Creating better cities by
improving the value of the public realm

About Us

Mike Portrait-sml

Urbacity is an Urban Planning and Centres Consultancy firm.

Its principal Michael Cullen is a centres consultant with over 25 years of urban planning and urban economic analysis experience.

The firm's core view is that centres are essential places of high economic and social transaction and should be culturally rooted in the hearts of the populace.

Urbacity's work is focused on multi-level analysis of the relationships between activities, buildings, public infrastructure, people and communities. A starting point for its work is often economic or market analysis but transitions to evaluating the influence of the quality of the public realm on economic and social performance. 

Michael Cullen's evidence in the Whitford case in the late 1990's was instrumental in the Court formally recognising for the first time in Australia that amenity was influenced by design and that built form has a strong influence over economic performance.

The company considers the role of retail in centres as one catalyst to the delivery of high levels of economic and social performance. Retail is a low value economic activity in centres but if delivered in good buildings, can elevate  a centre's economic and social role. This dual approach to form as well as function has spin off benefits for improved community health and environmental performance but usually requires a change in regulation from a land use focus to a built form focus.      

Presently the company is undertaking research on the link between obesity, centre type (town or village, mall or mall dominated) and supermarkets.  Obesity appears to be correlated to shopping centre and supermarket dominance in a market.                                          

The majority of the company's work seeks to determine the means by which to deliver great cities, towns and villages. Much of this work is managing the expectations of development companies and in establishing the regulatory basis for town centre controls.

The company undertakes walking audits for centres in order to determine whether public realm infrastructure investment can deliver improved economic & social performance as well as increased returns to government and communities.

The company has a strong philosophical thread that underpins its work. The company does not work on projects that do not fit with its philosophies.