LSE Progressing Planning

June 7th, 2022

How ORAM fellowships helped our alumni shape their future


Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

LSE Progressing Planning

June 7th, 2022

How ORAM fellowships helped our alumni shape their future


Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Our MSc Regional Urban Planning Studies alumnae Sadiyah Sabree (2018) and Martina Rotolo (2020) told LSE Shaping the World how their ORAM fellowships helped them pursue their career goals and shape their futures.

Urban planning as a tool for social change, Sadiyah Sabree (MSc Regional Urban Planning Studies 2018) – Read more HERE

Receiving the Oram-Stott-Schlusche scholarship enabled Sadiyah Sabree (MSc Regional Urban Planning Studies 2018) to achieve her academic and professional dreams. She shares what her LSE education meant to her, and what she’s gone on to achieve since graduating.

I am from Philadelphia, the oldest of four children in a single-parent home. Although my mum worked throughout my childhood, it was hard for her to support four children on one income. My university education would not have been a possibility for me without scholarships, loans and any additional income I made from working part-time.

The circumstances of my upbringing gave me the determination to succeed – I saw educational achievement as the best way to help my mom and younger siblings finally gain a sense of safety and financial security. At the end of my undergraduate studies, I knew I wanted to pursue a postgraduate degree, but I didn’t have the financial means to follow my dream.

I would not have been able to study at LSE without receiving the Oram-Stott-Schlusche scholarship. I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity – it has been such a life-changer!

My time at LSE provided me with a global perspective on urban planning issues and effective problem-solving skills that have been invaluable to my career so far. I am immensely grateful for my time at the School and all the opportunities I’ve had because of my LSE education.

After graduating from the Regional Urban Planning Studies programme in 2018, I moved back to my hometown of Philadelphia to take up a role in community and economic development. I currently work for a non-profit as a commercial corridor manager for the 52nd Street Commercial Corridor in West Philadelphia.

Commercial corridor management sits at the intersection of urban planning, real-estate and economic development, community organising and advocacy. My role is aimed at improving the streetscape of commercial areas by implementing ideas for programmes, services, physical improvements, and site activations that focus on place-making and community building.

Historically, 52nd Street was a hub for arts and culture for the African American and immigrant community in Philadelphia. One of my professional goals is to return to the legacy of 52nd Street as a place for thriving minority-owned businesses, and a destination for arts and culture opportunities for Philadelphians and visitors alike.

I am determined to become a change-agent for populations that are typically left out of planning conversations, such as those living in public housing or in areas slated for re-development.

I want to create sustainable communities within underserved neighbourhoods and improve the quality of life in low-income areas. I believe that urban planning should be of and for the people.


Opening the doors to a career in academia, Martina Rotolo (MSc Regional and Urban Planning Studies 2020) – Read more HERE

Martina Rotolo joined LSE to study for an MSc in Regional and Urban Planning Studies. She explains how serving as Oram Fellow after her graduation inspired her to pursue a career in academia.

After completing my master’s in 2020, I was awarded an Oram Research Fellowship to work with Nancy Holman on a research project in collaboration with the Town and Country Planning Association.

The project explored the aspirations of English residents for their future home in terms of their health and wellbeing needs, gaining insights into their attitudes towards securing high quality homes. I was involved in the organisation of focus groups and survey distribution, and the work I carried out enabled me to expand my knowledge on the application of qualitative research methods to analyse people’s housing aspirations.

I’m extremely grateful to Richard Oram for his generosity in allowing me the opportunity to conduct research for one year as an Oram Fellow. It was this experience that convinced me to pursue an academic and research career.

I am currently studying for a PhD at UCL Bartlett School of Planning. My PhD research explores whether food markets in London can still be considered inclusive spaces where average Londoners can find healthier and more affordable food, or whether they have now turned into gentrified food halls and touristic attractions.

In the past year, I have also been working on a research project which investigates technological and social adaptation to COVID-19, looking at food supply for vulnerable urban groups in Stockholm, Seoul, Sydney, London, and Wuhan.

I am now working on a series of publications on food access in cities, urban governance, and the built environment. The article ‘Disrupting from the Ground Up: community-led and place-based food governance in London during COVID-19‘, which I co-wrote with Dr Catalina Turcu, has just been published in the Urban Governance Journal. I hope that this work can make a positive impact on the way we address food security in our cities.


About the author

LSE Progressing Planning

The LSE Regional and Urban Planning Studies programme teamed up with LSE London to organise the Progressing Planning series of events on housing, sustainability and advocacy and publish blogs on any relevant issue which refers to planning. Progressing Planning aim is to bring back together alumni from the MSc programme and pairing them up with academics from LSE. Progressing Planning also supports Planning for Justice, a coalition of students and academics committed to anti-racist planning efforts.

Posted In: By our alumni

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