The drivers behind changing cities are increasingly social, with the voices of women pushing to be heard. Social networks, peer to peer and anonymous sharing, the rise of good business, behavioural economics, emotional intelligence, collaborations between unlikely partners (big business and small producers), being disruptive, less corporate, 'DIY' and spontaneity play a large part in challenging conventional city shaping. As social, sharing and inquisitive beings, women seem to naturally operate more in this way.
Urbanistas was started in recognition of women’s capacity to network and share. This being a positive thing, we decided to leverage off our eagerness for our voices to be heard, and create a group that seeks to elevate women passionate about their cities. From the first meet in London, Urbanistas has expanded to a network across land and sea, with chapters in the UK and Australia. The group's goal is to help grow female presence and leadership in the built environment, and encourage women to engage in initiatives that seek positive social benefits for cities and the people that live there.
Who are we … Urbanistas is a women-led network that crowdsources support and expertise to deliver projects and positive actions. We are passionate about growing women’s leadership and capacity, to start and grow their own ideas that help create places and experiences that work better for everyone. At heart, Urbanistas is a group of disruptive and collaborative women whose approach to social innovation is based on the value of everyday urban life and experience. We thrive on the comfortable chaos of cities and their complex social and physical networks.
Urbanistas come from a range of interests and disciplines. We are place makers, geographers, strategists, social entrepreneurs, youth workers, planners, urban designers, architects, policy wonks, transport planners, teachers, communication specialists, sustainability specialists, energy and efficiency experts, artists, curators, community builders, engagement specialists, academics, trainers, economists, writers, program managers and project managers.
Why Urbanistas… Despite there being an abundance of amazing women doing great things in each of our cities we are still largely underrepresented - as leaders, as innovators , as voices and as role models. Urbanistas Sydney brings women together to share ideas and activities to realise what they are capable of, have a collective voice and bring about positive change in our city, local places and communities. We believe that it is critical for women to have a free space of their own for ideas to grow their own legs and take their own shape. We believe that it’s not enough to ‘network’; we want to inspire and empower women to act.
What we do… We create a dedicated space for women to raise and tackle things that blend our personal interests and professional skills/expertise. We encourage you to try out ideas and provide a platform for you to ask for what you need to take it forward. We will collaborate to help you take it where it needs to go - and maybe beyond. This enables you to find what you need, whether it’s a contact, moral support, feedback, or technical advice. That way we can always be involved in things that are interesting to us individually and as a group. We can help, where most relevant, make your idea happen where it’s not been able to before.
What makes us different… Urbanistas harnesses the power of our networks to deliver the kinds of projects we’ve always wanted to, but been held back either by time, not knowing how to start, personal confidence or organisational timidity. Our motto is “start by starting” and is about not having to wait until your idea is perfect, fully formed, boxes all ticked and given permission for – sometimes you just need to do one tiny thing or something to get you going. We help give you that boost and an opportunity to ask for help. Other professional networks for women exist, but usually these networks are job or sector-specific limiting the diversity of interests, ideas, skills and expertise. Urbanistas aims to fill this ‘gap’ and bring together many women from varied disciplines to discuss debate and generally disrupt conventional thinking. We encourage women to draw on their personal and professional experiences to positively influence new ways of thinking and doing.
How do we do it… We want to bring women (and men - our UrbanMistas) together to create projects that wouldn’t have happened otherwise; to share intelligence, information and a laugh; to inspire and empower women to affect positive change.
What is an Urbanista?
ur-ban-is-ta – n.
...Of, relating to, or located in a city
...Characteristic of the city or urban like
...Network for collaborative and sharing approach to work
...Collective for furthering urban & social innovation through arts, business, design, policy, community building
...Women that share a passion and drive for positive social, urban, local and creative change