Monash has an outstanding reputation as a forward thinking, problem-solving university.Lachlan Burke
With a passion to solve the problems facing local and global communities, Lachlan Burke quickly found urban planning and design was the area where he could build the skills to tackle the big issues.
While studying his undergraduate degree in Development Studies, Lachlan started working as a student planner, and found he enjoyed the scope and project-focused nature of urban planning.
“I wanted to build on this experience, to further develop my skills in planning.” Lachlan said.
“I was looking for a course that was based on solving real world problems, that would give me the skills to work on a range of projects and in diverse teams.”
Lachlan found the Master of Urban Planning and Design at Monash University had what he needed to progress his career.
“The course appealed to me as it aims to help students solve real-world problems through a combination of both planning and design.”
“Monash has an outstanding reputation as a forward thinking, problem-solving university which is actively involved with programs such as the Public Transport Research Group and RISE (Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments).”
“These programs are of particular interest to me as they research and apply urban planning and design solutions to international development.”
Lachlan credits the Master of Urban Planning and Design for helping him build skills in critical analysis of policy, economic analysis, social analysis, spatial analysis, GIS, Adobe suite, and in creating plans.
“These skills are critical to any work in the built environment in any location. Perhaps the most critical cases which require these skills are in communities with issues such as poor access to services and poor environmental and public health.”
Lachlan and his fellow master’s degree students had the opportunity to put their learnings to work on the Footscray strategic plan project. The students were tasked to look at how the city’s current transport infrastructure is used and propose ways that public transport could be optimised.
“I proposed improvements to public and active transport that could be achieved by creating a series of active infrastructure opportunities. For example, protected bike lanes to the station would encourage more public transport use, providing better travel times for everyone.”
Lachlan notes that you could use this framework to develop solutions for more demanding situations, such as an area within a mega-city with rapid development and consolidation.
“Other situations require the addition of more specific skills, such as an understanding of disaster relief strategy – a field I am keen to participate in – which is why I am especially keen to participate in the upcoming Sri Lanka planning travelling studio which deals with the challenges of post-tsunami disaster planning.”
Lachlan has already begun to hone his skills professionally, working with Movement and Place Consulting.
“We work with various local governments, the Victorian state government and private consultancies in a range of transport projects, from improving pedestrian safety to advising larger-scale changes to the network. The skills I have learnt in this master's degree so far have equipped me to assist in tackling these head-on.”
Lachlan says the Master of Urban Planning and Design is “tailored to assist” in developing knowledge and skills in planning and design.
“You don’t have to start with a Bachelor of Planning, Design or Architecture. If you come with a passion for making cities better for people, you will have a fantastic time making the most of your opportunities here.”