Ed Steane

Student spotlight details

Being able to compare, in real-time, urban experiences from throughout the Global South and the Global North was a unique and inspiring academic experience for Ed when undertaking the MSc in Sustainable Urban Development.

'At the time of enrolling on the MSc, I was Chief of Staff to the Australian Government's Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities. I originally trained as a land-use planning lawyer, but in more recent years I have primarily worked in areas of environmental, planning and cities policy.

'My decision to pursue the MSc primarily came from a desire to increase my foundational knowledge of urban development theory. While I have worked in areas of cities policy for a number of years I was keen to better understand the theoretical landscape that my work was occurring in. The expertise of the teaching staff, the calibre of the fellow students selected for the course, and the University's overall reputation for academic excellence were key drawcards.

'Undertaking study (and having assignments due!) after a few years away from University education and while working full time was the most challenging aspect for me. Fortunately, both the teaching and administrative staff are very understanding and supportive of these challenges faced by 'life-long learners', particularly at the start of the course. The course work and assignments always felt like they were occurring for a purpose and were helpful in developing my understanding of topics being taught.

'I found the 'international' flavour of the MSc - in both the tuition and the student cohort - to be the most rewarding aspect of the MSc. While the course is taught in the United Kingdom, the course used case studies and information from around the world, reflecting the diverse origins of the student cohort. Being able to compare, in real-time, urban experiences from throughout the Global South and the Global North was a unique and inspiring academic experience.

'I recently joined the Greater Sydney Commission in Australia as Director, City Planning Strategy. The Commission is an independent statutory body with specific responsibility for strategic planning in Greater Sydney. The role involves working with the community, government and industry across the wide range of sustainability, liveability and productivity issues affecting a rapidly developing global city such as Sydney. The knowledge and insights I gained from my MSc are proving to be invaluable in my new role.

'The MSc is a fantastic course and well worth applying for if you are interested in urban development and cities issues. The course provides a great grounding in urban development policy, and the teaching approach provides a unique opportunity to be part of an international cohort exploring city issues occurring around the world. Cities are going to play a pivotal role in our post-COVID recovery and this course provides critical tools and insights for practitioners involved in city-shaping processes.'

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