Speaker Profile

Emma McInnes

Emma McInnes

Chairperson and Urban Planner

Women in Urbanism Aotearoa and The Urban Advisory

Emma is the chair and co-founder of Women in Urbanism Aotearoa, and an Urban Designer at The Urban Advisory.

She was born on a beef farm, north east of Whāngārei, close to Whananāki. Emma had a classic rural upbringing, learning to cycle in hay paddocks at a young age.

Emma’s advocacy life started in her early 20s, volunteering with the climate change solutions focused ground, Generation Zero. Her highlights were campaigning for protected cycle lanes on Karangahape Road, winning the battle for Auckland to build the “Skypath” and being labeled as one of those “meddling kids” by several Auckland councilors.

Emma is passionate about bicycles and has for a long time campaigned to bring more protected bike lanes to Aotearoa. Where protected bike lanes don’t exist, less women and children cycle than men. Transport choice is a feminist issue.

Most recently, she started Women in Urbanism Aotearoa with a few colleagues. After working at a transport consultancy, she’d seen the way that the lack of diversity and representation across the urban industries (architecture, planning, urban design, transport planning, politics etc) had a very real impact on the lives of women, and the rest of the voiceless majority in our cities.

Cities have enormous potential, but only when they work for everyone. Emma and her colleagues decided to found WiU to bring a much needed alternative voice into the male-dominated space of city building.