Gold Coast, 26-28 March 2019


2019 Speakers

Saul Eslake

Economist, Corinna Economic Advisory

When it comes to the outlook of the Australian market we thought we better call Saul, one of the country’s foremost independent economists. His quarter of a century working in financial markets, including 14 years as ANZ Bank’s Chief Economist, means he has an enviable knowledge of economic conditions as well as monetary and fiscal policy. Saul is going to set us off on the right foot for the opening of the UDIA National Congress for 2019, setting the scene the development industry can expect to operate within over the coming year.


Richard Florida

Urbanist and Founder of the Creative Class


Richard has been labelled the “rockstar of regeneration” and built a business off his blueprint for urban creativity that has influenced placemakers for the past 15 years via his best-selling book, The Rise of the Creative Class. His theory was that cities should embrace technology, talent, and tolerance to attract creative workers who would ultimately spark urban regeneration. His placemaking theories have received international attention and MIT named him the world’s Most Influential Thought Leader in 2013. He has since published The New Urban Crisis, which explores how cities are being increasingly unequal and more segregated. Richard is currently serving as University Professor and Director of Cities at the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, a Distinguished Fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, and a Visiting Fellow at Florida International University.


Gea Sijpkes

CEO, Humanitas Deventer

Gea is at the helm of a ground-breaking Dutch healthcare model promoting intergenerational living that is changing the way people think about community design. Humanitas provides rent free accommodation to students in exchange for time spent with its senior residents. The project started as an experiment born from Gea’s idea to invite a student to live at the aged care home. Like many economies, Australia is grappling with housing an ageing population and it’s a part of the housing sector that is crying out for innovation. Gea has delivered a solution to both rising aged care and student housing costs that could work in any country and has already been replicated in the US and France.

Joel Kotkin

Described by the New York Times as “America’s uber-geographer,” Joel Kotkin is an internationally-recognised authority on global, economic, political, and social trends. Over the past decade, Joel has completed studies focusing on several major cities, including a worldwide Legatum study focusing on the future of London, Mumbai and Mexico City; as well as other studies of New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Houston and St. Louis, among others.

Stephen Scheeler

The Digital CEO

Former Facebook CEO for Australia and New Zealand, Stephen Scheeler led the social network’s unprecedented rise from quirky Silicon Valley start-up to media and technology titan. He helped guide Facebook through one of the most dynamic periods of growth and disruption in recent business history.

Stephen believes Australian business is falling behind in the race to capitalise on the digital opportunity. Founder of The Digital CEO, Stephen is helping businesses survive and thrive in the 21st century, and leaders become purpose-fit for the digital age.

As the oldest person hired by Facebook at 47, he has a unique perspective of working at a digital giant powered by a millennial workforce. The Digital CEO has worked with big brands like Google, Qantas, Suncorp, nab, Westpac, AMP, Wesfarmers, and Seven West Media.


Debbie Jackson

Assistant Director of Regeneration and Economic Development, Greater London Authority

The team plays a key role in delivering the London Mayor’s Good Growth agenda through innovative programs for social and physical infrastructure, skill base, and civic economy.  These in turn act as catalysts for London’s continued growth and as exemplars for regeneration practice across the capital.

Across Debbie’s programs she is responsible for a budget of over £400 million delivering cross cutting outcomes relating to high streets, infrastructure, workspace, cultural, education, business and regeneration projects.

Debbie has worked in London’s public sector – formerly Westminster and Lambeth local authorities and the London Development Agency – for 20 years and in Regeneration for 15 years.

Chris Key

Managing Director, Greystar – Asia Pacific

The Australian boss of the US build-to-rent giant Greystar is locked in to share insights from their success delivering this housing model. Appointed in 2017, Chris has been entrusted to build Greystar’s rental housing strategy in the region. He has almost a decade of experience in real estate funds management and investment banking and was previously JLL’s head of corporate finance for Asia Pacific. Established in 1993 in the US, Greystar has since become the largest property management company on American soil and launched in multiple overseas markets.


Claire Madden

Social researcher and Demographer, Hello Clarity

Claire Madden is an expert on the psyches of Generations Z and Alpha who are going to be the catalyst for change in many industries, including the development sector. The children and teenagers of today are the homebuyers of tomorrow and Claire has an expert handle on what these shifting demographics mean for the economy. An author, TedX speaker, and media commentator, Claire is a triple threat when it comes to sharing insights with business leaders on how to engage post-millennials. Big brands like the Commonwealth Bank, NBN Co, ABC, IGA, Holcim, and PEXA are trusting Claire to advise them on future generations.


Ben Provan

CEO and Co-Founder, Open Door

Ben is a 30-something entrepreneur running a US co-living company that is working to make this housing model mainstream. Co-living is an alternative to traditional home ownership that Ben believes is more than random roommates coming together and instead building communities of like-minded young people. OpenDoor is part of one of the start-ups redefining real estate as a service model to meet the demand for group housing among the 20 and 30-somethings. This demographic is seeking a place to call home that aligns with their desires for shared space, social interaction, and the best creature comforts their combined buying power can get them like housekeeping and outsourcing grocery shopping.


Colin Keane

Director, Research4

Australia’s residential greenfield market expert Colin Keane will present the UDIA’s National State of the Land report. Research4’s national survey is the country’s longest running audit of greenfield land estates delivered by 850 land developers across 44 new land markets. Research4’s surveys are used by industry, government, and financial sectors to provide a real-time insight into land supply across the nation.

Darren Cooper

National President, Urban Development Institute of Australia

Appointed National President of the Urban Development Institute of Australia in November 2017, Darren is an active Director and Board Member across the development industry and beyond.

Susan Pinker


Psychologist and award-winning author Susan Pinked is a seasoned observer of modern communication and social contact.

In her latest book, The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter, is about the impact of face-to-face contact on health, lifespan, education, romance, and business.

Barrie Barton

Right Angle Studio

Barrie Barton advises developers and governments on what city dwellers will need in the future and how property can be future-proofed to meet their needs.

Michael Marks

Chairman and Co-Founder, Katerra (USA)

Michael is leading a Silicon Valley start-up on a mission to revolutionise the way buildings are constructed and redefining the multi-trillion-dollar US construction industry along the way. Founded in 2015, Katerra is a one-stop-shop for buildings from architectural design through to construction, obtaining materials and creating components out of its US factory in Phoenix. The aim is to break new ground in an industry that hasn’t seen large scale innovation in decades by leveraging technology and taking a systems approach to building delivery. Michael is a past CEO of Flextronics and was interim CEO of Tesla Motors and has been described as a visionary by many in the supply chain industry.

More speakers to be revealed

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