In this episode of the Anthropology in Business podcast, Gemma John, founder and director of Human City, speaks with Matt Artz about her career as a business anthropologist. The conversation covers Gemma’s journey from studying anthropology with a focus on the built environment to founding her consultancy, which specializes in socially responsible and commercially viable property development and asset management solutions. It also touches on the WWNA’s Apply Club for Anthropology of the Built Environment.
About Gemma John
Gemma John is a highly accomplished applied anthropologist, sustainability advisor, and the Founder & Director of Human City. Her career has been dedicated to driving positive change within the built environment. Gemma’s journey started in planning and architecture with leading firms such as AECOM and Foster + Partners in London. In 2017, she founded Human City, a consultancy that drives social value through real estate investment, development, management, and operation. Gemma’s extensive experience and expertise have enabled her to work with various private, public, and nonprofit organizations across Europe and Africa, conducting rigorous research and providing strategic guidance on sustainable development. Her commitment to driving meaningful impact is reflected in her extensive education, which includes coursework in Real Estate Economics and Finance at the London School of Economics and Impact Investing in Africa at the University of Cape Town. Gemma’s contributions to academia and sustainable development have earned her an Honorary Research Fellowship at University College London’s Department of Anthropology and Adjunct Faculty status at the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainable Leadership. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce and a Winston Churchill Fellow.
About Human City
Human City is a spatial strategy consultancy that specializes in creating socially responsible and commercially viable property development and asset management solutions. They help clients create new spaces that benefit both the community and commercial aspects. They use their expertise in social science, business intelligence, and design thinking to carry out research, develop strategies, and measure the positive impact on society and the environment. Their work spans four areas of expertise: design futures and strategy, innovation and growth, social value and impact, and tools and techniques.