Leanne Hodyl

Managing Director

Masters of Urban Design // Graduate Diploma of Arts (Social Theory) // Bachelor of Science (Architecture) // Senior Industry Fellow RMIT

Hodyl + Co is led by Leanne Hodyl, a recognised leader in urban design and strategic planning, with 20 years experience in consultancy and government. Leanne’s qualifications and experience in urban design, architecture, strategic planning and social theory means that Hodyl + Co is uniquely positioned to provide integrated, creative and considered advice which is informed by an holistic understanding of how cities work.

Why did you start Hodyl + Co?

I wanted the freedom to have a stronger voice in my profession, to create a business where professionals could enjoy a good work/life balance, and to get my hands ‘back on the tools’ of designing and planning, where I could explore ideas for our cities. I also wanted to bring research closer to the practice of urban design and planning. Hodyl+Co provides me with the opportunity to build and work together with a team that makes me excited to come to work each day – creative minds, brilliant thinkers, compassionate people, people who love to accept and encourage difference of opinion, who challenge but also support each other, positive people who enjoy their work.

What do ‘cities people love’ look like to you?

Cities people love are not necessarily about what they look like, but building an urban environment that connects to and considers the people who live in them. Cities people love have the right conditions for people to flourish, regardless of their background or access to resources. They are harmonious and prosperous, inclusive and open, where people have a meaningful say in the city and their own future.

What Hodyl + Co projects are you most proud of?

From the outset, Hodyl + Co's work has been challenging, topical, and often highly contested. Our projects are those that will shape our cities over generations. The work we undertake aligns with our vision to create cities people love, including projects to protect sunlight to Melbourne’s parks, strategies to deliver affordable housing, policy reform to mitigate the impacts of overdevelopment in the CBD, and re-setting the design strategy for Fishermans Bend urban renewal area. We are fortunate to have worked with great clients, who have been wonderful collaborators and together we have been able to push for the best outcomes for the city.

What is your favourite place in Melbourne?

My apartment! My kitchen and couch.

Aside from Melbourne, what other cities do you love?

I grew up in Newcastle and am loving spending time there. It is a perfect summer city, especially swimming at the Merewether Ocean Baths. Returning home to a big family means endless cups of tea, games of cards, BBQs and (mostly!) enjoyable chaos. Newcastle is a beautiful city that doesn't take itself too seriously and the warmer days offer a great respite from winters in Melbourne.

When you get stuck at work, where do you look for inspiration?

Swimming laps in the pool (it's wonderfully quiet which is a nice place to think) and travelling to new places. I love spending time reading (sweeping novels to political essays), and listening to podcasts about anything that isn’t cities, design or planning! Watching emotional dramatic movies that make me cry or Bollywood movies that make me dance and laugh – overloading in emotion is excellent for turning off the thinking part of my brain.

Interviews: Mim McGarry