Where do you work?
I work at Barton Willmore, the UK’s leading independent planning and design consultancy in the Reading office (1 of 13 offices nationwide). I am an Associate Urban Designer and masterplanner leading on a range of residential, mixed-use and employment schemes across the UK including outline planning applications and site promotional documents for new settlements, large-scale urban extensions and employment regeneration projects, and smaller strategic sites.
Route into planningTell us about your route into planning
I was born in Argentina and moved to Rome at the age of three. Some of my earliest memories are of being in awe of the city. When I studied architecture and later engineering and planning, it seemed to me like the architect, the engineer and the landscape architect are all looking at a specific element of cities and places more or less in isolation. I was fascinated about masterplanning as a career in that it seeks to bring together all these various elements into a coherent whole that is more than the sum of its parts.
How does your role involve helping the public?
“We Shape Our Buildings; Thereafter They Shape Us”, said Sir Winston Churchill, and that is even more true of neighbourhoods and settlements. Today, 54 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66 per cent by 2050.
I am passionate about engaging stakeholders and members of the public in creating shared visions for future communities and designing places that contribute to people's wellbeing, with a strong sense of identity and that can tread lightly on the planet. There are many factors that contribute to this: active travel and public, green spaces and biodiversity, providing facilities such as shops, health centres and places for congregation.
The key is to bring these together in such a way that a town, neighbourhood or village is completely inclusive and can grow and thrive over time, fostering a sense of community and belonging for everyone.
Helping my community
Tell us about any work you’ve done to help your local community
Recently I have been supporting my colleague Mirella Ainsworth who has been championing safer public spaces for women and we have been looking at Forbury Park near our Reading office to see how we can improve its natural surveillance, footpaths and lighting to create a safer environment.
My spare time
What do you do when you are not planning?
I am part of the ladies and mixed teams at my local tennis club, I enjoy going for walks in the countryside and love travelling to visit friends and family. I am also passionate about personal development and coaching and I always look for ways to learn new things and grow.