Professor Sue Holliday

Planning Practice
Urban Policy and Strategy

MPhilT&CPlan (UCL), BAEcon (Goucher College), GAICD, CPP

As a Professor of Practice, I was invited to join UNSW Built Environment because I have senior government experience. My background is Director General of Planning in NSW, and I was National President of the Planning Institute of Australia.
I designed and teach the Master of Urban Policy and Strategy, which aims to encourage students to think deeply about the kind of city they want to create before they start planning it. The degree is a unique offering and has attracted early-mid career students from the World Bank, transportation, state and federal government, to name a few.
Cities must be thought of as an integrated whole, as opposed to their constituent parts, which is a big challenge but also an exciting one. I’m passionate about linking real-world practice with theory and equipping future leaders with the big-picture city management and urban policy skills they need to create equitable cities that improve peoples’ lives.
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+61 412 234 944
+61 2 9385 5613

Sue Holliday is a City Planner and Economist. She is Professor of Planning Practice at UNSW. Sue was the Director General of Planning NSW from 1997 to 2003, where she played a major role in shaping the planning agenda across Australia. In February 2007, she established Strategies for Change. She sits on many government Boards and Committees through which she continues to influence the direction of urban policy in Australia. She is a Director of Hume Community Housing.

Managing Director, Strategies for Change Pty Ltd. 2007- present: Strategies for Change is a boutique strategic consultancy specialising in the Built Environment industry, It provides high level policy advice, the development of urban vision and strategy, organisational reviews, and senior executive mentoring.
Director of City Strategy, DEGW Asia Pacific. 2003-7: At DEGW, she worked with universities and development industry clients to establish strategic briefs for new investment, and coordinated multi client research into the impact of change on cities
Director General, Planning NSW. 1997-2003: Sue directed and lead a complex organisation; provided policy advice to Government Ministers; developed planning system reform agenda; assessed state significant developments; directed regional and metropolitan planning initiatives and major urban renewal projects.
25 years in senior roles in NSW government: 1978-1997

Sue brings years of experience working collaboratively within government. She has a record of achieving complex projects that require the development of strong relationships between agencies and the alignment of outcomes. Examples include Walsh Bay, Pyrmont Ultimo, Sydney Olympics.

Since leaving government she has continued to work in the area of national policy advocacy and has been appointed to government Boards covering issues as diverse as Chair of the Built Environment Industry Innovation council, the National Housing Supply Council, COAG Expert Panel on Metropolitan Planning Systems, and the Advisory Council on the High Speed Rail.
Her role at the University of New South Wales not only gives her an opportunity to teach the next generation of urban thinkers, but also to collaborate with international and local researchers in the urban policy space. In October 2015, she presented her Utzon lecture at UNSW, the Tipping Point,  on the future of cities and the important action required now by governments, particularly in Sydney.

Teaching & Supervision: 

Sue provides guest lectures and will be involved in a new master’s degree in urban policy and strategy.

In the Media
  • Holliday, S. (2015). Big Data Hits The Streets. AFR Weekend.
  • Graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia

Sue runs her own strategic urban consultancy: Strategies for Change. Sue is President of the Building Professionals Board in NSW and chair of the Built Environment Industry Innovation Council. She is a Director of Good Environmental Choice Australia – an eco label organisation. She is a member of the National Housing Supply council, and is also a member of the COAG Expert Panel on Cities.

Conference Papers

Holliday S, 2013, 'KNOWLEDGE PRECINCTS AS A POLICY TOOL FOR URBAN RENEWAL AND CHANGE IN CITIES', in Yigitcanlar T; Bulu M (eds.), PROCEEDINGS OF THE 6TH KNOWLEDGE CITIES WORLD SUMMIT (KCWS 2013), LOOKUS SCIENTIFIC, Istanbul, TURKEY, pp. 667-676, presented at 6th Knowledge Cities World Summit (KCWS), Istanbul, TURKEY, 09 - 12 September 2013,

Loosemore M; Holliday S, 2012, 'Pro-innovation bias in constructionenablers and risks', in Association of Researchers in Construction Management, ARCOM 2012 - Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference, pp. 787-796