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Cities alumni and careers

Cities Programme graduates find career opportunities across a wide range of urban design, planning and development agencies and consultancies in the private, public and community sectors. Cities alumni form a vibrant international network, and are a valuable source of advice, information and guidance for current students and recent graduates through regular alumni evenings and Cities public events, participation in Studio reviews, and informal contacts. 

See Cities alumni (PDF) left hand menu, to find out what some of our former students are doing - with some highlights below.  If you are a Cities alumnus and would like to be added to the list, change your details or just keep us updated with your contact details, please email cities@lse.ac.uk.

LinkedIn A growing number of our alumni can be found individually and in the LSE Cities Programme group on LinkedIn.  

Class of 2015

Class of 2015 graduation day
Some of  the class of 2015 at the graduation ceremony in December 2015, from left: Nicole Hofert, Melissa Chinn, Samantha Merkt, Verena Stecher, Nelly Estevez, Aude Lucien, Bianca Ryseck (image courtesy of Bianca Ryseck)

Class of 2014

July 2015: Bronwyn Kotzen has been awarded a research grant from the South African Presidency for a project on 'Infrastructures of Separation' together with a research partner. The country's profound socio-economic challenges are reflected and compounded in the apartheid-driven, spatial inequality of its cities; a reality which severely limits transformation and growth.

Mumbai flower sellerMSc City Design graduate Anitra Baliga’s research on Mumbai roadside flower sellers (written while she was a student) featured in an article in the Indian online newsletter Scroll.in. She finds that the informal fresh flower trade in Mumbai is efficient in its functioning and management, as traders regenerate the value of a scrap commodity by efficiently and ingeniously bringing it to buyers before it loses its worth. Where do they get the flowers? Read the article

 Reconstructing Sarajevo cover imageSofia Garcia and Bronwyn Kotzen are editors of Reconstructing Sarajevo: negotiating socio-political complexity, a publication that aims to bring together discourse from planners, academics, architects and students to converge and work towards an understanding of the link between politics, urban planning and architecture, and society in the sustainable urban development of the city of Sarajevo, site of the 2014 MSc student field trip.  To read contributions by fellow students Elizabeth DeWolf, Serena Girani, Claudia Sinatra and Paula Szejnfeld Sirkis (Dynamic Reflections on Sarajevo: an open dialogue on memory, identity and the city) and Ida Lien, Sobia Rafiq and Thomas Walker (The Olympic Bulevar: In-betweenness and peripheries in Sarajevo), Cities alum Gruia Badescu and others, click on image right.

Peter Griffiths is working as a researcher for LSE Cities, leading social media for the recent Urban Age conference in Delhi and putting together a report on the Bloomberg Philanthropies 2013/2014 European Mayors Challenge. Before doing his Master's at LSE, Peter worked in South Africa as a journalist and editor for over eight years. Most recently he served as an associate editor for a national television programme. Prior to this he worked as an online editor for a magazine looking at Africa’s political economy.

Sobia Rafiq is a Fellow at the Centre for Public Problem Solving located in Bangalore, India. It is an urban think tank which is a part of the ‘Imagine Bangalore’ initiative, currently working on issues related to the existing Waste Management system and deficits in the Bangalore master plan. 

Sobia presented her dissertation at the ‘Young Social Innovators Conclave 2014’ (https://www.facebook.com/IndiaYouthFund?fref=ts), which was held at Mumbai’s J.J. College on 10 -11 October 2014. The Conclave was organised jointly by the UN-Habitat and Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation to promote sustainable youth development in India. It brought together 50 young innovators who were selected from all over India and 50 experts from different fields, to share their cutting-edge initiatives and solutions, experiences and challenges in urban development. Her project ‘The Urbanisation of Waste’ was amongst the four selected under the theme of Urban Planning, see Facebook page.

Previous Graduates

Here's a selection of alumni who have been in touch recently with their news:

Latest (Aug 16):

Peter A. Staub (class of 2008), Professor of Architectural Design and Theory,  was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning, University of Liechtenstein. He will also serve as a member of the University’s Rectorate. www.uni.li/peter.staub

Mariana Leguia (class of 2006) of Llama Urban Design has jointly won an international competition to design a new space for Lima Art Museum. The new addition will include new exhibition halls, a library, classrooms, a cafe/restaurant, storage space, a public square, access to a future subway station and a landscape proposal for the park surrounding the museum.  For more please see article in ArchDaily.

Feb 2016: Josh Simoneau (2012) has started a new job with Boston-based architecture and planning office Utile (http://www.utiledesign.com/), who have recently been awarded projects including the Boston Citywide Plan, Cambridge (MA) Citywide Plan, and Boston City Hall and Plaza study. He says 'I have been looking for something more related to the work I did at LSE, and this is probably as good as it gets in Boston, as I will be involved in the intersection of strategic planning and urban form with projects.'

Older updates:

Karl Baker (2011) is Senior Consultant at MRCagney, transport and urban planning consultants in Auckland, New Zealand. His work focuses on economic evaluation of public transport infrastructure projects, integration of transport and land-use planning and economic assessment of planning regulations.

Anjali Mittal (2008) is Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi.

