Where do you work?
I currently work at Glasgow City Council within the research and development team. I am the senior project officer on a Horizon Europe project called Connecting Nature and our team is taking a nature-based solutions approach to deliver Glasgow’s open space strategy. This involves working with international partners including cities, social enterprise and universities to develop novel and innovative approaches to key factors such as coproduction, governance, green finance and nature-based entrepreneurship.
Tell us about your route into planning
After a childhood spent building imaginative cities with lego and playing SimCity on my Commodore Amiga, I waited until the grand old age of 24 before embarking on my town planning career. This involved studying an HND first before going on to complete an Undergraduate and then a Master’s degree, where I specialised in international development.
My planning roles have included regeneration, development management and now policy, all of which have given me a broad perspective on the planning profession. I have also been lucky enough to carry out some project work in different countries including an urban design study trip to Brazil in both 2013 and 2015. For me, it’s been so important for my planning career to learn from other cultures and I try to take these opportunities whenever I can!
Helping the public
How does your role involve helping the public?
I consider all of my planning roles have involved helping the public in some way whether that has been directly via participating in on-the ground regeneration or whether taking rounded and evidence-based decisions in development management roles. Town planning decisions have social, economic and environmental dimensions and so have the potential to affect everyone in society. I support the newly defined purpose of planning in Scotland which is ‘to manage the development and use of land in the long term public interest…’
Helping my community
Tell us about any work you’ve done to help your local community
I try to do my best to help people with town planning advice whenever possible, whether in a professional, voluntary or private capacity. For example, I have previously volunteered with the planning charity PAS in Scotland and offered pro-bono planning advice to members of the public who would otherwise find it difficult to employ the services of a professional planning consultant.
My current role working with Glasgow’s open space strategy sometimes involves direct engagement and working with community groups or other members of the community. Recently, I supported a colleague running an engagement event using the climate version of the Place Standard tool. We wanted to gather views on how the climate is affecting the use of an important local park. The information gathered is being fed into an overall analysis process that will hopefully lead to more targeted investment in order to improve the experience of park users.
Your spare time
What do you do when you are not planning?
When not planning I love to travel and see friends. Also, my six month old Australian Labradoodle puppy keeps me pretty busy too at the moment!