Simon O’Byrne

Simon O'Byrne

Vancouver, British Columbia
Urban Planning and Sustainable Development Expert
Simon O’Byrne is senior VP of Stantec’s global Community Development business and an award-winning urban designer and planner based in Edmonton, Alberta. Simon O’Byrne has led multi-disciplinary design teams in the planning and successful delivery of large, complex, and politically charged projects.
  • Change Management
  • Leadership
  • Resilience & Adversity
  • Business Management
  • Future Trends
  • Community Engagement Events
  • Conference
  • Economic Development
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Guest Panelist & Guided Q&A
  • Infrastructure & Urban Planning
  • Inspirational
  • Lifestyle & Health


Simon O’Byrne is an award winning urban designer/planner and is Senior Vice President of Stantec’s 2,000 person Community Development Business Line. As a planning expert, he is frequently quoted in the media and is a sought after global public speaker. Simon has led multi-disciplinary design teams in the planning and successful delivery of large, complex and politically charged projects.

O’Byrne’s experience ranges from intensive urban revitalization redevelopments, to master planned communities, to transit-oriented developments and more. Projects include the Edmonton Downtown Arena and Entertainment District, creating resiliency in Hull, UK, redevelopment of the Alberta Legislature Grounds, the Saskatoon City Centre Plan, Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, Alberta Capital Region Land Use Plans, the Hunts Point Plan, Bronx, New York and more.

As a recognized urban design and planning expert, Simon O’Byrne is frequently quoted in the media in both Canada and the US and is a sought after speaker on both sides of the border to professional, community and leadership groups. He is an experienced speaker who delivers keynotes at major provincial, national and international conferences. Simon is also has a TEDx talk on how to create vibrant communities.

In 2015, Simon O’Byrne was selected to become the Allard Chair in Business for MacEwan University. The Edmonton Journal named Simon as one of the city’s Power 30. Alberta Venture magazine named Simon as one of the 50 Most Influential People in Alberta. In 2009, Avenue magazine named Simon as one of the Top 40 Under 40. Simon O’Byrne is a community leader who currently volunteers with the following: Downtown Vibrancy Task Force (Past Chair), Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (Honorary Chair), City of Edmonton’s Winter City Advisory Committee (Co-Chair) and Winter City Urban Design (Chair), Canadian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility and the University of Alberta Planning Program Advisory Committee.

Simon O’Byrne volunteers and leads many different civic, economic, social justice, charity, and professional boards and committees such as; the Habitat for Humanity National Leadership Council, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce (2014 Chair), Edmonton Renewable Energy Task Force, Greater Edmonton Regional Chambers of Commerce (2012 Chair), Community Sustainability Task Force, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, Hope Mission, Urban Development Institute & the Alberta Professional Planning Association.

Simon has a Master of City Planning Degree from the University of Manitoba. He has also completed a Master of Science in Environmental Planning scholarly exchange at the Pratt Institute in New York City. Simon’s first degree was a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta.



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Simon O’Byrne Topic Presentations

rapid urbanization

  • Keynote Presentation
  • The world is rapidly urbanizing and doing so both unevenly and unsustainably. Farmers and villagers are moving to cities in search of better opportunities and hope. Throughout North America and Europe, major cities are struggling to balance development pressures, inequity, infrastructure strains, massive immigration and local politics, all whilst trying to reduce their ecological footprint. This session will look at the trends happening around the world in terms of urbanization and what governments, businesses and non-government organizations are doing to meet these challenges. Learn about how cities have begun to transform themselves to better adapt to rapid urban growth caused by migration, climate change, and economic conditions. This session will teach you some tools that urban designers use to approach these complex issues.

build it so they will come, work live and stay - designing for the 21st century demographics

  • Keynote Presentation
  • The demographic shift rapidly taking place in major cities has a major impact on the design of the city core. The changing makeup of the people that live and work in the center of the city means we need to make careful note of their lifestyle and workstyle needs. With the transformation taking place in many major cities across Canada, we have a unique opportunity to ensure our downtown and community designs reflect the needs for future generations.

