Let’s meet: Tanya Busschau, Head of Urban Design

Let’s meet: Tanya Busschau, Head of Urban Design

Creating synergy between buildings and their surroundings

As dhk’s Head of Urban Design, Tanya Busschau’s role encompasses two parts: first, leading the architects and urban designers who make up the urban design team; and second is actively considering the future of the team and urban design within dhk as a whole, together with the larger management team. She has extensive experience in designing, delivering and implementing urban design projects. The team offers the full range of urban design services, from developing public realm strategies, urban design frameworks and development guidelines to conceptualising masterplans. But their work isn’t only theoretical: the team gets deeply involved in coordination and execution, aligning with client needs and meeting statutory standards that underpin the vision for the projects.

Ensuring the team operates seamlessly is a vital component of the role. Tanya leads the daily administration and management, making sure the team is not only busy with a healthy pipeline of projects, but also well enough resourced to deliver for our clients. It’s all about guiding, leading and mentoring while managing money, time and strategic relationships.

At the same time, Tanya’s leadership style is to motivate the team to push the boundaries of design, solving problems with creative innovation and exploring new technologies to align with the best of international urban design practices.

“We’re trying to create vibrant and inclusive spaces, whether they’re public or privately owned, to make people’s lives better and improving life in any environment,” says Tanya. “We want to create synergy between buildings and their surroundings,  fostering a sense of community and livability, adding intrinsic value to developments in a way that helps us leave places better than we found them; to contribute to a better quality of life for people who use the space.”

Tanya is a Senior Associate at dhk. She’s a Professional Urban Designer and Architect, with over a decade of experience in public and private sector projects. As a registered professional with the South African Council for the Architecture Profession (SACAP) and the Urban Design Institute of South Africa (UDISA), she has been integrally involved in numerous architectural and urban design projects, drawing on her expertise across varying complexities and scales.

Since joining dhk in 2018, she has been involved in several urban design and architectural projects in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Italy, Romania and Mauritius. Her past and current work includes urban design frameworks for Hatfield Town Centre in Pretoria, Conradie Park in Cape Town, a masterplan for Springfield Estate, among others. In 2021, she was appointed to UDISA’s steering committee, contributing to the advancement of industry standards and practices. She was promoted to Head of Urban Design in 2023.

Tanya’s professional passion for creating beautiful, sustainable environments expands out into her passion for travelling through cities in her spare time. She loves to explore different places, walking through city streets, experiencing the urban fabric and observing how people move through and interact with urban spaces and buildings. When she’s not walking through a new city, she’s running on the trails around Cape Town. She also has a deep interest in the art and science of property development, fascinated by the numbers that make developments come together to get the project over the line.