Planner Profile is a regular series that features female urban planners and the vital work they do to build better cities. Here is Dongyang Linda Lin, who is a planning professional from Guongzhou, China tackling transportation policy issues in LA!

AGE :32
CURRENT EMPLOYER: Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)
FAV ORDER AT DINNER: Tiramisu!
FAV URBAN SPACE: Berlin

Q: How did you decide to become a planner?
A: I love sketching and painting when I was a teenager, and was interested in designing small spaces and houses. I chose architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture as my top 3 targeted majors, and was eventually admitted by the Department of Urban Planning. I really enjoyed my undergraduate learning urban planning and design, so I decided to pursue a master’s degree and work as a planner. I feel motivated and fulfilled when realizing that my work can create a better environment and make people a better life.

Q: How is urban planning related to your career?
A: I was an urban planner working for Guangzhou Urban Planning & Design Survey Research Institute (GZPI) before attending USC. I worked on land use planning and urban redevelopment projects. The most meaningful experience for me was conducting the micro-redevelopment plan for Shenjing Village. This is the city’s first pilot program using participatory planning. We collaborated with college faculty and students, and private companies in building a negotiation platform, in which local residents, local officers, non-profit organization and third parties can work together to plan and build their community.

Q: Tell me about a woman who inspires you!
A: Huiyin Lin (Phyllis Lin), the first female architect in modern China. She is an outstanding woman spending her life in measuring, recording, studying and preserving Chinese ancient architecture. What is the most difficult challenge international students face in graduate school in the US? 

Q: What is the most difficult challenge international students face in graduate school in the US?
A: To understand local policy and planning issues is really hard for me because I don’t have any living experience before I studied at USC. My first semester is extremely difficult for me. In addition to adapting myself in a brand-new environment, I spent a lot of time searching for additional information about every policy that I learn in class to understand its impact on local residents. Luckily, I have wonderful classmates who kept explaining the background and contents of policy issues that I had difficulty with! I am super grateful!!