The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Vanessa Nostran

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

When I joined the MSc Urban Economic Development at the DPU I had an undergraduate degree in Economics and Management, a dissertation on the sustainability of Venice and a year of professional experience in a Public Utilities under my belt. I was looking for a deeper understanding of current issues in urban areas, and in particular I wanted to be able to see how the “economic, social and environmental sustainability” mantra could be applied in practice. The array of courses offered at the DPU as optional choice and the core courses of the UED curriculum have been an invaluable source of knowledge.

The practical experience we gained while working on our group projects for the Greater London Authority and in Ethiopia refined my capability of conducting field research. It also allowed me to further develop an extremely useful set of skills I could deploy while I was working on my PhD research proposal. In fact, shortly after we came back from Ethiopia (on the same day we had to present our group project!) I was invited for a presentation at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

I am now a PhD candidate and teacher at the LSE and I am working on a research project on Public Accounting and Urban Governance, but I wouldn’t be here without the thorough help and support I received at the DPU. The environment is conducive of an enquiring mind-set and encourages a continuous questioning on social and economic paradigms we sometimes take for granted.

The interdisciplinary nature of basically all courses in the UED curriculum enabled me to make cross-paper references throughout the duration of the MSc and is still a source of intellectual dynamism that is extremely valued when working in academia.

I would whole-heartedly recommend the UED course to anyone who is not sure whether to engage in a professional environment or in academia, because it provides the means to come across actual job opportunities and helps to develop a very sound knowledge of urban environments that can be deployed in both fields.

April 2014