Johannes recounts experiences of studying MSc Urban Development Planning at the Development Planning Unit
Consultant – Phil Jones Associates (Reading, UK)
When I started the MSc in Urban Development Planning at the DPU I had just finished working for a Research Institute in Berlin, assessing innovative and sustainable solutions to housing and living spaces in developing countries.
My Bachelor’s Degree in International Development had provided me with so many new ideas that I felt a bit lost in the wide world of development work. My many projects with NGOs, travels to developing countries as a young adult, along with my work in Berlin have definitely helped me in my attempt to enter the professional world as a development practitioner.
My decision to do the MSc in Urban Development Planning was based on the need to build up a framework of practical approaches that would translate my previous experiences into meaningful actions. During the 12 months studying and learning within the international environment of UCL, I gained many helpful insights that would guide me in defining my role as a development practitioner.
The people-centered approach towards urban planning as well as the profound rethinking of common approaches towards "how to do urban development" represented formative learnings and confirmed my ambitions to pursue my career as a planner. The interdisciplinary character of the planning profession hereby reminded me that there are many different paths one can take to contribute to socially-just and sustainable urban planning practices.
After I graduated, I accepted a job as a consultant at Phil Jones Associates, a transport and urban planning consultancy based in the UK. I work on projects aiming to enhance accessibility of private and public spaces, design road networks at new major development sites, assess traffic impacts of developments, improve usage and awareness of sustainable modes of transport, and enhance the cycle experience in London.
I also apply technical software skills and design methods to create shared space schemes across cities in the UK. An understanding of how people and goods move across urban spaces is critical to these projects. The MSc Urban Development Planning has helped shape my understanding of transport planning as linking the economic, environmental and social aspects of urban spaces.
Link to our project website: http://philjonesassociates.co.uk/projects.html