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Climbing the career ladder: Tom Venables

Published on: 14 Dec 2016

Tom Venables, a director of design, planning & economics at AECOM, tells us why he got into planning.


Tom VenablesWhy 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.