The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Loan Diep

Loan recounts experiences of studying MSc Environment and Sustainable Development at the Development Planning Unit

Loan Diep

Originally from France, I graduated with a degree in Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) from the University of Caen (Normandy). I then moved to London in 2009 and graduated from a BSc in Environmental Geography at University College London in 2013. I pursued with the MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development (ESD) at the DPU the following year.

While I have a general interest for questions related to different types of socio-environmental issues, my interests particularly lie in Urban Water Governance, Disaster Risk Reduction and the Politics of Climate Change in cities. My academic background enabled me to develop a multi-disciplinary understanding of water and climate change issues, from scientific to socio-political angles. My MSc dissertation focussed on Power and Knowledge in Water Governance and Green Infrastructure in Lima, Peru.

Upon completion of my Master’s degree, I worked as a Research Consultant with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) for a year. In partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), I undertook research on the links between Resource Efficiency and Resilience in cities. Besides, I worked on an IIED research project looking at the impacts of Decentralisation on Urban Climate Governance in West Africa.

This same year, I joined Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), a UK based organisation aiming at helping cities to provide low-income populations with water and sanitation services. I started with an internship with the Evaluation, Research and Learning team, and then took the role of Project Officer with the Advisory branch of WSUP. On the one hand, this role has involved bringing support to the ongoing Swachh Bharat Mission in India; on the other hand, I have been committed in the development of the team by bringing climate change research expertise. I will take part in COP21 in Paris in December 2015 as a COPilot with Place to Be, where I will work with the international civil and media society to discuss questions related to Climate Change.

The DPU’s ESD course represented a formidable step in my personal and career development. It made me explore fundamental questions that initiated the famous ‘haha moments’ that the DPU is really keen on triggering! I consider having studied with top academics and having been involved in fascinating projects. These have reinforced my desire to work in the sector and, without any doubt, marked the beginning of a life-time reflection on how human societies can coexist in symbiotic with Nature.