Farhana Hussain



working in planning



of making ceramics




My route into planning was rather unconventional. Planning was never an obvious career for me, I just happened to stumble across it.

Where do you work?

I work at Arup - a multi-disciplinary firm of designers, planners, engineers, architects, consultants and technical specialists, working across every aspect of today’s built environment. We’re more than 16,000 specialists, working across 90+ disciples, with projects over 140 countries. In January 2022, Arup was named ‘Britain’s Most Admired Company’. The award comes following a year in which Arup has introduced its industry leading hybrid working model Work Unbound, has acted as sustainability consultants at both the G7 summit and COP26 conference and taken further steps to hit its own goal of reaching net-zero by 2030. Despite its growth and being a global entity, Arup is an Employee-Ownership Trust, meaning the employees have a share in the company.

Farhana is pictured on the right

Route into planning

Tell us about your route into planning

My route into planning was rather unconventional, I completed an undergraduate degree in Law and worked in civil litigation for four and half years, specialising in clinical negligence, defending the NHS. As a child, I used to obsessively read about the built environment, architecture, and history, however, planning was never an obvious career for me, I just happened to stumble across it when I picked up a book called ‘Happy City’.

In 2016, I decided to take the leap, quit my job at a law firm and study International Planning and Sustainable Development at the University of Westminster. I really enjoyed the course, made some amazing friends, and even had the opportunity to travel to Brazil on a field trip. I kind of just fell in love with planning after that. I was lucky enough to have found a job as an assistant planner whilst I was studying for my masters, so I was able to apply a lot of what I had learnt. I still find it amazing seeing tangible results of what I have worked on.

The historic city of Olinda
Brasil, Sao Paulo
London Build 2018

Helping the public

How does your role involve helping the public?

I work on a mixture of residential, mixed use and large infrastructure projects. It ranges from a nuclear power station, data centre or airport. I look at how we can create an environment in which education, skills and workforce development can flourish; mitigate negative impacts on the environment and improve social mobility. The process requires working closely with stakeholders and the public to develop a strategy to provide long term, sustainable infrastructure for the benefit of the UK as a whole.

Tell us about any work you’ve done to help your local community

My work on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects means that I am involved in the consultation process ensuring that we are engaging meaningfully with the local public and key stakeholders. I worked on the Sizewell C nuclear power station and was responsible for ensuring that the comments raised by the public were carefully considered and responded to as part of the development consenting process.

Your spare time

What do you do when you are not planning?

When I’m not working, I enjoy making ceramics. I have been making ceramics for the best part of 6 years and I think my friends and family wish I would get a new hobby after receiving pots, mugs and wonky bowls for every birthday, Eid and Christmas!