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!!
Planner Profile is a regular series that features female urban planners and the vital work they do to build better cities. This week, we are featuring Markie Anderle, who also casually makes ~atmospheric~ vibes on her soundcloud
AGE: 25 CURRENT EMPLOYER: Public Matters, an LA-based Social Enterprise LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA FAV ORDER AT FAV RESTAURANT: French Fries w/ mayo @ Amsterdam Falafel, Washington, D.C. FAV URBAN PLACE: The West Side Market, Ohio City, Cleveland, Ohio
Q: How did you decide to become a planner? A: I decided to become a planner because I was working in Washington, DC in the field of public policy, and was getting frustrated at how removed it was from everyday problems cities like DC actually face. I saw planning as a way of participating in change movements at a much more ground level focus point.
Q: How is urban planning related to your career? A: Some people in the program at USC have started referring to themselves as “urbanists” which is a term I really like because it doesn’t necessarily imply a traditional planning career. I’d say urban planning has informed the way I think about the challenges we face as a society and is one of the avenues through which I can participate in remedying those problems.
Q: Tell me about a woman who inspires you! A: That’s a tough one, there are a lot! I think I have to highlight my Mom though. She is a civil rights lawyer who has spent her entire career trying to make educational spaces more inclusive, both working for the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and now leading UVA’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights. Across the board–the way she treats her staff, how she interacts professionally, the issues she is passionate about, are all qualities (among others) I really admire. Her work has inspired a lot of my focus on accessibility issues in planning, as well as my participation on campus in conversations about women’s rights and Title IX.
Q: Adulting is hard. How’s it going? A: I think how well I think I’m doing at adulting changes day to day–but overall, I’d say pretty well. I’m definitely not ready yet to live a traditional lifestyle or settle down, which is why I’m actually spending most of the summer in Europe studying in Germany and working at a music festival on a farm in England.
Q: How would you describe your music? A: I think the piano stuff I’ve been putting out lately is actually good background/easy listening. I’ve got a lot in the works for piano/guitar with vocals, so once that’s out I’d love if the words resonated with others. Writing for me is a big catharsis and I guess my preferred aesthetic would be as a storyteller. In general I’d say I’m really inspired by the Fleetwoodmac 70s-esque vibe, which my friends would probably say gives me a little bit of a hippie aesthetic at times.
Planner Profile is a regular series that features female urban planners and the vital work they do to build better cities. Our first Planner Profile features Minjee Hahm, who works for the Planning Department in the City of Glendale!
AGE: 24 FAVORITE URBAN SPACE: The Highline in NYC FAVORITE DISH: Pork souvlaki with wild rice from Kentro Greek Kitchen (Fullerton, CA)
Q: How did you decide to become a planner? A: It was a stroke of luck actually. I had the opportunity to be an intern for the City of Buena Park during my senior year in high school. My supervisor was a Management Analyst but had background in Urban Studies and Planning. One day, she recommended that I try Urban Studies and Planning. That is how I chose the Urban Studies and Planning major at UC San Diego, where I graduated with a BA– and here I am!
Q: How is urban planning related to your career? A: I am currently one of the Assistant Planners for the City of Glendale, so I would say urban planning has everything to do with my career so far! Every day I work on planning cases or assist the public with any planning and zoning questions they might have. I study planning case laws and try to stay up to date with things going on in the planning world so I can help plan better for the City and make it a livable and desirable place for the residents and developers.
Q: Tell me about a woman who inspires you! A: JK Rowling, not only because I am a Potterhead, but also because of her amazing ability to create (literally) a whole new magical world. She worked so hard to be where she is today–an influential author–and never gave up even in times of hardship and rejection.
Q: Adulting is hard. How’s it going? A: Adulting is horrible. Cooking for myself and being healthy is hard. Going to the gym is hard. Waking up is hard. Trying not to look forward to Friday every Monday morning when I am trying to get out of bed is hard. But that is what life is I suppose! I am trying to be less boring of an adult though (Boring Adult: wake up, eat, work, work out, eat, sleep, repeat), by making plans hang out with friends and family every chance I get.
Sustainability can seem like a Big Idea that doesn’t fit into your daily life. When you’re trying to get through Monday without tripping on air and spilling your oatmeal in the middle of Starbucks (haha, just hypothetically), recycling the oatmeal container is the last thing on your mind. Here are some really simple/cool start up ventures I’ve come across that apply sustainability concepts to every day consumer goods- all you need to do is use them!
Nohbo Drops A Shark Tank venture, Nohbo offers biodegradable shampoos and conditioners in a cute raindrop shape. It’s both aesthetic and reduces plastic consumption. Check it out here: http://www.nohbodrops.com/about/
BAKEYS These are spoons made out of grains and hot water- you can eat them after you’re done with your meal, or simply throw them out in your garden/outside of the Starbucks where you lost your self-pride after use. Comes in flavorless or in Savory/Sweet: http://www.bakeys.com/product-category/products/
Imperfect Produce 20 billion pounds of produce go to waste in the U.S. annually simply because they don’t look good enough to be displayed on your Trader Joe’s shelves. Imperfect Produce reduces food waste by delivering these ~born this way~ fruits and veggies at a reasonable price per box to your doorstep. Check them out here: https://www.imperfectproduce.com/food-waste-101
….and that’s it for this post. tldr; you don’t have to be a hardcore hippie to be an eco-hero (aka Not An Asshole). Switch out things you use every day for natural alternatives!
Thanks for checking out She Grows Cities. I created this website to connect with other urban planners who are passionate about sustainability, building stronger communities, and increasing diversity in the planning profession. I’m excited to connect with you!