The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Natalina Banjarnahor

Natalina Banjarnahor
Urban development has been my interest since I graduated with Urban and Regional Planning for my bachelor's degree in Indonesia. Although, at first, I was keen on urban transportation and infrastructure, particularly major infrastructure projects provision and investment schemes. However, I have been interested in economic development particularly economic growth policy and strategy since I have been working as a policy analyst at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia. As I see that tourism in Indonesia has been appointed as one of the main sources of foreign exchange after the decline of the oil and gas sector thus the government should formulate different tools and economic strategies to achieve it such as tourism SEZ, investment acceleration while ensuring sustainable development at the same time. 

With this background and future goals in mind, I decided to pursue my master's degree in Urban Economic Development at UCL. This decision has been made after considering the combination of my acquired knowledge and experience with the various programs and courses offered by UCL. I strongly believe that the program at DPU UCL will enhance my ability to formulate and analyze policies related to the problem-solving efforts of tourism development in Indonesia, especially in the establishment of Tourism SEZs that is in line with global best practices of sustainable tourism development.

Coming to London and adapting to academic life in a pandemic situation was challenging yet joyful at the same time. Although we did online lectures in the first term, group work and assignments created the opportunity for me to learn and discuss with my peers face-to-face. One of my favorite module while studying at UED was Managing the City Economy and Introduction to Public Economy and Public Policy, particularly the latter since the course discuss the related topic to my working experience and public sector policy-making. What I found interesting at DPU was how the program was particularly conducted to help the student to learn and practice how the development process is in real work. As part of the program, we students directly collaborated with decision-making stakeholders such as the Greater London Authority for London Project and Mexico Government for the overseas practical engagement which I hope will be held on location shortly. This program was important and helpful for us students, specifically those with no working experience. To finish my study, I researched the sustainability of tourism-based-SEZ practices in Indonesia using the triple dimension of sustainability. 

As I finish my study at DPU UCL, now I returned as a policy analyst at the Strategic Management Division of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy Indonesia. Currently, I am working on analyzing and preparing the Integrated Tourism Master Plan (ITMP) of ten national priority destinations in Indonesia both funded by the national budget and a loan from the World Bank. With the knowledge and value of the importance of equitable growth in development I learned from DPU which addressing not only economic well-being but societal well-being as well, I will implement it in the ITMP to achieve sustainable and inclusive tourism development. My study at DPU has been remarkable where I met extraordinary classmates from around the world, proficient and kind professors and staffs, and with help of world-quality campus facilities. Surely, a lifetime experience at UED DPU is an opportunity that I would not miss.