Growing up as a third culture kid, I had the opportunity to visit and live in many different countries, such as France, the United States, Malaysia, and Egypt. My experience in these distinct built environments has given me personal exposure to various urban design elements and approaches. Furthermore, having lived in developed and developing countries, I experienced first-hand the vast disparities in approaches to urbanisation depending on the country’s economic status and opportunities. This has fueled my interest in pursuing a career in Urban Design, specifically in sustainable developments and regeneration in developing countries.
Bachelor’s in Architecture and Urban Planning (AUP)
In 2018 coming out of high school and completing my IB diploma, I had no clear focus on what career to pursue in the built environment. I was accepted into the Architecture and Urban Planning BA at Newcastle University. BachelorsThis provided enough flexibility to explore both fields of expertise. My experience in AUP was unexpectedly interrupted halfway through due to covid-19 pushing all contact hour teaching time online.
During my BA in Architecture and Urban Planning, I acquired a strong understanding of theoretical relationships between both professions. In addition, the design aspect of the course has trained me in modelling and editing computer software. It also allowed me to strengthen my collaboration skills with others through various design-led projects.
Placement at TfL
Following my Bachelor’s, I decided to follow the RTPI pathway as it aligned well with my ambitions. This pathway required me to do a year in industry for a year before beginning any Master’s degree. Starting back in August 2021, I began a placement at TfL as an Assitant Planner. Being the sole placement holder in my team, I had to adapt to my team’s ways of working and learn quickly on the job to ensure my work was delivered to a professional standard. With a constant inflow of referable and non-referable applications to review every week, I had to be organised and manage my time to meet strict deadlines. This experience allowed me to understand better the UK’s planning system and how each discipline interacts with each other in a professional setting to provide the best possible built environment.
As the placement continued, I was entrusted to speak on behalf of TfL at Pre-Application meetings with the Greater London Authority (GLA). This consisted of participating in meetings of new proposals under review, discussing any issues in the applicant’s proposal, and providing guidance to meet London Plan Policies. My experiences working for TfL have provided me with a greater understanding of the planning system and has also provided me with the skills to thrive in professional settings.
My journey toward becoming an Urban Designer:
I am currently getting my Master’s in Urban Design and completing the RTPI pathway I began 4 years ago. I choose to specialise in Urban Design thanks to my inspiring exposure to various urban design proposals and my passion for the built environment. I look forward to this challenging yet exhilarating year ahead.