Tom Venables, a director of design, planning & economics at AECOM, tells us why he got into planning.
Why have you chosen planning as a career?
To make the world a better place – and because of my interests in geography, architecture, politics and design.
What was your first role in planning?
A year out placement with WS Atkins in Cardiff in their planning and transport team. I did a lot of consultation and survey work, inputted into some master plans and counted a lot of cars.
What does your current role involve?
I manage a variety of strategic planning projects in the UK and overseas. I also contribute to AECOM business development and thought leadership about how cities develop and become more integrated through strategic planning.
What projects are you working on now?
I am working with the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation to develop a planning framework for the garden city that has been identified around the international station. I have been involved in writing growth and infrastructure frameworks for three county councils that tie together housing and economic growth with infrastructure development. I have also recently been involved in preparing citywide plans for Dubai and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
How do you see your career developing?
To carry on doing interesting city-scale projects in the UK and overseas. In the next decade I imagine that we planners will have an important role to play in addressing how towns and cities become more resilient to a changing climate, how we house a growing and shifting population, and how we respond to technological advances. We have a fundamental role to play in tying together the relationship between transport and urban growth, and managing infrastructure expansion with less public funding.