    Urban renewal, why it’s critical to city success and just how to achieve it. According to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities in 2008, for the first time in human history, more people live in cities and towns than in the countryside. This demographic shift has been worldwide, most prominently in Asia and Africa, but also in North America.

    While this provides great opportunities for our communities, it also presents very real challenges. Specifically, how do we build strong communities as cities grow rapidly? How do we nurture the original neighborhoods into thriving centers of commerce, art, education and fulfillment? Simon O’Byrne will explore the opportunities and success that have helped transform North American cities.

the global future of modern urban living

  • Keynote Presentation
  • Urban environments around the world are undergoing transformational changes. Seismic shifts are occurring in demographics, housing, infrastructure, and the way people live, work, play, and learn. This keynote address will explore the future trends that will impact cities and how they provide services to their residents.

    The future is about transitioning from traditional ballfields to diverse sports fields, from large storm pipes to resilient green infrastructure that beautifies, and from single-family living to aging-in-place and multigenerational housing. It’s about moving from cars to multimodal mobility options, from carbon-emitting energy sources to electric vehicles and battery storage, from offshoring to onshoring supply chains and logistics, and from labour-intensive practices to AI efficiencies. The shift extends from traditional malls to transit-oriented communities, and from concentrated employment centers to dispersed interconnected nodes.

    Climate change will redefine what we consider rare weather events, with storms previously thought of as once-in-a-century occurrences happening with greater frequency. Extreme weather days in all seasons will become more common.

    How should cities adapt and evolve to these changes? How might services need to change? How will economic development need to pivot? How will cities meet the changing quality of life needs to cater to the next generation of residents? How will urban areas transform from suburban to global centers? In this address, leaders will discover innovative ideas on how to address these questions, employ strategies like radical incrementalism, and create the social license for positive, meaningful change and evolution.

navigating the future landscape: work, migration, and adaptation in rapidly changing cities

  • Keynote Presentation
  • In a world where change is the only constant, the dynamics of work, urban migration, and employee needs are in constant flux. This pivotal address by Simon O’Byrne, an esteemed urban designer and planner, delves into the multifaceted challenges and opportunities of the evolving urban landscape.

    Drawing from his extensive experience in urban revitalization, master-planned communities, and transit-oriented developments, Simon will shed light on how the future of work is shaping cities. He will explore the forces driving migration patterns, including economic opportunities, technological advancements, and environmental considerations. The talk will uncover the intricate connections between urban development and employment trends, emphasizing the importance of adaptability and resilience in both city planning and organizational strategies.

    At the heart of this transformation are the employees, whose needs and expectations are continually shifting. Simon will provide insights into creating vibrant communities that cater to the diverse and rapidly changing requirements of the modern workforce. From collaborative workspaces to multi-modal transportation options, to socially responsible urban designs, the talk will offer tangible solutions for businesses, city planners, and community leaders alike.

    With a keen understanding of the interplay between the physical environment and human behaviour, Simon O’Byrne’s address will inspire attendees to think critically about the complex nexus of work, migration, and urban life. His visionary perspective offers a roadmap for building resilient cities and organizations that can thrive in the face of uncharted challenges and unprecedented opportunities. This topic taps into pressing global concerns and aligns with Simon’s expertise in urban planning and community development, offering valuable insights for anyone invested in the future of work and urban living.

leading in a changing world: the intersection of urbanism and social responsibility

  • Keynote Presentation
  • In this compelling address, Simon O’Byrne explores the crucial relationship between urban development and social responsibility. As cities evolve, so does the need for leaders to navigate complex social, economic, and environmental challenges. This talk highlights the role of urban planners, community leaders, and businesses in creating sustainable and equitable urban environments. Drawing from his extensive experience in revitalizing cities, Simon will outline strategies for incorporating social responsibility into urban design and development. Attendees will gain insights into innovative practices that align urban growth with ethical considerations, ensuring that progress does not come at the expense of community well-being. This talk will inspire and equip leaders to create cities that are not only thriving but also inclusive, resilient, and socially conscious.

