Urbana Town Planning working to build a better future

Urbana founder Adam Murray: Why I'd rather call myself an urbanist than a planner

Building a better future starts here
Building a better future starts here

I'm a town planner in private consultancy, but I'd rather call myself an urbanist – I'm involved in this industry because I love cities and the built environment, and love working on proposals that make them a better place to be.

Frustrated with some outdated approaches to planning, I founded Urbana in early 2019 to show clients a better way of doing things when it comes to design, community, and the environment.

Fast forward two years, and we've got offices in Sheffield and London and are working on schemes nationwide. We set ourselves apart from other planners by not always falling back on cost and simple policy approaches, but instead working out clever solutions that include improved details and design, which will make a huge difference to the final development proposal, without costing the earth.

The world of tomorrow is being created every day by people working to find ways to make our environment work for us

Committed to the green agenda, we look to reduce the amount of car parking in new development by showing more flexible options to sustainable travel and educating clients around the commercial incentive of this approach.

At the heart of who we are is our culture and values – people, passion, pride, and inclusivity. Friendships first, always. In all areas of our work, and across all levels of understanding, relationships and people are the cornerstone of our business. More than any single building or place, it is people who make cities, cities.

We're passionate about the built environment – it's why I'm writing this today. It's vital for us to feel pride in our vision and projects to ensure they’re the best that they can be. And finally, giving a voice to everyone, both internally and externally, shapes our overall identity.

We're celebrating our third hire in less than six months, and I was chuffed to promote Charles Dunn to director – someone who lives and breathes the business's values. He is responsible for managing and guiding the expanding team in our Sheffield office. It's really important Charles and I continue taking an active role in the day-to-day running of the business, as we both love what we do.

A big part of our growth has been securing the right people. We have recruited based on how aligned applicants are with the values and culture of Urbana, rather than for specific roles. In terms of who works on which project, we try to ensure people are involved in the projects they find most exciting, as this is how we can make sure we always give 100% and have the maximum positive impact on new developments.

Someone recently asked one of our new hires, Chloe Parmenter, what she liked about working at Urbana . She said: "They trust your opinion. You're constantly throwing ideas around with the director and MD of the company. We all get an equal say, and it's exciting!"

For me as founder, there is no better feedback to hear!

We're now pushing ahead to our next phase of growth and taking advantage of the easing of restrictions to meet with our existing clients and friends, as well as networking with prospective clients and future urbanists – just like us.

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.