Urban Leaders Boardroom Lunch Series

The Urban Leaders Boardroom Lunch Series generates high-level discussion on four critical topics affecting cities and communities across Australia, with significant decision-makers in government, industry and academia.


National and international speakers share their insights from extensive research in the field and facilitate conversation between attendees.

This series is designed for senior-level management at the officer and/or elected level. Please register your interest here if you would like to attend.  Attendance is by invitation only.

Stay tuned for the 2020 series program. 

This Series is proudly supported by

Positive Investment Enterprise.

Urban Leaders Boardroom Lunch Series 2019

Thursday 18 April 2019 12:00 - 2:00

City, Governance and Planning

Special guest, Nick Kaldas, author of the Kaldas Review of Governance of Decision Making in The NSW System.

The breadth and complexity of planning requirements, the introduction of mandatory Independent Hearing & Assessment Panels, infrastructure contributions; understanding and working within the NSW planning system can be daunting.  The recently released Review of Governance of Decision Making in The NSW System is a useful overview and report on the system and how it can be improved.

 26 September 2019 12:00 - 2:00

Built-In Mental Wellness

Completed: Read more here

Expert guest: Lucinda Brogden AM Chair, National Mental Health Commission. Lucinda takes an evidenced-
based approach to problem solving and social investment. 
 Her primary areas of focus are mental health and wellbeing, particularly in the workplace and the community.


The physical and social environments of urban life can contribute both positively and negatively to mental health and wellbeing.  Good mental health is essential not just for our personal wellbeing, but also to achieve resilient, sustainable cities.  Urban design can help promote good mental health, help prevent mental illness, and help support people with mental health problems. 

Thursday 20 June 2019  12:00 - 2:00

Hot in The City : Heat Mitigation & Open Spaces


Expert guests: Dr Sebastian Pfautsch, Senior Researcher in Urban Ecosystem Science at Western Sydney University, who develops applied science projects that allow government and industry to optimize strategies and practices to mitigate urban heat and ’future-proof’ our cities. 


Fiona Morrison, Commissioner, Open Spaces & Parklands, leading more than $160 million State Government Open Space and Greening Sydney Programs.  This includes developing the Everyone Can Play in NSW inclusive play guidelines and launching the 5 Million Trees of Greater Sydney program.

Built up areas have a greater capacity to absorb, hold and emit the sun’s heat compared to rural areas, often boosting the ambient temperature by several degrees.  What effect does this have on our citizens and what is the role of open space in addressing heat mitigation in our cities.

Tuesday 3 December 2019 12:00 - 2:00

City Reflections

Completed, Read more here. 

Special Guests: Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of Committee for Sydney. At the helm of Committee for Sydney since earlier this year, Gabriel is spearheading the Committee’s aim of enhancing the economic, social, cultural and environmental conditions that make Sydney a competitive, resilient and liveable global city.

Professor Robyn Dowling focuses on the ways in which urban governance and urban life are responding to climate change and technological disruptions. Robyn is well known for her work on social and cultural geographies of cities, and in particular suburban homes, neighbourhoods and lives. 


Professor Heather MacDonald is a planning academic and Head of the School of Built Environment at UTS. Professor MacDonald’s research career has focused on the question, “How can urban policy advance social equity?”. Much of Professor MacDonald’s research has focused on affordable housing policy as she works to improve cities. 

At our final Urban Leaders Boardroom Lunch for 2019, we reflected on how cities are evolving throughout the world and the challenges and opportunities global city-trends hold for Sydney. We dove into autonomous mobility, housing equity, transport and heard perspectives from across the Pacific. 

Urban Leaders Boardroom Lunch - 2018 Series

2018   Thursday 5 Apr, 12:00pm-2:00pm

Housing Affordability and Alternative Models​

Completed: Read more here

- Given the critical issue of housing affordability in Australia’s major cities and the recent release of the Teachers Mutual Bank’s report in collaboration with the University of Sydney’s Urban Housing Lab, it is timely to continue discuss alternative models for supporting key workers in our cities.


- With expert speakers Jason Twill, Innovation Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer, Department of Design, Architecture and Building at UTS and Catherine Gilbert, University of Sydney, planning policy and housing market research.

2018   Thursday 14 Jun, 12:00pm-2:00pm 

Future of Transport and Local Communities

Completed:  Read more here

- The future of public and private transport is changing rapidly. The advent of ridesharing services, the introduction of demand-responsive services and the emergence of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) signal important shifts in patterns of mobility between and within our cities. Opportunities for more efficient and agile service delivery using big data are significant while accessibility options are increasing. New transport options can unlock areas of economic and social activity. Transport for NSW’s Draft 2056 Future Transport Strategy, released last year, reiterated these changes. What they mean for our local communities and the role local governments play requires critical considerations.

- With expert speakers Dr Natalie Pelham (TfNSW) and Kerryn Wilmot (UTS).

2018  Thursday 2 Aug, 12:00pm-2:00pm

Smart Cities - Smart Councils

Completed: Read more here

- Smart city initiatives are appearing in communities, towns and cities across Australia. The Federal Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program has elevated the conversation to a national level, recently allocating $50 million to local governments and organisations to support the delivery of innovative smart city projects. Key to their success will be the collaborative models they develop to bring citizens, industry, academic institutions and Councils together.


- From Los Angeles to Arhaus to Amsterdam, leading smart cites around the world have worked hard to build consensus within their organisations, and externally with the broader community on the opportunities digital technology provides to improve citizens’ quality of life. With the second round of Federal funding closed, it is timely to bring together senior level stakeholders in local government with a smart cities expert to discuss how local governments can meaningfully contribute to creating, governing and sustaining a smart city.

2018 Thursday 29 Nov, 12:00pm-2:00pm 

Promoting Health and Innovation in our Cities

Completed: Read more here

- The way we plan and manage urban environments influences our physical health in significant ways. Recent research on the impact of cities on mental health has expanded the mandate of urban leaders in designing and planning cities that bring together rather than isolate vulnerable populations, as well as encourage active and healthy lifestyles. Health precincts are also undergoing changes - in the way we conceive their layout and contribution to a city’s economy and social fabric. 


- With expert speakers Dr Jennifer Kent, USyd, and Christopher Kommatas, Health Roundtable.

  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • LinkedIn - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle
  • Flickr Social Icon

Level 23, 45 Clarence Street

Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia

d3470ec8ca26475da4b228f0199b5d3d copy co
twitter copy.png
linkedin copy copy.png
6501cbfcdbad4169aaf2cfadf0be2f31 copy co