building vibrant communities: a blueprint for urban revitalization

  • Keynote Presentation
  • Urban revitalization is more than mere redevelopment; it’s about breathing life and vibrancy into communities. In this inspiring talk, Simon O’Byrne provides a comprehensive blueprint for transforming neglected urban areas into thriving, sustainable communities. Utilizing case studies from his vast portfolio of urban design projects, Simon will share proven strategies for community engagement, sustainable development, and innovative design. He will delve into the art of creating spaces that foster social connection, economic opportunity, and cultural expression. Attendees will learn how to approach urban revitalization with a holistic view, considering the social fabric, economic viability, and environmental sustainability. Whether you are a city planner, developer, community leader, or engaged citizen, this talk will empower you to be an agent of positive change in your community, guiding you in the meaningful transformation of urban spaces.

building vibrant communities: a blueprint for urban revitalization

  • Keynote Presentation
  • Public spaces are the heartbeat of our cities and communities. They are where people come together, interact, and experience the shared culture of a place. In this enlightening talk, Simon O’Byrne delves into the process of reimagining these essential spaces, emphasizing the integral role of art, culture, and community engagement. By exploring innovative design approaches and successful case studies, Simon will illustrate how public spaces can be transformed into vibrant cultural hubs that resonate with local identity. He will demonstrate the importance of a collaborative approach that engages diverse community members in the design process, ensuring that public spaces reflect the unique needs, values, and aspirations of the community. Whether you are involved in urban design, community planning, or cultural development, this talk will provide you with fresh perspectives and practical insights into creating public spaces that are not only functional but also rich in cultural expression and community significance. It’s a vision for a more inclusive and vibrant urban future, where public spaces become stages for creativity, connection, and community building.

sustainability and eco-friendly design with a focus on community

  • Keynote Presentation
  • In a world increasingly aware of the environmental challenges we face, the importance of sustainability and eco-friendly design has never been more pronounced. Simon O’Byrne presents a visionary approach to this essential subject, emphasizing not just the environmental aspects but also the vital connection to the community. This talk will explore how sustainable design principles can be integrated into urban planning and architecture, focusing on methods that reduce environmental impact while enhancing community well-being. Drawing from real-world examples and cutting-edge practices, Simon will discuss the utilization of green technologies, renewable energy, and thoughtful design to create spaces that are not only environmentally responsible but also socially vibrant and economically thriving. Attendees will learn how to engage communities in the planning process, ensuring that sustainability is not an isolated goal but a shared value that brings people together. It’s a thought-provoking exploration of how we can design our cities and communities to be harmonious with nature and nurturing to human connection, creating a future that is sustainable in every sense of the word.



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Articles & Media

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How to book Simon O’Byrne for an event?

Simon O’Byrne keynote speaker is an expert presenter and has a wide range of experience speaking to a wide variety of audiences and organizations. Simon O’Byrne delivers keynotes, workshops & training sessions. They may also host or emcee events. Hire Simon O’Byrne from Vancouver, British Columbia for your event to inspire the audience to take action and make change in their work and their lives. Your workplace will benefit from our keynote speaker and their keynote talks and speeches will shift the mindsets or behaviours for the audience members in Canada. 

Interested in booking Simon O’Byrne for an event?

Are you looking to hire Simon O’Byrne for your event? Simon O’Byrne Vancouver, British Columbia is a dynamic and engaging speaker that offers audiences researched content paired with expertise and a dynamic speaking ability. Simon O’Byrne is also a Canadian corporate consultant and coach and facilitates workshops and training sessions for a corporate audience. Simon O’Byrne is an expert keynote presenter and speaks on wide variety of topics. Hiring a great speaker for your event is important and working with a thought leader like Simon O’Byrne from Speakers Canada’s roster will engage audiences into the content of the presentation to bring awareness and a fresh perspective for their approach to their work and their lives. Book Simon O’Byrne to educate, motivate and activate the audience through an interactive and entertaining presentation at corporate meetings and gatherings.

