Cities and Global Development (formerly International Development and Planning) graduate Irina Chicos talks to us about her time in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
What attracted you to study at the University of Sheffield?
I was looking for the best universities in the field of urban planning in the UK, and Sheffield was among the ones on top of the list. I applied to seven universities, I was accepted at all of them and in the end I chose Sheffield for many reasons: ranking, notoriety, RTPI accreditation, location and living costs.
What attracted you to your chosen course?
This course attracted me due to its international perspective, as I already had work experience in the field of urban planning and urban design in my home country of Romania, I wanted to gain knowledge on different approaches in urban planning in other countries.
What is your fondest University memory?
It is more like remembering the overall feeling of being embraced by a brilliantly organised system with extremely kind staff and great lecturers that showed me different perspectives on issues in international development.
Tell us a little bit about your current job.
In my work as an urban planner in Romania, I came across some limitations within the national legislation. That was the moment I have decided to continue my studies through a masters programme in order to see other countries' approach in this field. This MA programme gave me a global perspective on urban planning and sustainable development, and when I came back home I wanted to put this knowledge to use. Therefore, when the opportunity came long, I did not hesitate to apply for a position within a government administration that combines European territorial cooperation with policies for sustainable urban development. I am currently representing Romania in European cooperation programmes, in particular I represent the interest of the Romanian cities in the URBACT III interregional programme that has as a main priority Promoting Integrated Sustainable Urban Development.
How did your degree help you with what you are doing now?
My degree gave me the necessary knowledge on sustainable urban development and the flexibility in looking at the same issue from different angles. This enabled me to sit at the table with other representatives of EU countries and discuss common issues in urban development in our cities.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I envisage myself in becoming one of the best planners, building bridges between European or regional strategies and the local realities of implementing them in order to talk about sustainable planning.