And That’s a Wrap! What We Learnt from Urbanity ’17

We’re struggling to believe it ourselves, but it’s been almost a month since nearly 500 delegates joined us in Brisbane for Urbanity ’17, our conference for the creators and custodians of cities in the Asia Pacific.

First and foremost, we want to thank everyone that contributed to the two-day event. From our fantastic partners and exhibitors, to our presenters and workshop hosts, and most importantly, to our attendees.

It was a huge honour to have you all invested in the start of this Urbanity journey.

So, what did we learn?

1. You are hungry for new ideas... like seriously new ideas!  

The development industry is more than just property developers, consultants, builders, marketers and financiers.

This industry in truly holistic -- from the macro to the micro, big to the small.

And new ideas, creative thinking and pioneering-pioneers are now the currency of our time.

We explored some awesome new concepts, such as deliberative development, circular economy, co-living, design thinking and urban agriculture, that pushed the intellectual paradigm.

Stay tuned as we explore these topics further in the coming months.

2. We Learnt That You Want to Learn

Our sold-out workshops were a great demonstration that knowledge is power.

From the power of marketing automation through to the fundamentals of development finance, it’s become increasingly clear that our audience is hungry for further professional and self-development.

Our audience survey confirmed this with 98%

of delegates learning something new and 90% of delegates feeling that they will apply this new knowledge in their business.

We’re taking this on board and plan to roll-out some world-class education in 2018!

3. The Real Disrupter is Demographics

For all the talk about technology and disruption, an army of experts including Brian Haratsis, Nerida Conisbee and Tim Gurner told us that the real disrupter is demographics.

It’s enlightening to be reminded that the fundamentals of population, employment and demographics are still the most important factors in the urban development eco-system.


Having somewhere to live is important but having somewhere to live that you love is critical. REA Group chief economist, Nerida Conisbee.

4. Passion for the Problem is the Common Element that Binds Success

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a designer, developer or digital disruptor, we were struck by how obvious it became that passion was the common thread that wound its way through successful CityShapers.  

We have never masked our passion for this industry, and we’re encouraged by this realisation. Thank you all for reminding us.

We will be doubling down on what we’re passionate about and continuing to share this with our community. 


“I'm passionate about waste, I don’t understand why we generate it in the first place.” Eco-warrior Joost Bakker delivering his keynote on zero-waste urban agriculture.

5. All Opinions Are Born Equal  

We have no doubt a few eyebrows were raised at the idea of a local Greens councillor participating in a debate entitled "YIMBY vs NIMBY".


“I grew up in northside suburbia to a soundtrack of lawn mowers and lonely dogs and I was always troubled by Australia’s addiction to uninspiring urban sprawl. I moved to the city because I saw the value of more dense walkable neighbourhoods where the streets were lively and vibrant.” - Brisbane local Greens councillor, Jonathan Sri.

But we commend Jonathan Sri on an excellent, well-articulated counter-argument to what is an important social issue: the pace of development in our communities and the rate of growing social inequality.

Whilst we may not always agree, we feel there’s always room on our stage for diverse opinions and we will respect them accordingly.

6. No Matter How Well You Plan, You Can’t Plan For Everything.

Let’s be honest here. Our brilliant idea for "The Roast Lunch" -- a casual roasting of maverick Federal Queensland MP Bob Katter by the Betoota Advocate guys -- was a train wreck!

But, at least it was memorable, and kicked everyone into gear for what was a brilliant afternoon. The jury is out on whether to do this again in 2018!

7. Community is at the Heart of Everything.

We cannot stress this enough. It’s so easy for us to talk about the industry, but when it boils down to it, our ultimate obligation as an industry is to our communities.

We’re committed to bridging the divide between the industry and the community, and Urbanity*17 was a brilliant reminder that there’s plenty of punters out there that agree.

We’re unapologetic about the fact that the community comes before the industry, and we intend to be the platform that can connect the two in a meaningful way.

8. We Should Back Ourselves!

No sugar coating here.

When we decided to launch Urbanity ’17, we were nervous at the prospect of putting on such a major event. 

It was a big punt, a gamble, a "put it all on the line" kinda decision. But it worked!

We were encouraged by the support of our partners, by the enthusiasm of our speakers to contribute to the conversation, by the speed of ticket registrations and, most importantly, by the energy of the people in the room.

So thank you all for giving us the confidence to push forward with our vision to connect, inform and inspire.

Your support has accelerated us on our mission to build a global media, events and education network for the urban development community.

To be informed about Urbanity 2018, please register here.

Adam Di Marco


Adam Di Marco is the founder and publisher of The Urban Developer. He is also the managing director of Di Marco Group, a Brisbane-based boutique property development business and executive chairman of CityShape, a disruptive big-data start-up for the property industry.

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Article originally posted at: https://theurbandeveloper.com/articles/thats-wrap-learnt-urbanity-17