Graduate Student Savannah Willits tells Progressing Planning her experience as a student at LSE in Regional and Urban Planning Studies in 2021/2022.
The twelve-month Master Course, Regional and Urban Planning Studies, at LSE has been the longest and shortest year of my life. The days on campus, in the RUPS room stretched long, but the list of opportunities stretched even longer. As a member of Planning for Justice, it was fascinating to interview Katrina Johnson-Zimmerman and Fizzah Sajjad on contemporary urban issues, as well as learn how to make a podcast in the first place. While volunteering with GoldHost, it was invaluable to learn the child, urban planner, artist, community activist, architect, and student perspective on ‘their’ London. During the workshop, I saw how the traditional sense of gathering public involvement could be questioned and challenged by asking city dwellers to express how they do and want to feel in the city through abstract art.
On the other hand, bonding time with the cohort sped by in a fluid, iridescent blur and rush of cherished memories and adventures. It had felt like I had known the band of LSE compadres for a lifetime, and yet that my life up until this point had been missing without them. As a student representative and founding member of the Post-Graduate Planning Society, it was a pleasure to plan the student trips for the cohort to Barcelona, Glasgow, along with other informal day trips. During these outings, being a part of student-led conversations with academics, housing, public, and urban planning professionals —who were so willing and eager to share their knowledge, insight, and friendship—was unforgettable. In so many ways, my time at LSE was defined by opportunity and belonging.
Now, as I begin full-time at an urban research position in London, I reflect back on the year which hosted me so graciously, if a bit onerous at times, with an appreciation for the time to come into my own.