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Student Profile: Matthew Harvey

Matthew Harvey

Course: BSc (Hons) in Environmental Planning, Queen's University Belfast

Why did you choose to study planning?

I chose to study planning as it holds the potential to shape the world around us. Building on this, from an early age I have always been very creative and enthusiastic which benefitted me greatly when making the choice to study planning. I loved geography and sociology at school, as they provided me with an understanding of how people and places work. Planning offered the chance to design, shape and create places as well as an education in the plethora of highly stimulating yet challenging topics. Planning holds the capacity to improve our daily lives, improve our quality of life and provides truly breath-taking and memorable places.

Planning is truly open to everyone! The diversity of ideas, people and places allows students to contribute and engage no matter their background. The opportunity to be part of something special, the ability in shaping our future and the chance to make a change is why I would recommend a career in planning. 

What has been the best thing about studying planning?

Studying planning has allowed me to meet amazing people, visit stunning places and develop myself not only as a future planner, but as a person. However in particular, the best thing about studying planning has to be its influence on developing my passion for design throughout the built environment. Personally, I love how planning and urban design is a global practice having the ability to share ideas on global scale, which is something truly special.

Top tip for future planners?

I have a few top tips for future planners. Always go the extra mile, no matter what you're working on, as it improves you not only as a planner but a person. Network, don't feel intimidated to engage with potential employers or even multi-disciplinary professionals as they will remember you if nobody else does. Get involved in a Planning Society as it has the potential to bridge the divide between university and the world of work. Aim to establish a niche or a particular area of planning that you are passionate about as this will increase your enthusiasm and motivation to achieve success. Finally, never stop learning! This will keep you fresh, proactive and motivated to fulfil and exceed your potential to be the best planner you can be.

Where is planning going to take you?

After undertaking postgraduate study in urban or rural design, planning will offer me an extensive range of opportunities from a global to local scale. Building on this, the beginning of a career in planning entails excitement, eagerness and enthusiasm. I have a true passion for urban design and improving the lives of global citizens and therefore I hope to work in an environment that facilitates this desire. I can't wait to begin my planning journey knowing it will be one of challenge, but yet long-lasting reward.

The RTPI supports each accredited Planning School by offering a student prize to be awarded  to a high performing student. Matthew received the RTPI Student Prize 2015-16 for his studies at Queen's University Belfast.