About the Academy

Our mission is to recognise, encourage and celebrate great places across the UK, Europe and beyond, and the people and organisations that create and sustain them.

Who we are

The Academy of Urbanism is a politically independent, not-for-profit organisation that brings together both the current and next generation of urban leaders, thinkers and practitioners.

We embrace city management and policy making, academic research and teaching, development planning and design, community leadership and urban change-making, arts and cultural development, infrastructure and engineering, property law and management, politics and media.

Become a Friend, Young Urbanist or an Academician

What we do

We work with places to identify and reinforce their strengths, and help them recognise and overcome obstacles to greater success.

Through our events, activities and programmes we draw out and disseminate examples and lessons of good urbanism. We use the evidence we gather to promote better understanding of how the development and management of the urban realm can provide a better quality of living for all.

More about our programmes


Board of Directors


delano-bart-stewartDelano Bart-Stewart
Communications Executive
stephen-gallagherStephen Gallagher
Director of Communications
linda-gledstoneLinda Gledstone
Director of Operations
zarreen-hadadiZarreen Hadadi
Membership Executive
bright-prydeBright Pryde-Saha
Young Urbanist Co-ordinator

Dogan Behic



Successful urbanism is the result of a collective vision, realised through creative and enduring relationships between the community, government, developers and professionals involved in its design, delivery, governance and maintenance.


The culture or cultures of the people and the ecology of the place must be expressed at a human scale and through both physical and social structures.


The identity, diversity and full potential of the community must be supported spiritually, physically and visually to sustain a sense of collective ownership, belonging and civic pride.


Vibrant streets and spaces, defined by their surrounding buildings and with their own distinct character, should form a coherent interconnected network of places that support social interaction and display a hierarchy of private, commercial and civil functions.


There must be a permeable street network with pedestrian priority that gives maximum freedom of movement and a good choice of means of transport.


Essential activities must be within walking distance and there should be a concentration of activity around meeting places.


Places must provide a diversity of functions, tenure, facilities and services; have a mix of building designs and types; and include a variety of appropriately scaled districts and neighbourhoods.


The social, cultural and economic needs of all inhabitants must be capable of being met without detriment to the quality of the lives of others.


Security should be achieved by organising the urban environment in ways that encourage people to act in a civil and responsible manner.


The pedestrian environment should be closely associated with active frontages at street level and there should be an appropriate intensity of use in all areas at all times.


The design of spaces and buildings should be influenced by their context and seek to enhance local character and heritage whilst simultaneously responding to current-day needs, changes in society and cultural diversity.


The public realm and civil institutions must be supported and protected by sound and inclusive processes that respond to the local community and changing economic and social conditions.


Decision-making for the ongoing development and management of the urban fabric must engage stakeholders and the local community through public participation.


Diverse, accessible, affordable and active villages, towns and cities will encourage successful commercial activity, promote prosperity and support the well being of their inhabitants.


New and existing places must respect, enhance and respond to their local topography, geology and climate and connect to the natural environment within and around them.


Urban parks and other landscaped areas should provide space for recreation, encourage biodiversity and help support a balanced environment.


New urban forms should be capable of adaptation over time to meet changing needs and to promote the continued use of existing resources, including the built environment.


The built environment must seek to minimise the use of carbon-based products, energy and non-renewable resources.


rachel-cooper-web“The Academy of Urbanism is a driving force for bringing together everyone concerned and engaged with spaces and places. The Academy is an inspiring network that influences the future of places and spaces.”

Prof Rachel Cooper OBE AoU, Distinguished Professor of Design Management and Policy, Lancaster University

terry-farrell-web“The influential work of the Academy – up and down the country – is something I have seen as critical to bolstering the importance of urbanism.”

Sir Terry Farrell CBE AoU, Partner, Farrells

debbie-aplin-web“I have been an active member of the Academy since its inception. It appeals to the cross section of the development industry, from architects to conservationists to developers to ecologists to urban planners.”

Debbie Aplin AoU

rosie-2016“The Academy’s Young Urbanist network is a fantastic bringing together of young people who are all passionate about cities.”

Rosie Haslem YU, Director, Spacelab



Ian McMillan © Des Willie

Ian is the the Academy’s poet-in-residence and has produced 150 Great Place poems since 2006 – one for each of the Finalists of The Urbanism Awards. The poems feature in our Space Place Life publications, and together with sketches from our artist-in-residence, bring our Great Places to life. More information


David Rudlin

David took over the residency from David ‘Harry’ Harrison in 2013 and brought a new style to the Academy’s drawings. His work features in Space Place Life alongside the poems of Ian McMillan and the figureground plans produced by a number of our supporter organisations. David Rudlin is also a director of URBED

View Ian and David’s work for the Academy in Space Place Life