01/05/2007 - 22:00

May hooked on planning path

01/05/2007 - 22:00


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Forget Sydney, Melbourne and London, 28-year-old Kareena May believes Perth is full of opportunities for young, creative professionals.

May hooked on planning path

Forget Sydney, Melbourne and London, 28-year-old Kareena May believes Perth is full of opportunities for young, creative professionals.

Ms May, senior town planner with Burswood firm Koltasz Smith, has just been named ‘young planner of the year’ at the Planning Institute of Australia’s national awards in Perth this week.

For the past eight years, Ms May has been heavily involved in promoting the interests of young planners through her involvement with the National Young Planning Group and the Young Planners Conference (YP Connect).

Ms May said it was important young planners had the opportunity to network and share ideas on the direction of the profession and Australia.

“There are so many issues we are dealing with as an industry, not least staff shortages, toxic workplaces and the fact that young people are being given more responsibility earlier in their careers than was previously the case, she said.

“In WA, the resource boom is filtering down and the opportunities it creates are amazing. There is so much to do and the diversity and scale of the developments presents constant challenges.”

Raised in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt, Ms May had early ambitions to be a landscape architect, but her year 12 career adviser suggested she broaden her scope.

In 2003, she graduated from Curtin University with a bachelor of arts in urban and regional planning and a graduate certificate in eco-tourism development.

“I only had to do one year of it and I was hooked. Growing up in the country I was not exposed to a lot of development, so when I came to learn about planning, I was very surprised at how broad a discipline it is,” Ms May said.

“I really like the detailed, urban design aspects of it and particularly seeing a paddock or piece of land evolve into a new community.”

Ms May said collaboration was an important skill for those looking for a career in her industry. Through the NYPG, she said, young planners were being taught how to bridge the gap that often emerged between planners and other disciplines.

Another issue young planners are facing is the increasing conflict between an emerging low-impact planning approach and the state’s decades old Metropolitan Regional Scheme.

Ms May believes the scheme contains both frustrating and interesting aspects – the impact of climate change and the recent contaminated sites legislation among the latter.

 “We see these fresh ideas coming out at the countless breakfasts we attend. Generally, I think the industry is embracing of new ideas and new principles for creating better communities,” she said.


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