William Chan is an urbanist and design strategist with a passion to create resilient and inclusive places for people. Educated in Australia and Italy, William graduated with the University Medal in Architecture and Convocation Medal from the University of Sydney. Supported by the Rotary Foundation Global Grant, he undertook further study at the Politecnico di Milano as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in 2015-2017. His Dottore Magistrale thesis was unanimously awarded cum laude.
William has worked on sustainable urban development projects for Arup Foresight, Hassell, Cox Architecture and the Australian Government Department of the Environment. With architecture and design experience in both the private and public sector, William is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and Fellow in sustainable cities with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). He is a Research Affiliate with the Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD) at Columbia University’s Earth Institute in New York. He was most recently a Fellow in innovation and executive education with the Qatar Foundation’s World Innovation Summit for Education.
William has led community-building projects for the homeless, slum dwellers and refugees around the world. In 2009 he contributed to Global Studio in South Africa, an action-research program to improve the lives of the urban poor, and returned in 2012 as a project associate in India. He assisted the 2013-2015 People Building Better Cities: Participation and Inclusive Urbanization travelling exhibition, and is currently involved in the Agenda 2030 Local Projects Challenge. Recently, he founded a plastic waste circular economy initiative that educates youth in design-thinking, circular economy and STEM skills, which was presented at the 2018 UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on Social Business, Youth and Technology.
William has been named one of Australia’s top 100 Brightest Young Minds, an inaugural Australian Government Creative Young Star and UNICEF Young Ambassador. He is the recipient of an Australian Achievement in Architecture Award from the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) and the Order of Australia Association Medallion for leadership and service to the community.
William’s involvement in Rotary began at the age of 12, where he completed a community service award program through his local club. Throughout high school, he contributed to Interact and was elected President as a Year 11 student. He has since participated in RYLA. In his spare time, William volunteers as a surf lifesaver at Tamarama Beach.