Siobhan studies to shape cities with urban design

Siobhan Hudson came to the Master of Urban Design after completing undergraduate architectural studies in Sydney. We caught up with Siobhan, now in her second year at Melbourne School of Design, to hear about her experiences.

How has your educational background shaped your graduate studies?

Architectural education gives a great foundation for solving problems creatively and showing complex solutions simply – it teaches a way of thinking and communicating. More specifically, it now complements my graduate degree after stressing understanding user experience, engaging a range of clients, proficiency in design documentation and a passion about the impact positive design can make.

What has been your favourite subject?

Opportunistic Urbanism, which was an interdisciplinary travelling studio to South Holland. Using a brief set out by the Deltametropolis Association in Rotterdam, this international knowledge exchange looked at how we can increase liveability in our cities and offer future residents an array of lifestyle and residential choices. Its particular agenda focused on alternative funding models and multiple cohousing precedents – rich with present day problems and optimistic about bottom-up approaches. I would recommend this to every student.

What’s your favourite place on campus?

The University Food Co-op for a home-cooked goodness fix, or one of the hidden gardens throughout. I particularly like the community garden by the Chemical Engineering building.

What are the most valuable skills you have learned?

How to actively reposition our role as a facilitator, not a capital ‘D’ designer. Embracing community consultation and engaging the skill set of local stakeholders is crucial to the acceptance and success of any project.

An understanding of the wide range of data analysis software that allows urban designers to visually communicate city shortcomings and opportunities to engage policy makers, stakeholders and change makers.

Finally, to begin understanding the interconnected web that links politics, economics and development in order to create feasible business cases for change.

What advice do you have for other students thinking of studying at Melbourne School of Design?

Melbourne is experiencing rapid change which means it’s also a hotspot for innovation and design discussion. How and where to house our growing population? How can we be more connected amongst increasing densities and creeping social isolation? What services do we need our centres to offer? How will people get around and how do we entice people out of their cars?

Academics and professors from across the globe are invited to form MSD’s lecture series so to study within the beautiful NADAAA/Wardle studios during the day and sit in on these lectures in the evening is a unique and immersive opportunity.

What do you see being important to the future of our built environments? What do you hope built environment professionals will achieve?

Access to high quality, cleaned datasets (like those from AURIN) now let us visualise the inequalities in our cities. Where you are born and to whom is having an effect on your lifestyle, education and professional opportunities.

As one of the most highly urbanised populations we must shape our cities to provide an equal platform and allow everyone to reach their potential.

What would you like people to know about Urban Design?

As a relatively new course that often gets confused with Urban Planning, this course actually straddles architecture and policy making. It encourages thinking at a human scale in every piece of the city to begin to think how interventions can make that experience more enjoyable and connected, and to inspire more active citizens.

Thinking about studying at MSD?

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