I try to make a difference using tools of participatory governance, to bring different interest groups into discussion
Why did you choose to study in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield?
USP has a nice environment to bring researchers from different background together. I enjoy the seminars and discussions. Public space in the café area is perfect for staff and PhD students to communicate with each other. I know many new friends from there. Informal talks when you made a cup of tea were always the sparking of new research ideas.
What is your most memorable thing about Sheffield?
The Peak District. I miss the days when I concentrated on my PhD research project. After work or during the weekend, I take a walk in Peak District with friends to enjoy nature.
Where do you work now and what does your day-to-day work involve?
I work as a lecturer in Urban and Rural Planning, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Suzhou University of Science and Technology in China. I also work as a Research Fellow in Yangtze River Delta Human Settlements Carbon Neutral Development Research Institute. My work is focusing on ‘how to make a difference?’ Basically, how people in urban and rural governance could improve current practice through the change of their values. My research explores the possibility of collaborative planning in current governance. I try to make a difference using tools of participatory governance, to bring different interest groups into discussion. Currently, I work closely with Shanghai and Suzhou government in China. We organised Scenario Workshops in Shanghai to get people involved into street-level governance.
Which elements of your job do you most enjoy?
The ‘GLOCAL’ part. I bring researchers from worldwide into our local (rural or urban) planning practice. In this process, researchers and practitioners can learn from each other. I enjoy the discussions and the conflict of different background and values.
How did your studies at Sheffield prepare you for your career? OR PhD study?
My PhD study at Sheffield has influenced my career choice greatly. It prepares me well in two aspects: 1. Research skills for a qualified researcher; 2. Consultancy skills from an international perspective. It leads my career path doing both---I lead research projects in university and also provide consultant services for local government.
What would be your advice to other international students considering studying in Sheffield?
Stay open and be brave. Stay open to learn from people. Be brave to express your ideas. USP is an international department and it is important for people from different countries to communicate with each other.
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