Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Hanyan’s Easter Placement Experience at City of London Corporation

Hello everyone, this is Hanyan again, you can find out more about me and my time in Sheffield on my profile

Today I’m going to talk about my Easter placement experience.

I’m currently a 3rd year student studying Urban Studies and Planning (MPlan). In order to gain the accreditation of RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute), each student of my course have to have their placement with either a local planning department or a private planning consultancy during their second year summer and easter in their third year for at least two weeks.  These relatively short placements will give students sufficient knowledge and experience in a professional working environment.

In this Easter, I had an opportunity to work at the City of London Corporation for two weeks. 

The Guildhall

In my first week, I was able to work with Sustainable Development Department. The first day at the department was quite busy, I was able to participate and help on the day with my supervisor Fran, for the annual Sustainable City Awards at Mansion House, which was so exciting and inspiring! The Sustainable City Awards are a national ‘green business’ awards scheme administered by the City of London Corporation. The awards are given to organisations which have demonstrated excellence in sustainable development across twelve categories which between them represent the three pillars of sustainable development: the economy, society and the environment. It was so inspiring to see businesses and organisation to do their best to contribute to the environment, it was also makes me rethink profoundly as a Chinese for the sustainable development future in China. I was also able participate in some meetings like Flood Risk Asset Register (Which I had totally no idea what was talking about when I had no background knowledge in this field) and schedule for the Green Roof Enhancement Workshop, which gave me a general idea of what its like in working in the public sector in the UK ( or its kind of mix of public and private in this case of City of London Corp). The later week my duties include investigated and researched about other local authorities (county councils in England) regards to sustainability actions to give CoL an idea of where to improve; writing blog entries for the website of CoL about climate change on Heatwave and Drought advice for local residence within the City and designing the leaflet for the City about the Sustainable City Awards and Transport and Sustainability Forum.

with Sustainable development department colleagues  

some of my leaflet design work

The first two days of my second week I was able to work in the planning policy team with Built Environment Department. My supervisor Janet firstly introduced about the Local Plans, Sustainability Appraisal and SPDs to me and also about the preparation process for the Local Plan, and then I started to work on the summary of the ‘regional’ and ‘local’ plans for London about their key objectives and strategies, which also deeper my knowledge in this field. The second day I had whole day training about ‘planning for daylight and sunlight’, which I was a bit confuse because its all pretty technical stuff and I don’t have any background knowledge in this field. However, it was great to learn this since currently in China they have no such regulation about daylight and sunlight, it might be useful for me in the future :).

Plans for City of London

The last three days I was working with environmental enhancement team which I was the most looking forward to work with. Generally, this team its more about urban design and landscapes for the detailed environmental development within the City, rather than the policy and planning control team working in a great scale about plans and regulations. I had lots of site visits with each team members about the schemes and projects they working on or worked in the past, walking around the City and they introduced me about the history of it makes me appreciate of the environment I’m currently working with. It was also interesting and inspiring how these schemes changed people’s life as well as the past and present difference for the place.  Personally I enjoyed working with environment enhancement team the most because its more creative and lots of exciting things happened everyday.
My site visit at St. Pauls Cathedral 

In general, it was a great experience to work in the City of London Corporation! Have tried 3 different teams within the department of built environment, it's so interesting to see how the planning application has been processed and delivered, how the urban design project has made the impact to the City, how the City deliver it's sustainability actions. As my supervisor Simon said, 'a small change can make big difference.' This is the first time for me proud to be a planner.

International Office Ambassador for China

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