The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Jose Fernandez

Jose recounts experiences of studying MSc Urban Economic Development at the Development Planning Unit

I enrolled at DPU expecting to gain practical knowledge to design and implement local development projects. Indeed, at the end of the MSc Urban Economic Development programme, I realized that the atmosphere of knowledge provided by the DPU was much broader and more rewarding than I could have predicted.

Prior to DPU, I had obtained a bachelor degree in Public Administration and a master degree in Urban and Regional Planning. I had held different positions in public and private sectors in Brazil though always with focus on public policies for economic and social development. Yet, I lacked an approach more feasible in developing proposals to increase the effectiveness of the initiatives in different urban economies.

My choice for the UED programme at DPU was based on the nature of the institution. DPU is a multidisciplinary centre for urban studies, focusing on practical methods and knowledge accumulation to resolve problems caused by the massive process of urbanization, especially in cities in developing countries.

Upon graduation from DPU, I was gratified in securing the position of consultant at the UN-Habitat Colombia, as coordinator of the project "Potentiate popular economy conurbations in Bogota and knowledge management of urban and regional economics", in the framework of the Achieving Sustainable Urban Development Programme (ASUD).

My experience has included the design of a methodology to increase partnerships and collective efficiency among SMEs in the part of the city cluster of footwear at the neighbourhood of Restrepo; coordination in the creation of a public-private centre of shared services; as well as in structuring the observatory of popular economies.

To summarize, in my daily professional work, I realized how much learning and experience the UED programme added in my profile: providing theoretical and practical knowledge to design, evaluate and implement proposals for urban economic development, as well as the articulation of public initiatives with urban planning instruments, environmental and institutional scenario. The choice of focusing my career on the area of development has been incredibly challenging but satisfying, such as was the challenge and gratification to have accomplished the UED programme and graduated from DPU.

7 March 2013