Michael Riebel (2013) works for Hawkins\Brown architectural practice in London, which has set up an architectural thinktank. He writes, 'They have been growing quite strongly over the last years and now they want to develop an urban research department which I am building up at the moment.'

Jeff Risom (2009) is a partner at Gehl Architects in Copenhagen, and Managing Director of Gehl Studio in the US. Jeff leads the San Francisco and New York based teams. In his time at Gehl, he has worked with both public and private clients as well as non-governmental organizations in Europe, the USA, Latin America, India and China. He returns to the MSc City Design Studio each year as a guest practitioner. Jeff recently gave a TEDx talk at the World Bank, on People first design.

Jack Finegan (2010) is currently based in Yangon, working with UN Habitat in the Urban Research and Development Institute. URDI is a collaboration between Habitat and the Myanmar Ministry of Construction, with the aim of promoting urban research and awareness. As well as supporting the government in the development of planning capacity, they are also responsible for producing and disseminating urban research.

Justinien Tribillon (2013) had a peer-reviewed article published in the online journal Metropolitiques (16 April 2014), based on the dissertation he completed for his Master's. In a map-based analysis of the effects of the Localism Act in London he argues that, rather than strengthening local democracy, it is reinforcing urban economic divisions through a new parochialism. Read the article: The Localism Act in London: institutionalising urban divisions.

Ximena Ocampo (2012) has set up an organisation with friends and colleagues in Mexico called dérive LAB: www.derivelab.org.  dérive LAB produced a book called Around the World in 80 Bicycles launched during the World Bike Forum, which took place in Medellin, Colombia in 2015: http://80bicicletas.com/english/.  

Alicia Brem (2009) joined Grosvenor Americas' Washington DC office as an Assistant Development Manager. Her projects include place making urban infill projects in the DC metro area based on Grosvenor's living cities principles.  She completed her Fulbright on Italy's real estate markets: understanding the relationship between historical preservation and new construction, barriers to entry for foreign investments, and sustainability policies in Italian cities. 

After graduating from the Cities Programme Gruia Badescu (2009) worked for two years for the Integrated Urban Development Plan for the Centre of Bucharest, while finishing his research on architectural reconstruction and post-war reconcilliation in Beirut and Sarajevo, conducted with a grant from the National Geographic Society. Gruia is now pursuing a PhD at the Urban Conflicts Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, looking at the connection between urban reconstruction and coming to terms with the past. Gruia took the MSc class of 2013 to Bucharest for the annual fieldtrip, and the class of 2014 to Sarajevo.

Mark Atkinson (2006), Markets Development Officer for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, was awarded runner-up Market Officer of the Year by the National Association of British Market Authorities in September 2012. In October he was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Place Management.

Lawrence Bird (2000) assisted with Schematic Landscape Design on Phase 1A & 1B of the Transit-Oriented Development Yards at Fort Rouge, in Winnipeg, Canada. This project repurposes a former rail-yards for mixed-use residential use integrated with active transit and the recently completed first leg of Winnipeg's rapid transit system.  Lawrence also took part in Re-Imagining Winnipeg, a series of public presentations for new visions of the city.   His proposal - the Post-Prairie Park - addressed vacant inner-city sites along with monocultural suburban malls and parking lots, proposing redevelopment of these sites as mixed-use, publicly-held parks integrating residential, recreational, commercial and light industrial space with urban agriculture and indigenous landscape.

Roberto Burgos Mann (2009) is involved in a technology project in Chile called "Citisent". This platform for social research in online media launched in March 2013. The project is supported by the International Innovation Funding programme of the Innovation Office of the Ministry of Economy of the Government of Chile, and is being incubated at the Universidad Austral.

Angus Laurie and Mariana Leguía (2006), founders of Llama Urban Design, have recently completed a major urban strategy to regenerate and pedestrianise the 64 block historic centre of Lima, Perú. Their project has become one of the flagship projects for the Municipality of Metropolitan Lima.

Shivarao Channapattan (2010) has co-founded a collaborative international design practice - [D]Sync. in Surat, Gujarat, India - in architecture, master planning, landscape and interior design.  It is committed to delivering innovative and pragmatic solutions to enhance the built environment through an inclusive and collaborative design approach. He has also joined the CGP Institute of Architecture, Interior Design and Fine Arts as Associate Professor at the VNSG University in Surat, and taken up the task of establishing a Research and Development unit which will support students and society at large through research dissemination and consultancy services.

Dominic Church (2001)  joined the German Council for Sustainable Building www.DGNB.de to lead the delivery of their international certification and accreditation programme for sustainable urban quarters and buildings. He is also engaged in teaching and research at the Department of Urban Design at Stuttgart University and at at the Sustainable Urbanism Institute at Munich Technical University, with projects in Nuremberg-West, Gelsenkirchen-Herten and Stuttgart-Berg.

Penny Garrett (1999  - the first cohort of MSc City Design and Social Science graduates) is Leader of Urban Design, City Design, City of Melbourne, Australia.

Guy Briggs (1999) is now based in Cape Town where he runs his own urban design consultancy, is a design tutor at the University of Cape Town architectural school (3rd year), is setting up a research network looking at issues of urbanisation, sustainability and form in Southern Africa (City-Form Africa www.city-form.org), and is regional development director for UK consultancy Portland Design Associates.

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