that make our cities and communities better.
Our approach makes us agile, imaginative, entrepreneurial and pragmatic.
We believe that the most workable and elegant solutions will emerge – and ultimately, the best cities and communities – when the best minds think and talk and work together.
What we do
We act for clients who are making the places we live and reshaping the way we live there.
We advise developers, property owners, investors, private firms, NGOs, community groups, industry associations and all levels of government.
We advise developers, property owners, investors, private firms, NGOs, community groups, industry associations and all levels of government – local, state and federal.
Among the many lines of work we perform, we:
- design and master plan urban developments
- guide development projects through the complex process of planning approval
- help our clients imagine and build new places of work, leisure, entertainment and commerce – from shopping malls to business parks and retirement living
- provide property market and economic analysis
- research and analyse shopping trends and market forces
- consult with communities
- evaluate policy and advise on strategy
- provide heritage advice
- value properties, and advise on property transactions.
We balance stakeholder interests.
We help our clients find a way through the competing interests that surround any project involving people, places and property – community and social concerns, environmental and heritage values, planning policies, commercial imperatives.
What we value
Four values guide the way we work together and with you, to deliver fresh thinking and evidence-based solutions.
We mean what we say. We offer independent, impartial advice, and communicate clearly, honestly and respectfully with each other and our clients.
We communicate openly and constructively. We deliver world-class solutions because our people work together and partner with our clients.
We think beyond the brief. We draw on the know-how of the brightest minds. We base our advice on evidence and clarity of thought. We find a clear way forward for our clients, and guide them towards the outcomes they want to achieve.
We have a passion for good ideas (big and small), for expertise and for helping each other out. We value innovation and we demand rigour. We are entrepreneurial and agile.
Awards and Market Recognition
Urbis has won many major state and national awards across all areas of its expertise – in planning and master planning, urban design and landscape architecture, property and retail, policy evaluation and research, and parks and leisure.
We prize excellence and work at the cutting edge in everything we do. The awards aren’t the reason we do our work, but they show what can happen when talented and creative people work together to help their clients shape great spaces and places, wise policies and strategies, and vibrant communities and cities that improve the lives of all Australians.
Property Council of Australia (PCA) WA Future Leaders Awards: Tim Dawkins - Stan Perron Award (2016)
Urban Land Institute (ULI) QLD Urban Innovation Ideas Competition: Nicholas Stevenson, 'The City Stitch' - Overall Winner & People's Prize (2016)
Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) NSW State Awards for Planning Excellence: Quay Quarter - Best Planning Idea - Large Project Award (2016)
Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) NSW State Awards for Planning Excellence: Penrith Late Night Economy - Commendation, Public Engagement and Community Planning Award (2016)
Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) NSW State Awards for Planning Excellence: Dean Hosking - Young Planner of the Year (2016)
Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) NSW State Awards for Planning Excellence: Ryan MacIndoe - Commendation, Young Planner of the Year (2016)
Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) WA Awards for Excellence: Karen Wright - Finalist, UDIA/Frasers Property Women in Leadership Award (2016)
Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) WA & National Awards for Excellence: White Gum Valley - Judges Award (2016)
Australian Urban Design Awards: White Gum Valley - Australia Award for Urban Design, Policies, Programs and Concepts - Small Scale (2016)
Australian Urban Design Awards: Cockburn Coast (Shoreline) - Shortlisted for Australia Award for Urban Design, Policies, Programs and Concepts (2016)
Property Council of Australia (PCA) Honorary Life Member: Peter Hyland (2016)
Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) National Awards for Planning Excellence: Gladstone East Shores – Great Place Award (2016)
Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) National Awards for Planning Excellence: White Gum Valley – Best Planning Ideas, Small or Local Project (2016)
Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) National Awards for Planning Excellence: Penny Milton, Greatest Efficiency Overall Program – Student Award (2015)
PIA WA State Awards 2016: Karen Wright – Planner of the Year
PIA WA State Awards 2016: Stewart Doran – Young Planner of the Year
Property Council of Australia (PCA) WA Future Directions Young Achiever Awards: Stewart Doran – Light House Award (2015)
Property Council of Australia (PCA) WA Future Directions Young Achiever Awards: Sean Morrison – Light House Award (2012)
2015 Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA) WA Awards of Excellence: South Perth Foreshore Strategy and Management Plan
2015 QLD Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) Awards: Brisbane City Master Plan
2015 QLD Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) Awards: Brisbane City Council River Edge’s Strategy
2015 QLD Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) Awards: Gladstone East Shores Master plan
2015 Minister’s Town Planning Prize: Penny Milton – Runner-up prize
Annual Impact Measurement Awards 2015: Evaluation of Ability Links NSW – National Winner, Best Impact Measurement by a Government, Corporate or Philanthropic Organisation
VIC Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) Awards 2011: Living Links Master Plan Corridor Identification and Analysis – Planning Award
Australasian Evaluation Society Awards (2011): Evaluation of the Victorian Bushfire Recovery Service – Best Evaluation Study Award
Diversity & Inclusion
The diversity of our people is the key to our creativity – and to our clients’ success.
