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Leading contributor to the planning, design and development of liveable cities.


Steven Burgess is a leading contributor to the planning, design and development of liveable cities. Director of Complete Streets Pty Ltd, Steven brings 30 years’ experience as an engineer and urban strategist to his understanding of creating resilient liveable cities. As well as an international speaker and commentator (Australia, NZ, USA, Canada, Middle East, Europe, South America). Steven has worked on many village, town and city transformation projects around the world.

Steven is renowned for being an inspiring speaker who motivates and inspires audiences.

Previous experience:

Steven is the author of ‘Complete Streets - Guidelines to Urban Street Design’ published in 2010, and is a contributor to two other international street making guides (NACTO Global Street Design Guide and Auckland Street Design).

Talking Points

Better Cities

Cities can and should be better. There are ones around the world that get certain aspects right, but rarely are they as happy and healthy as they should be. Our real failing is that we have almost forgot the users or customers. We make Cities about buildings, about transport about Smart Tech, but we have forgotten about making them for people.
Steven will take you on a grand adventure proving some unique insights on why cities are successful, and what you have to do to make your City one of those.

Movement and Place

In our public spaces there are two basic activities that occur. We are either moving, or we are exchanging. Moving is self-explanatory but also includes the associated moving and parking infrastructure. Exchanging is when the magic happens. When people gather, shop, eat, drink, create, play etc. This happens when we create place rather than movement. The reason getting the priorities right between movement and place is that movement costs money and we need exchange places to return money to the community. The world is overloaded with cities and suburbs where, in the pursuit of better movement - our places have been destroyed. We need to re-learn the art of street making and make people out priority.

Seriously - a car park?

So, you need more car parking? I bet you don’t. Cities all over the world do have car parking problems but by and large the problem is you have too many! Way too many! It’s costing you millions. Millions in lost retail, millions in additional traffic snarls and crashes, millions in construction costs - the list goes on. We are ruining our towns and cities with a land use we don’t even need! We do of course need some parking, but find out why it is not a governments responsibility to provide it. Getting on top of your parking issues will open up a whole new world of investment, tourism and local vitality. Less is more important than you think!
Steven Burgess has been a keynote speaker for Walk 21 conferences in Sydney, Calgary and Bogota, and is, without doubt, a dynamic, inspiring speaker. He not only lights up a room, but holds a crowd in awe while he presents ideas with a creative lens that enables broad recognition and understanding. His presentations are well grounded in good practice for street level interventions, while ensuring broader frameworks underpin that practice. Bronwen Thornton, Development Director Walk21

“When Steve Burgess sets foot on the stage, he captivates the audience. In speaking to the function of streets and their preeminent functions in social engagement as well as handling traffic, he distils the essence of his narrative to a clear irrefutable case, whilst simultaneously being able to back-up his argument with technical data. Steve proved himself one of the standout keynote speakers at this year’s Planning Institute of Australia State Conference, evidenced by the follow-up audience interest in having him return to address various agencies.”

Peter Ciemitis, FPIA, Convenor Planning Institute of Australia (WA) Urban Design Chapter

“Steven Burgess has spoken at several Expotrade infrastructure events across Australia, speaking very passionately on the need to reconnect people with the streets outside their own front door. Steven has an ability to get the cogs of thinking to be practically visible in an audience. He is a highly engaging and animated speaker who is able to capture the interest and attention of delegates throughout his presentation. His expertise and knowledge also extends him very well to panel discussions and I would not hesitate to recommend him as a guest speaker.”

Melinda Everett, Conference Producer, Expotrade Australia

“Steven Burgess is an exceptional speaker, fully conversant with the issues concerning his topic, direct and concise in his delivery, easy to listen to, responds to questions well, and while the presentation was delivered with the utmost professionalism, Steven still manages to set the audience at ease with his laidback style.I have no hesitation in recommending Steven as a guest speaker to any industry group, and I look forward to re-engaging him as a presenter to our members in the future.”

Adam Gowlet, Cairns Branch President, Urban Design Institute of Australia (UDIA)

“Steven Burgess was a presenter at the ‘Working Well Together: Putting Partnerships on the Map’ summit held on the Sunshine Coast. Steven was an outstanding speaker on the day with a great combination of engineering knowledge and experience, a realistic and very ‘human’ approach to remind participants of the meaningfulness of streets. This was delivered with an incredibly engaging presentation style that resonated with the whole audience regardless of their qualification or occupation.”

Alison Hamblin, Sport Recreation and Wellbeing Manager, Sunshine Coast Council
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