Why did you choose to study planning?
Deciding on Planning came from enjoying both Human Geography and Design & Technology at school. I wanted to find a vocational route that would allow me to be creative whilst also being able to push my academic skills. From there, my interest in property led me to the built environment sector, and after living in the countryside my whole life, my intrigue into the workings and design of towns and cities made planning an easy choice!
Studying the MTCP at the University of Manchester gave me access to a wealth of career advisors and the helpfulness of some of the lecturers that have industry experience. Before graduating I managed to attain the role of Graduate Planner at HOW Planning LLP, a leading planning consultancy in the North West. Next up on my list is getting stuck in to a wide range of interesting projects and gaining the experiences to pass my RTPI APC in order to become a Chartered Town Planner.
What has been the best thing about studying planning?
Those just starting to learn about the profession of planning will soon learn that you will start to see it everywhere! It's not the kind of subject where you are buried in textbooks, it's about finding out what makes places great and how planning plays a massive part in that. With that comes a very social course where there is no right and wrong, you get to know your course mates really well (should you turn up to lectures!) and it's very likely you'll be involved in workshops, fieldtrips and lively seminars rather than day after day of stuffy lectures.
Top tip for future planners?
Get out and about. Reading about the rise of Manchester as a major UK city online is about 10% as useful as walking around and seeing the changes for yourself. Understanding the heritage of an area makes it a lot easier to critique its current form and plan positively for its future.
Why would you recommend that students consider a career in planning?
It's exciting that the context of planning is constantly changing with different challenges and initiatives, so it's unlikely that you will ever stop learning. Planners are currently at the forefront of attempting to battle the 'housing crisis' whilst also redesigning run down high streets and revitalising inefficient infrastructure so it is easy to find a specialism should you want to. National news headlines regarding the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail line, spatial inequalities and the ongoing loss of the green countryside make you realise what a massive impact planning has on the day-to-day of different communities.
The RTPI supports each accredited Planning School by offering a student prize to be awarded to a high performing student. Louisa received the RTPI Student Prize 2014-15 for her postgraduate studies at the University of Manchester.