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Over the past weeks, you may have noticed the freshly-updated Urbanity brand displayed on advertising across our website, email and social media channels.

Behind this brand is a whole new approach to Urbanity — our annual conference for the creators of cities in the Asia-Pacific.

In this article, we’ll explain how and, importantly, why we’ve changed up our approach to this year’s program.



Before speaking, we listened


We launched Urbanity for the first time two years ago. Truth be told, we didn’t really know what we were doing but we knew what we wanted to do.

We were inspired by what we wanted Urbanity to become and we followed our gut-instinct… then went like crazy to make it all happen.

And fortunately, it paid off! We delivered something different and something memorable.

But for our team at The Urban Developer, that’s never good enough.

After two years, we were fortunate enough to have troves of data to analyse and, true to form, we jumped in deep. Three key observations became apparent:

  1. People love being inspired by the personal journey of remarkable people.
  2. People love practical learning through real case studies and idea exchange.
  3. People love trying to understand the forces of change and what the future holds.

Beyond all of this, survey respondents told us they love The Urban Developer’s unique approach to programming and — most importantly — they love having a good time!

We’ve taken this all on board and responded accordingly with our new program theme.



Visionary projects and inspired journeys


The primary theme for this year’s Urbanity conference is built around “visionary projects and inspired journeys”.


So, what does it actually mean?

For us, it means we’re doubling down on the “doers” — the people actually making it happen out there in the industry.

We’re bringing together groups of people that are directly involved in creating and delivering projects — both big and small.

It means convincing people with busy schedules to share their stories of success and failure. It means focusing on what is truly remarkable, not just what is big and bold.

And it means diversity — a cross-section of creators from across the Asia-Pacific region with compelling projects and stories to share.



Forces of change: developing amid disruption


Beyond the inspiration, we’re also focused on identifying the significant forces of change that continue to shape our future.

We have identified six sub-themes that will serve as influences this year. 


In times of rapid change, how can the balancing point between form and function interconnect with the realities of feasibility?

Through interactive case studies, we explore the nature between the competing forces of change in the context of property, design, innovation and technology.

Across the world, attitudes towards consumerism are slowly changing. What role does urban development have to play in this shift towards a more renewable and sustainable future?

Through case studies, we explore the nature of circular development – from renewable energy systems and bio-products to deliberative development and biophilia.

Changing demographics, technologies, consumer behaviour and business models are redefining a new normal in the future.

So what does this new future look like? What are the new fundamentals that will drive property markets? Which sectors will be most exposed?

From the revolution of retail to the new forms of mobility, we will explore the way the world will operate in the future.

Our hyper-connected world is on the cusp of another giant leap forward with the introduction of 5G mobile connectivity, blockchain technology and quantum computing and IOT.

So what does this mean for the way that we create and build the urban environment? How can buildings of the future be designed to both take advantage of these new technologies and be resilient to future changes?

How will people interact with buildings – and each other – in this new hyper-connected world?

Experience is at the heart of the modern world. From consumer products to retail malls, the urban economy is now driven by the need for humans to interact in meaningful ways – the experience economy.

We meet the pioneers creating the experiences that strike through the mundane and ordinary. We learn the tools, techniques and systems that these pioneers are employing to earn customers that yearn for more.

“Alexa, renew my rental lease. Alexa, order me an Uber. Alexa, buy me a ticket to Urbanity.”

Voice-activated technology is just one of many new technologies that will change the way we interact with the built environment.

We draw upon the leading research and technology pioneers to understand the next frontier of technology and what it means for the way we plan, build, live and work.

What’s the point of it all?


When it boils down to it, our whole purpose with Urbanity is to provide a platform to celebrate the people, projects and ideas that are shaping better cities.

By celebrating these things, we are shining a light on who is leading the way, and in doing so, we are helping to identify how the world around us is changing.

In many ways, our cities are struck down with a case of social, public and economic paralysis.

There are so many challenges confronting our world: population growth, economic disparity, inadequate social infrastructure and climate change, just to name a few.

But at the same time, we have immense hope that rapid technological change will dawn a new day for cities and for their creators.

Urbanity wants to be at the centre of this collision of people and ideas. 



Oh, let’s not forget to have fun! 


Finally, it would be plain wrong if Urbanity was stale, old and “conferency”.

Since the start, we’ve made it our mission to learn and connect in a casual, fun and genuine way.

Set on the banks of the Brisbane River at the stunning Howard Smith Wharves, Urbanity is shaping up to be the best experience yet!

We’re organising several social functions that will make the most of the best new (hint!) venues from across the city.

And again, this year’s Urbanity will also coincide with The Urban Developer’s Awards for Industry Excellence — Australasia’s only independent awards for property development.

We are confident this year will be our best year yet! We hope you can join us.


Click here to register your interest and we will notify you of ticket, speaker and programme announcements.