Back in the saddle

I can’t believe it – my first year of the Masters of Urban Planning (MUP) program at McGill is done! It has been a whirlwind to say the least and, while I’m excited to have the summer away from classes, I am already a little sad that this adventure is half done.

This year has been fantastic. McGill’s School of Urban Planning is really great – inspiring faculty, challenging classes, and really amazing students. It’s hard to believe that 8 months ago we all arrived as strangers and worked our way through polite, formal conversations about our favourite planning related topics. Now I can’t imagine not having all of these people in my life to talk transportation, design, and even planning law with… there are, of course, some really nerdy (read: fantastic) planning jokes thrown into the mix as well. Seriously. If I could love these people more, I would!

McGill School of Urban Planning class of 2013 or, more affectionately, the MUPpets!

McGill’s program is small (there are only about 24 of us in each year), which creates a real sense of family and camaraderie. The school strives to bring a diverse range of students into the program. Some come from engineering, architecture, and geography (what would be considered natural matches for planning), but there are also those with backgrounds in linguistics, classical history, marketing, economics, environmental biology, and music composition. Each person brings a really interesting perspective to the program, our projects, and larger discussions related (and not related) to urban planning. It has made for an extremely rich learning experience and I know that next year will just get better.

For now we are all off to complete our summer internships (a requisite part of the program) – and are all going in many directions both geographically and with the types of projects we’ll be working on. We have students interning in Amsterdam, Croatia, and Burma as well as many of us sprinkled across the US and Canada working on projects with municipal planning departments, private consultants, and developers. I can’t wait to hear about each person’s experience… and I hope to share it with you as well! I’ll be soliciting updates from my colleagues throughout the summer with hopefully a few pictures and thoughts from their adventures.

For me, I’ll be spending my summer working for IBI Group, a consulting company with offices in many cities around the world. Most of my time will be in Toronto but I will actually have a bit of time back in Regina! I’ll be working on a range of projects, including the downtown transportation work that IBI is currently undertaking in the Queen City. I can’t wait to be challenged in new ways and hopefully put my new skills to the test. I’m also looking forward to reading books that are not completely related to school (though I have packed Jan Gehl’s ‘Life between buildings‘ to read…I couldn’t resist).

I am also looking forward to having more time to dedicate to RUE over the summer. It has been difficult to balance everything over the last 8 months, but I’m glad to get back on the horse and keep the conversation going.

Here’s to a great summer ahead of us!

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Back in the saddle

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