Transforming Cities in Grand Places for Life – Sharing urban Innovations

Teaming up with colleagues from Vienna Solutions, a network of experienced urban experts from Vienna I work with rapidly growing cities worldwide mastering complex challenges, developing urban transformation strategies and solutions, managing transition processes and delivering successful projects

“Grand cities are places where people live because they want to – not because they have to”.

I love cities. They can be grand places for life, diverse and inclusive. They can be innovative, lively places of myriad opportunities, providing inspiration, education and the chance for everybody to make the most of themselves. Through times cities have been magnets full of promises for prosperity, freedom and “better lives”.

Rapidly growing cities of the 21st century face complex challenges: informal settlements, growing inequalities, physical and social barriers, climate change, extreme heat or other wether phenomena, congestion, air pollution and environmental degradation, lack of green and open spaces.. At the same time limited decision powers, lack of capacity and budget limitations are only some of the governance challenges to overcome in delivering ambitious transformative urban agendas on the basis of the 17 UN SDGs.

Working in teams of local and international experts to develop strategies for systemic change tailored to the specifics of cities is a thrilling and rewarding task – what proves to be the most challenging art is the” How

  • How can policies be transformed into agendas, into step-by-step processes?
  • How can we overcome obstacles and manage risks along the way?
  • How can we ensure quality and measurable success?
  • How can we deliver within time and budget frames?
  • How can we build adequate capacity?

..are only some of the crucial questions cities are confronted in the process of turning plans into reality.

We offer long-term, on-site support: From cooperative strategy and policy design to funding, financing and agenda setting, from innovative governance structures to capacity building and staff training, from process management to quality monitoring, from measuring and reporting to successful project delivery. We are there for the “HOWs“.

Menschen gehen über die neue Fußgängerzone auf der Mariahilferstrasse.

Each city is unique. When working with and for a city there can be not prefixed solutions, no one-size-fits-all recipes. Unique cities require unique approaches. My approach to be best described in this one word:together“.

Together” stands for opening-up & listening, respecting, analyzing & understanding, sharing & inspiring, daring & envisioning, involving & designing, innovating & implementing

Together” stands for a culture of collaboration – it stands for transforming the way we act as part of transforming our urban systems and environments – it stands for the new “how”

Together with our clients

  • we organize collaborative strategy & policy design processes
  • we involve all relevant stakeholders and communities
  • we set-up and steer think-tanks and expert boards
  • we manage light house projects step by step
  • and deliver unique solutions, tailored to the specificsof unique cities.
Maria Vassilakou bei einer öffentlichen Sprechstunde.


  • Affordable Housing
  • Strategic urban development – managing urban growth
  • Smart Design for new Urban Quarters
  • Green Mobility (Strategy and Transition management)
  • Managing urban transitions (Stakeholder Management, Process Design, Risk Management)
  • Community activation and involvement, triggering and managing Co-creative processes
  • Mentoring and Leadership Training (with a special but by no means exclusive focus on young or female urban leaders)


Expertise for the WHAT + Experience in the HOW

Having served as Viennas Vice Mayor I combine both perspectives: technical expertise from the worlds most livable city with a decade of practical experience in implementing strategies and delivering projects within municipal administration.”I have already successfully done what I am talking about”.

What is Viennas secret of success? How did the city make it to the top in all major global livability rankings (Mercer Nr.1 since 2010, Economist Nr.1 2018, 2019). Visit my projects and find out more.

  • Thinking out of the box – Innovating complex systems – Leaving silo-management behind
  • Designing green transformation policies for grand cities
  • Managing transition processes
Baustelle für ein großes Wohnprojekt.


Advisory missions, long-term advising, consultancies, think-tanks, workshops, from strategy to urban agenda & policy, collaborative planning, masterplanning, concept creation, competitions

Baustelle mit Kräne.


Transition management, structural innovation, Stakeholder Management, Agenda Setting, Process Design, Managing urban Projects from Plan to Completion,

Mehrere Menschen an einem langen Tisch.


Strategic Capacity Building, OE, Lectures, Workshops, Classes, Group Training, Gruppen-Moderation, Individual Training, Mentoring, Leadership Training


The Making of Grand Cities

  • Smart, affordable, inclusive cities of opportunities for all – where people live because they want to, not because they have to.
  • Acknowledging Uniqueness: Drawing from local Culture & Creativity
  • Sharing & Involving
  • Focussing on Quality & Equity
Menschen sitzen am Wasser der Donauinsel.


My Credo: “A city that’s good for children is good for us all

Nothing is more fascinating than the dynamics of rapidly growing cities. Yet urban growth is not only challenging – it is the best powerful incentive for urban innovations and the transformation of cities in e grand places for life. Smart, innovative cities taking the lead in global efforts for climate protection and resource efficiency. Green healthy cities offering high life quality. Open and connected cities with freedom of movements and opportunities for all. Inclusive and affordable cities with strong community ties, a culture of involvement and a sense of belonging.

I believe in the power of urban design to create cities and neighborhoods that we love. Focussing on the needs of children when designing the public realm – giving children space to move freely and play, granting them access to nature and water, granting them a safe and healthy environment – all of this is key to successful placemaking. Because what we wish for our children is what we long for ourselves and building a city that’s good for children is building a city that’s good for us all.

Major transitions are often controversial. Envisioning and involving, inspiring and daring, it takes strong leadership and broad shared commitment to transform a city. Ambition is the beginning of everything, and believing in your city. The rest is a matter of dedication, competence and continuous work.

The future of humanity will be decided in cities – it will be a good future. Let’s get it started!

Menschen an der Donau bei Sonnenuntergang.
Mann geht durchs Weinfeld am Nussberg.
Leute picknicken im Park.