Giselle Osborne

My favourite subjects were architecture history and urban design theory, disciplines that explore the intersection between politics and the city.

Giselle Osborne

Master of Urban Planning and Design student Giselle Osborne has been awarded Outstanding Student Project at the Planning Institute of Australia’s 2020 Victorian Awards for Planning Excellence and 2021 National Awards for Planning Excellence.

Giselle’s winning project, Rewilding Industrial Land, was created while undertaking Master of Urban Planning and Design’s The Sprawling City planning project studio, led by academic supervisors Liton Kamruzzaman and Laura Harper. Her work combines passion, creative vision and a finely honed knack for applying an advanced technical skillset.

Speaking on her winning project, Giselle said:

Rewilding Industrial Land was created for a planning and urban design studio I took in my second year of study. It was an idea which seeded through mapping land use, when I started to notice a correlation between biodiverse land and employment/industrial land in the outer suburbs and growth areas of Melbourne. It turns out it's no coincidence.”

“The rare grasslands of Melbourne have been decimated by agriculture and the conversion of land for residential uses, so a lot of biodiverse land is now in small patches in the in-between! In a nutshell, my work is about trying to conserve and improve the condition of these really rare ecosystems through the planning system and with some urban design guidelines.”

You can view it here: Rewilding Industrial Land.

We sat down with Giselle to hear about her recent award and how she is shaping her career as a sustainable and equitable future urban planning and design professional.

How did you end up studying Urban Planning and Design at Monash?

My undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Arts, and I have a major in Politics and International Studies. After taking a break from university, I started studying architecture. I am really interested in urban environments, but architecture wasn’t the right fit for me.

My favourite subjects were architecture history and urban design theory, disciplines that explore the intersection between politics and the city. I ended up attending an information session for the Master of Urban Planning and Design at Monash and was won over immediately.

I remember Carl Grodach (founding Director) talking about the course. There were a few points – like the close relationship students have with teachers and about training planners with design intelligence – which really won me over.

What was your favourite part of studying Urban Planning and Design?

Definitely the people. I’ve had a really positive experience studying in a small cohort where I’ve been able to develop good relationships with our teachers and other students.

Our teachers have been so supportive during COVID-19, and dealt with the challenges of switching to a virtual learning environment really well.

That said, this year I’ve really missed being on campus with my classmates. We had a lot of fun last year, exploring and learning about the city together!

What are three pieces of advice you would give to a student who is interested in studying Urban Planning and Design?

  1. Get to know your local area. Find out about its Indigenous heritage and about its colonial history. Try and learn about its ecology and geology. Connect with your local community and with your neighbours. Having attachments to your local area can help you to understand why planning conflicts happen and to be a more empathetic planner.
  2. Be experimental. Our teachers are really open to us trying new things and developing our design intelligence. Think creatively about ways to express yourself and your planning and design ideas. You can draw, make videos, make maps, take photos, create sound recordings etc. These tools can all be used in different ways to make planning ideas more accessible to a wider audience.
  3. Get involved. If you are able to, get involved with the Monash Association of Planning Students (MAPS). There are also lots of networking events held through the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) which are open to students. This is a great way to get to know people working in the industry, to explore career options or to get to know your fellow students.