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About Us

Urban Design Forum Incorporated is a not-for-profit initiative formed with the following statement of purpose:

  • To encourage the better design of our cities and towns and regions
  • To provide a forum where ideas and comment about urban design can be expressed
  • To produce, publish and distribute a regular publication
  • To be involved in other activities which contribute to the above purposes
  • To co-operate and liase with any individuals or groups who have compatible purposes with the above.


Urban Design Forum (UDF) began in Melbourne in 1986 as a network of enthusiastic and creative people committed to making a significant contribution to improving the functioning and quality of our cities and towns. Its intentions were to be: inclusive, dynamic and influential and non-institutional. Its people (it does not have formal membership) include professionals from a wide range of disciplines, and others interested in the aims of the group. UDF became an incorporated entity in 1989. Since that time, the network has spread across Australia, with linkages to similar groups in New Zealand and other places.

Since 1987, UDF has produced a quarterly publication, called Urban Design Forum, which is distributed free throughout Australia to members of the Planning Institute of Australia and the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, and a diverse list of people and organisations in Australia, New Zealand and other countries. Current circulation is 7,800 copies. By the end of 2006, UDF had produced and circulated 76 editions.

The publication can also be read at www.udf.org.au , a complementary website designed to be dynamic and continually developed. The website’s features include: Up-to-date information – on urban design events and activities across Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. Register of Urban Design practices and employment advertisements – for a modest sum you can bring your work to the notice of a wide readership, and you can advertise for staff – and you can seek employment here. Current and past editions of the quarterly Urban Design Forum printed version. Links to a range of related and interesting sites. UDF initiates and auspices seminars and conferences in cooperation with a range of government and other organisations. They illustrate the diversity of interests in the UDF network. UDF supports state groups in organising a National Urban Design Forum, now held each year The format for the National Urban Design Forums has proven very successful. They focus on attracting a relatively small number of creative and committed people from across Australia to a very interesting locations (rather than the traditional ‘blockbuster’ professional conferences in capital cities only), with the themes focusing on innovative thinking and high quality urban design practice. The national conferences, with diverse themes, have been: 1992 Liveability and the suburbs (Broken Hill) 1993 Design as image (North Head Quarantine Station, Sydney) 1994 Resurgence of the City (Rottnest Island, Perth) 1994 Breaking the boundaries – collaborative practice and urban design (Adelaide/Second Valley) 1997 Sustainability stocktake (Canberra) 1998 Night Light (Adelaide) 1999 Design Bridge (Melbourne/Geelong) 2000 Making Good Places (Brisbane) 2001 Newcastle Inspires! (Newcastle) 2002 What is the future of Urban Design in Australia? (Train to Broken Hill, and back) 2005 How do you do urban design best? (Melbourne and Geelong) 2006 Brisbane as a UD case study(Brisbane)

UDF is a strong supporter of the Australia Awards for Urban Design Excellence which were established in 1996 by Paul Keating when he was Prime Minister of Australia. They are now auspiced by the Planning Institute of Australia, the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, and the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects.


UDF is primarily a network, rather than an organisation. It energy and its strength is founded on its volunteers. In Melbourne, UDF people have met together ‘for lunch’ monthly since 1986 to discuss professional issues, support individual urban designers in their everyday endeavours, assist in planning for the quarterly publication and website, and other activities. Similar informally organised groups of people exist in most other states, where activities vary depending on interest and circumstances.

The primary coordination and linkage for UDF is through Bill Chandler (one of the original founders, Public Officer and Editor), and Bruce Echberg ( Honorary Treasurer and Secretary). However, the success of UDF lies in the efforts of many people who give and obtain nurture through the organisation.

Since incorporation, UDF has submitted regular “Statements of Annual General Meeting” as required under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981. UDF has achieved tax exempt status under section 23(e) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, as amended.

Financial Structure

The Urban Design Forum publication and website is currently supported through regular sponsorship by the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Department Sustainability and Environment. Other sponsors have included: Australia Council, Commonwealth Department of Housing & Regional Development, Becton Corporation Pty Ltd, Ballieu Knight & Frank Pty Ltd, Thompson Adsett & Partners, City Image Conference Committee, City of Sydney, Queensland Government Department of Business, Small Business & Industry, Craft Council of South Australia, the Commonwealth Department of Transport & Regional Development, and contributions by private individuals. UDF acknowledges sponsors in specific issues in the Forum, but does not offer advertising. Sponsors are encouraged to contribute to the publication with relevant material on urban design activity within their organisation.

Individual subscriptions are available to people and organisations worldwide, at a cost of $AUS36 per annum. (This service is currently kept to a minimum because of the administration involved). UDF currently operates with an annual budget of approximately $18,000. The National Forums are self-funding – through attendance fees and sponsorship. UDF has no equipment or other assets. No-one receives payment for time expended in producing the publication except for standard commercial services such as printing, web site maintenance and distribution services.

For further information, contact: Bruce Echberg, Honorary Treasurer/Secretary, Urban Design Forum, c/o Urban Initiatives Pty Ltd 143 Franklin Street, Melbourne Victoria, 3000 Australia, or email [email protected]