Why did you choose to study planning?
I've always been interested in the natural and built environment and the impact this has on our quality of life. I began my career in property investment and development, and then decided to study Masters in City Planning at the University of Cape Town in order to become more involved in the 'bigger picture' of infrastructure, land use, policy and other planning practices which influence the form and function of our cities.
I am an urbanist in pursuit of shared wellbeing and sustainability. I'm particularly interested in affordable housing, urban food security, innovative and resilient urban infrastructure, inclusive public spaces, and community-building through place-making. I will be moving from Cape Town to London in May 2016 to get some international experience.
I definitely intend to become a Chartered Planner.
What has been the best thing about studying planning in South Africa?
Planning is such a varied and ever-evolving field, so there is never a dull moment nor an excuse to stop learning! The planning course at the University of Cape Town offers excellent lecturers and a wide range of practical and theoretical learning experiences. It has really broadened my mind in terms of appreciating the diverse and contextual challenges, opportunities and priorities of different communities. For example, one of our projects involved meeting with representatives of a community living in an informal (unplanned) settlement, who face major challenges including unemployment, inadequate housing and services, food insecurity, crime and flooding. We worked together to design a long term spatial vision and plan, and to create a vertical food garden on the walls of the community centre, a solution inspired by the vegetable gardens which already existed in the community.
Top tip for future planners?
Travel, experience different places and ways of living, and get involved in community development work as early as possible.
Why would you recommend that students consider a career in planning?
Planning incorporates so many different aspects, from design to economics to community engagement, which makes for a really stimulating education and career. Through planning, we can have an enormous positive impact on peoples' lives.
The RTPI supports each accredited Planning School by offering a student prize to be awarded to a high performing student. Kate received the RTPI Student Prize 2014-15 for her studies at the University of Cape Town.