EVENT ORGANISED BY: Academy of Urbanism

The Urban Democracy session at the Academy of Urbanism Congress will explore the growing role of community groups and not-for-profits in building or regenerating urban areas. It will draw on experiences from the UK, the US and Australia and debate key issues:

  1.    Growing trend or passing phase – what is the future of community led urbanism?
  2.    Communities as placemakers – how to ensure good quality outcome?
  3.    Professional urbanists – what is our role in the emerging urban democracy?


Sophia de Sousa AoU – Chief Executive, The Glass-House Community Led Design
Jane Jose – CEO, Sydney Community Foundation & Sydney Women’s Fund, Sydney, Australia
Joel Mills – Senior Director, Communities by Design, The American Institute of Architects, Washington DC, USA

The session will be chaired by The Academy of Urbanism’s Director Biljana Savic AoU, who specialises in collaborative urban planning and community led development.

At the Urban Democracy session, Sophia will share stories and reflections of community engagement and leadership in urbanism at various scales and in a variety of contexts. She will explore the role that people have to play in urbanism and in shaping high quality environments, regardless of their profession or background. Sophia will also explore how professionals could work more collaboratively and effectively with local people and organisations to develop a richer and more people-centred approach to urbanism.

How can pressurised world cities evolve over the coming decades and remain both competitive and liveable? Having spent 10 years exploring and celebrating what great places have achieved, we now cast our gaze forwards to anticipate future urbanism, and the accumulated lessons that may be relevant to improving urban space, place and life over the next 10 years. Our Congress will combine insightful talks, a variety of tours and workshops, and keynote presentations providing local and international perspectives on the shaping of future places.

2016 Congress