City Makers Guild

The City Makers' Guild

Alternative development models and inclusive city making

Advocating for equitable, inclusive and sustainable cities
Supporting citizen and community-led development models
Providing a platform for collaborative city making
Encouraging real conversations about proactive change
Learning from the world’s best cities - places that have to be seen, felt and lived

The City Makers’ Guild is a collective of passionate urbanists who view development as a craft, not a commodity. Established in Sydney, Australia, the City Makers’ Guild is an international organisation sharing a common purpose in calling for more equitable, meaningful and sustainable cities. Our purpose is to provide a robust platform for more collaborative, cutting-edge and intelligent city making. We’re calling out what must change and challenging old, broken models. We’re going beyond the talk and engaging in real conversation about the future of cities, in the places that are leading the way. We represent small business owners, artists, community groups, workers, ethical investors and social entrepreneurs who believe there’s a better way for us all to shape the future of our cities. We’re part education, part advocacy, and all for more inclusive and human-scale cities across the globe. 



Collaborative Urbanism

Today, we are living in the ‘urban age’. It is also a reality that we are firmly rooted in an age of inequity: our cities are more gentrified than ever before in history. An over reliance on market-led, speculative urban development models is continuing to cause perverse social, cultural, economic and environmental outcomes. The weight and speed of investment capital fuelling our rapacious urban growth is creating tremendous ‘metropolitan pressure’. It is this pressure that continues to displace significant segments of our society from their city of choice: artists, local businesses, key workers, pensioners, young families and indigenous peoples to name but a few. In their place, we are observing ever expanding ‘ghettos of the rich’ and commodified urban landscapes across our global cities.

Cities have much more to lose than just investment and talent if they continue in this way: they will lose their story and identity. If we think of our cities as never-ending novels with new chapters continually being written to shape their story, right now it seems we are losing the plot. The predominance of market- led ‘highest and best use’ urban renewal is creating a sense of ‘urban sameness’ where cities are beginning to lose their uniqueness and brand, in turn impacting their ability to attract and retain the creative people that enhance cultural capital.

In response, innovative civic leaders across the world who have long been attuned to these issues have started to unlock and enable new pathways for urbanisation that are non-speculative in nature. These citizen-led and community-engaged projects are changing the way equitable and inclusive communities can be delivered in our cities, demonstrating how citizen participation is the key component in making cities thrive. This is a new urban story emerging around our world, a story defined by authenticity, a sense of belonging, sharing, and sustainability. It the story of collaborative urbanism.

Collaborative urbanism is defining new pathways for city-making predicated on social resilience, economic practicality, and ecological stewardship. Enabling citizens to shape their own communities and living environments, collaborative urbanism draws on lifestyle trends that emphasise shared access over private ownership, such as the share economy, collaborative consumption, micro-living, co-working, cooperatives, maker movements, and co-living.

Our urban environments should not solely be derived from the unilateral vision of ‘expert’ developers, architects and planners but should include local communities and citizens as well. Collaborative urbanism offers an alternative to market-led development and can serve as a pathway to balance out the negative impacts of gentrification by providing more diverse and affordable ways for people to live, work, learn and play in our cities.

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Collaborative Urbanism in Europe

Berlin, Vienna, Zurich 12th-24th June 2018

If we knew there was a better way to develop cities, for the betterment of all, why wouldn’t we do it? The world’s best cities have broken away from the standard development model and are boldly proposing a new way of city making. It’s time to take insight from those who’re leading the way - and we created a study tour that does just that as our inaugural City Makers’ Guild project.

City Makers' study tours challenge existing models, propose new ideas and inspire change for our own cities.


The inaugural City Makers’ Guild Study Tour: Collaborative Urbanism in Europe was conceived, curated, organised and delivered in June 2018 by Jason Twill of Urban Apostles, Michelle Tabet and Hahna Busch of Left Bank Co., with support from Kristien Ring of A.A. Projects based out of Berlin.

The tour was designed as a rare opportunity for the urbanists, architects, designers and policy makers of Australia and New Zealand to not only explore world leading alternative development models, but to definitively change the conversations we’re having in our own cities. The tour armed some of the most influential and innovative city makers in our local industry with the knowledge to advocate for and deliver better planning, policy and design, transforming the cities around us to become more equitable, sustainable and meaningful. Bringing together wide-ranging expertise, experience and passion for thinking about cities differently, the tour established a much-needed group of homegrown innovators with the collective knowledge and influence to ramp up the urgency around the value and importance of collaborative urbanism.

Highlights of the tour included:

  • Learning from alternative development models that demonstrate sustainability, a sense of community and that establish a unique architectural identity for cities

  • Experiencing a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the workings some of Europe’s most significant alternative development projects

  • Taking insight from direct engagement with Europe’s leading urbanists, developers, owners, architects, financiers and government officials on their successes, challenges and opportunities

  • Absorbing the most progressive and disruptive international ideas across housing, community, social, cultural and public life

  • Enjoying an insider’s view of the internationally renowned MakeCity Festival in Berlin

  • Growing collaborative networks and partnerships with other industry and academic professionals in the sector.



See more at @auscitymakers #citymakers #collaborativeurbanism





If you would like to hear more about Collaborative Urbanism and explore the insights gathered from previous study tours, please contact us to arrange an in-house presentation.

We are able to tailor our presentation and insights to your requirements, whether needed for inspiration, a much-needed mindset shift, training and education or as a conference keynote.


We invite professionals in both the public and the private sector, working across planning, development, design, policy, and urban advocacy, who have a genuine interest in establishing, supporting and delivering alternative models of development to join us on future Study Tours.

The next tour is currently being planned for June 2019. Sign up below to register your interest in future tours.




Ready to see for yourself what the world’s best cities have to share? 

There’s a better way for us all to shape the future of our cities
– and we can’t wait for you to join us.