Urbis is a community in which people of diverse backgrounds are free to be themselves and share views shaped by their identity and values. Ours is an inclusive culture, and we’re proud to be recognised among professional services firms as a champion of workplace diversity.
We encourage diversity not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because diversity is the key to creativity, innovation and quality of thought.
An inclusive workplace is one where differences – of gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical ability, lifestyle and religious belief – are valued, respected and supported. We encourage diversity not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because diversity is the key to creativity, innovation and quality of thought.
Our Diversity Board, which reports to the Urbis Board, drives our progress in diversity. This includes overseeing programs such as SOAR, which promotes the advancement of senior women in the firm.
Urbis has worked with Indigenous communities for many years on matters such as land-use planning, health, education and economic development.
A critical part of Urbis’s commitment to diversity is our Reconciliation Action Plan (2016–18), developed by an Urbis RAP working group and led by Yorta Yorta consultant Karen Milward. The RAP received approval from Reconciliation Australia in 2015.
Urbis has worked with Indigenous communities for many years on matters such as land-use planning, health, education and economic development. We recognise reconciliation as vital to Australia’s national wellbeing; we acknowledge the care Indigenous people took of the land for millennia; and we respect Indigenous ways of seeing, which are grounded in place, community and kinship.
Urbis’s Reconciliation Action Plan commits us to steps and targets aimed at improving our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their opportunities within Urbis. We report each year to Reconciliation Australia on our progress.
Helping others is at the heart of what we do.
We strive to create places that improve the lives of the people who use them. But we know we can always do more to support those who aren’t directly touched by our day-to-day work, which is why we participate in various charities and sponsorship programs.
Each May, Urbis raises money for Cancer Council by participating in Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea. Staff members throughout our Australian offices bake up a storm or volunteer to help host an event, then gather together to raise money for this worthy cause.
Urbis also supports the Property Industry Foundation, which brings together Australia’s property and construction industry to support community programs that help young people at risk. We sponsor the foundation at the national level, and our people attend many events, including charity sailing challenges in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Leadership and Governance Team
The leaders of our firm share responsibility for the welfare of our people and the quality of our work.
They are accountable for how well we serve our clients, the community and the environment; for guiding our strategic direction; and for making sure our work embodies our values and fulfils our mission. They make sure we meet our ethical and legal obligations.
The Urbis leadership team, responsible for our governance, includes:
Our Board is made up of our Managing Partner, two independent directors, four Executive Directors, and our CEO who is an officer of the Board.
To help the Management Team and Board govern Urbis, we delegate oversight of key policy areas and operations to the following groups:
Drawing on the insights of our people across the firm, the leadership team as a whole ensures Urbis delivers what it promises to its clients; encourages the sharing of knowledge between our many areas of expertise; promotes creativity and fresh thinking; and makes sure we have the right people and enough capacity to meet the changing needs of our clients and the cities and communities we seek, with them, to shape.