MUPpets in the Field: Laurie

Today you’re treated to a guest post from Laurie, our resident MUP student who is originally from France. This summer she’s working for a development firm and learning lots about the process (like, how the job involves wearing a hard hat at all times).

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This summer, I’m working for DevMcGill, a Montreal-based residential developer.  It is a great opportunity for me to see a different side of planning. When thinking about urban planning, most people envision municipal positions, with tasks such as creating a city’s master plan and writing municipal by-laws. Here, I get to see how a developer works to create projects that meet its own business goals (in terms of desired architectural design, unit mix, type of uses included and financial objectives) while conforming to municipal zoning plans and building norms.

As the team’s planning intern, I’m helping with the building permit applications. I get to go through the zoning by-laws of the different boroughs of Montreal in order to see which norms apply to our projects. Everyday I’m a little more thankful for our Planning Law class last term… My life would be miserable without it!

DevMcGill is a very young and active company. My colleagues come from many different backgrounds, and it’s really interesting to see how everyone collaborates to create a project from scratch, from researching potential sites to working with architects and engineers on the project design, building the pro-forma, creating a balanced unit mix or working with clients who want to personalize their condo. I’m really enjoying this chance to understand how the whole development process unfolds and who the many stakeholders involved are.

Working in Montreal is also a great cultural experience for me. I’ve learnt a lot about the condo market here, which is very different from real estate in France. And I have to admit: I’m definitely enjoying the comfort of working in my mother tongue… Although I’m finally picking up on québécois expressions thanks to my adorable coworkers. C’est le fun!

Aside from the internship, I’m spending my time exploring the city (and its incredible art scene), attending the numerous ongoing festivals and preparing the next CAPS (Canadian Planning Students Association) Conference which will be held in Montreal next February… You should hear about that soon enough!

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MUPpets in the Field: Laurie

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