Why did you choose to study planning?
I have always enjoyed human geography, particularly how settlements are formed. In addition I have an interest in the character and appearance of different building types, especially those of modern design, and how they work in their wider context. As a result I like the idea of being able to make a positive difference to the environment we live in by encouraging attractive and well planned developments and discouraging inappropriate development. This is what led me to choose Urban Design as my specialism throughout my time at University. I am excited by the thought of being able to influence the shape of the world we live in.
I now work for Brighton and Hove City Council as a Graduate Planner within Development Control. Planning often takes a collaborative approach, particularly when working with consultees in various departments. This means that I often learn something new every day. Whilst undertaking my role, with the support of the council, I intend to work towards my chartered membership for the RTPI. Upon completion of this I hope to incorporate my interest for urban design in a more senior role, with responsibility for more complex applications.
What has been the best thing about studying planning?
Throughout my time at university I enjoyed having the opportunity to assess and evaluate the theoretical elements of planning whilst also being able to explore its creative and imaginative side. During my time studying I have enjoyed the relationship between the inventive side of planning and its regulations, boundaries and constraints. It has really shown how the art and science of planning work together to achieve the best possible outcome.
Top tip for future planners?
Whilst university town planning courses give great insight into the world of planning and provide you with a number of important skills such as: report writing, analysis and carrying out evaluations, much is to be learnt from a practical environment. The most advantageous practice would be to gain as much practical experience within a professional environment whilst undertaking studies.
Why would you recommend that students consider a career in planning?
Planning has many aspects and conflicting demands. More recently in particular, town planning holds influence on most aspects of urban life through a balancing act of creating new communities and conserving our heritage. The decisions we make as planners have lasting impacts on how people live their lives. Planning has many dimensions which gives great variety to the role, meaning most days are different.
The RTPI supports each accredited Planning School by offering a student prize to be awarded to a high performing student. Emily received the RTPI Student Prize 2014-15 for her undergraduate studies at London South Bank University.