Known as a popular key note speaker in Canada, Simon O’Byrne creates life changing experiences for the participants with practical insights and strategic advice they can implement right after the session. Working with a one our leading expert speaker like Simon O’Byrne from Vancouver, British Columbia offers organizations a fresh perspective to assist the people of the organization. No matter if it is a government, association, or business crowd, Simon O’Byrne is a perfect speaker for your event. Through unique practical insights for trending topics and years experience speaking to different organizations, Simon O’Byrne focuses on changing individuals to make better decisions at work and their lives. No matter if you are holding an in person or virtual event, having an influential speaker such as Simon O’Byrne will engage, motivate, and activate the audience to make a change in their lives and inspire action for results to meet organizational goals. Your workforce will benefit from Simon O’Byrne’s presentations and speeches, with measurable results set to shift the people of the organization and core direction of the company. Book Simon O’Byrne speaker for your annual general meeting, conference, summit, or convention in Canada.

How much does it cost to hire Simon O’Byrne for a keynote presentation or virtual event?

Simon O’Byrne is an expert professional key note speaker with a lot of experience speaking and delivering engaging talks to organizations and audiences in Canada. Each of Speaker Bureau Canada’s talent have different ways to assess their fees, and Simon O’Byrne speaker fee ranges depending on the size of the audience, event format (in person or virtual), event location, and if the organization booking them is a non profit, association, government department/government agency or business/corporation. The speakers we work with are flexible with their fees, and it is important for us to learn more about your event before we approach them, as it is our role to work for you, and to help you find a speaker within budget. 

Please contact Speakers Bureau of Canada and provide us with your event details so that we can contact Simon O’Byrne to check availability or confirm the pricing and associated costs to hire a great speaker like Simon O’Byrne for your event. As Simon O’Byrne's agent and as a Canadian top speaker bureau and talent agency for speakers, we are able to propose each event opportunity from each host organization’s behalf to try to help you get in touch with Simon O’Byrne and confirm them for your in person or online meeting/event. We can also provide and advise on the booking process and potentially negotiate their fee. Speakers Canada is a client focused speaker agency, and we work for you in finding good speakers for your team meetings and booking processes.

Simon O’Byrne Disclaimer
Speakers Bureau Canada assists companies and event planning teams seeking to hire talent like Simon O’Byrne for speaking engagements, virtual meetings, conference appearances, training sessions and workshops facilitations. Our Canadian speakers bureau does not claim to exclusively represent Simon O’Byrne, however they are represented by Speakers Canada, and we work with them closely for their Canadian speaking opportunities and bookings. As Canada’s top speaker bureau, we represent Canadian motivational keynote speakers and professional guest speakers that will be available on your upcoming events date and location that are withing the budget. Our talented bureau speaker booking agency can help find business speakers or celebrity speakers that aligns with each organization, audience, event theme and the topic themes you hope for the speaker to address in their presentation. 

When SBC receives a request to book Simon O’Byrne we provide you with their speaker fees, travel costs and check their schedules. We work closely with the host organization’s event planning team and the speaker to handle the logistics and to relay or negotiate associated costs. Our talented team members then will work with our talent directly or their agent/manager/assistant to confirm the Canadian speaker fee and travel expenses, so that event planning teams can receive an official quote for the speaker appearing at the event. Speaker fees and travel costs vary per speaker and our role is to contact Simon O’Byrne about your event, after we have connected with the event organizers to learn all the event details and/or conference program. Each booking request is unique since session durations and audience sizes can vary which may affect the speaker’s fees. If you are looking to hire Simon O’Byrne, we recommend filling out the booking request form so a booking agent from Speakers Bureau Canada can get in touch with our talent to help you coordinate with your team to engage the speaker for a successful event.

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