“FES provides an interdisciplinary foundation upon which to grow success in a multitude of fields.”
What is it about planning that you love?
The permanence of the work as it relates to community building is what I enjoy most about planning. We spend years developing plans and ferrying them through incremental development approval processes which is at the best of times, tedious and frustrating. We spend years involved in construction dealing with the technical challenges that building presents. When all is said and done and we can see children and their families utilizing school yards for play and learning, or community institutions expand to serve their communities, or see commercial property interests revitalized, the permanence of our work as far as community building goes, is evident.
Describe a project you’ve seen or been involved with that you think is exemplary? Why?
We’ve had the privilege of working for both the public and separate school board in Halton. The many school related projects we’ve been involved in are exemplary as they provide ideal examples of serving the public interest by furthering education in Southern Ontario. Assisting St. Christopher’s Church in Burlington realize their goal of operating a satellite food bank on their property is also an exemplary example of Community Planning.
How does the design of a space or city affect the lives of citizens? How have you met the needs of your clients through design?
Space design is of paramount importance in our work as the design and production of spaces, whether interior or exterior, significantly impacts the lives of citizens. An example might be the design solutions that Strategy 4 Inc has provided in our mid and high rise condominium urban design work. In these cases, we have typically presented 2 and three storey podiums at street level with residential tower floors above stepping back for each storey at a 45 degree angle. This principal prevents the ‘canyon effect’ by exposing a greater degree of the sky to a viewer’s eye as they raise their eye further from the sky. In this way a more human scale is achieved and a more pleasing and habitable built environment achieved. This approach is also seen as meeting current planning standards and so presents a value added approach to our clients in managing the requirements of municipal approvals.
What does it take to be a successful planner? What advice do you have for recent planning graduates?
There are many things which make up a good planner. Attention to detail and a process oriented approach to the work are key in realizing positive working relationships with municipal staff. Strong, detail oriented work and relationships are key to achieving development approvals. Being well spoken and having a keen ability to argue in writing are also critical to success; it never hurts to have a good dose of charisma and to be a confident public speaker as well. It is important to be a voracious reader and to take in as much information as possible to form the most comprehensive and balanced opinions on planning matters towards making informed decisions and recommendations.