Searching for social justice through urban planning

Travelling from Indonesia to Australia to undertake her PhD, Karina sees close cross discipline collaboration as key to solving complex built environment challenges and ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future.


What were the main factors which helped you to decide on your PhD topic?
When I applied for the PhD scholarship offered by the University of Melbourne, I actually had a completely different research topic in mind. However, during my candidature period, I was given the chance to explore the field in more detail, to engage with lots of literature, and to rethink my personal passion in urban planning. That is how I came across the idea of the urban planning search for social justice.

What attracted you to the pursue your PhD at the Melbourne School of Design?
I was specifically interested in the Melbourne School of Design because it offers a stimulating and encouraging environment for people with various backgrounds (i.e. urban planning, architecture, design, construction) to work together to create a better built environment. The increasing complexities in our society should be addressed through close collaboration amongst people with different expertise and MSD offers an environment which nurtures this collaboration.

Who has inspired you during your study here? 
In academic terms, my supervisors, A/ Prof. Alan March and Dr. Crystal Legacy have been my main sources of inspiration during my studies at the Melbourne School of Design. They helped me to find my research path and support me to discover my own voice. Although I know that I still have to learn more, they never stop encouraging me to do my best, to test my limits to become a qualified scholar.

I also find my family – my husband and our two daughters, my parents, and my sister as key sources of motivation to move further with my research. Their unconditional love and support have brought me here and will continue to become the source of inspiration for me to finish my PhD and to pursue a research and teaching career in the future.

What were you teaching at ITB before coming to Melbourne?
Before coming to Melbourne, I held a junior lecturer position at ITB. I was given the opportunity to co-teach in several courses related to policy planning and development management. The courses include: 1) planning and politics, 2) public finance, 3) introduction to urban finance, 4) planning evaluation technique, and 5) development management and administration.

What are you doing or planning to do when you have completed your studies at Melbourne?
After finishing my PhD, I will return to Indonesia and teach at the School of Architecture, Planning, and Policy Development (SAPPD), ITB. I am also planning to further the academic relationship between SAPPD and MSD through various long-term cooperative activities that may include promoting graduate level education, joint-cooperation projects or research in specific fields of mutual interests, an exchange of scientists, an exchange of data and information and the convening of joint scholarly conferences, workshops, training and other joint activities as agreed upon by SAPPD and MSD.

What would you like to achieve in the urban planning profession in the future?
In the future, I would like to see myself as a potential and promising Indonesian urban planning scholar that continuously contributes to the academic praxis through research and teaching activities. I would also like to take the lead on urban planning research projects that I am passionate about. I would like to be a part of greater movement that aims to bring prosperity, economy, modernity and sustainability to the people inhabiting Indonesian cities.

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