Urbana Town Planning: Why Yorkshire is great, explains Adam Murray

Urbana Town Planning is a consultancy based in Sheffield and London - here founder and managing director Adam Murray examines why Yorkshire is great.

I’m going to start with an anecdote about one of my best friends, Annemarie. We met while studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (where the company name comes from).

Born in Chicago, USA, her work has taken her to every major city in the world and has lived in cities such as New York and Vancouver. Annemarie has always loved London and has been thrilled to live in our capital for the past four years, too.

She has also spent a lot of time in the last 20 years visiting Sheffield and travelling around Yorkshire. And, it is during this time that she found ‘home’ and, after months of searching, purchased a property in South West Sheffield.


As cliché as it sounds, she cites the friendliness, trustworthiness and honesty of the people as her deciding factor in the move to Sheffield rather than any of the other cities worldwide she could’ve returned to.

I believe we downplay the importance of friendliness as a character trait of living in Yorkshire. It’s just ‘how it is’. But, if we dig deeper, we find that the approachability of people leads to stronger personal and business connections which ultimately improves our quality of life.

London and many other major cities worldwide can often feel very transient. Perhaps a stepping stone onto something else. It can be a lonely place, especially when the importance of a support system became even more necessary during the lockdowns.

Urbana Town Planning MD Adam MurrayUrbana Town Planning MD Adam Murray
Urbana Town Planning MD Adam Murray

Ever evolving

I’m going to say it – I don’t like the comparisons between Leeds and Sheffield. They are two amazing and very different cities that should be celebrated in their own right.

I have always disliked the notion that Sheffield is a ‘big village’. I think Sheffield has grown up, found its identity and realised it doesn’t need to compete with Leeds. Leeds is an absolute powerhouse and a city that I’m incredibly fond of. And, Sheffield is proud to be named the outdoor city. It’s green, forward thinking and alternative!

Both cities have evolved, without forgetting their history and where they have come from. Yorkshire was built on powerful industries, previously powering the UK economy, and has gone on to reinvent itself with advanced manufacturing, health care and sport at its heart. It’s not easy maintaining that connection between the past, present and future.

City centres

We’re passionate about creating communities that enable cities to thrive. People make cities, especially friendly Yorkshire folk. The more people you have in a city centre, the more vibrant it is.

Our cities have recovered from lockdown restrictions quicker than I think any of us would’ve imagined. Sheffield and Leeds city centres are the cities’ beating hearts, and it is fantastic to see. Other towns and cities across the country now need to take stock and be inspired by what can be achieved.

As the founder and managing director of Urbana, Adam Murray has extensive knowledge of all aspects of the planning system, which has earned him a reputation for integrity and an unrivalled ability to successfully deliver on urban schemes. Adam’s drive ensures the business never stands still, and he is committed to growth, ensuring that Urbana is always the most relevant planning consultancy around.