ABOUT Urban Mode


Urban Mode is a platform for supporting strategies, plans and projects that enable place-oriented development.

Urban Mode recognises the growing importance of an integrated urban development approach. Most cities and towns seek initiatives that will secure new investment, more jobs and ultimately a higher quality of life for their residents. However, no longer does local economic development mainly revolve around tax incentives and property plays to achieve this goal. Now, locales are judged on People and Place – that is, the range and creativity of activities in a place together with the attachment of such actors to a place which is evident in the efforts they make to improve their places. Therefore, it is critical to develop local ecosystems that attract and engage people. Investment and growth follows.

Wessel Badenhorst is the Director of Urban Mode Ltd. He has extensive experience in local economic development and urban regeneration having worked in a local authority as economic development officer (Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council) and with NGOs and social enterprises as a non-executive director (Development Action Group in Cape Town; O’Cualann Co-housing Alliance in Dublin).


In July 2015 he established Urban Mode Ltd to help local authorities together with business and community organisations to assess the urban development challenges in their cities and towns and to create collaborative strategies.


He is a lead expert on the URBACT Programme of the European Union that supports cities to work together on integrated urban development themes. From September 2015 to May 2018 he facilitated the collaboration between ten small cities in URBACT’s City Centre Doctor Project to develop strategies to revitalise their city centres.


Currently he is commissioned to work in a core group of four lead experts investigating the vitality of small cities in Europe with the aim of proposing a comprehensive support framework drawing from programmes at European and member state level. He is also the lead expert with a new URBACT network of ten small cities in Europe, the iPlace Project, that will examine their local economic development strategies and place experiences with the aim to find niches for future development and to improve their local innovation ecosystems.


Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Wessel came to Ireland in 2000. He holds a MBA degree from Dublin City University together with degrees in Law and Psychology from the University of Pretoria.