Interning at Tibbalds

Two months ago, we welcomed Dominique Turnbull, into an internship at Tibbalds with the planning team. Dominique tell us how the experience has been for her.

by Dominique Turnbull.


My name is Dominique and I currently completing my post graduate degree in MPlan City Planning at the Bartlett. In my final year of my masters at University College London (UCL), I was offered the choice of working in a placement or studying abroad. I wanted to gain some experience in the English planning sector and better my professional knowledge, so I opted for the placement. Neighbourhood planning, community engagement and estate regeneration have always fascinated me, and has pushed my interest in the planning field into people centred-designs. Tibbalds offered an 8-week placement opportunity to work on live projects and experience the collaborative process of planning.

I began the placement with a thorough review of the projects Tibbalds were currently working on, and the approaches they take towards planning, masterplanning and urban design. I was also introduced to the different moving parts in the design and planning process that are used to develop appropriate development strategies for their clients. I found a parallel between the introductory process, and my post-graduate experience, in the need for detailed research of the planning context and policies early on in the development management process. I also found the teamwork experience to be very similar to the mock master-planning group projects done at the Bartlett. I have learned from this experience it is very important to maintain a constant stream of communication and connection with team members.

My placement was a little more unconventional due to the emergency COVID-19 procedures, and I did not get to go on site visits and had only limited office time with the Tibbalds team. These difficulties were worked around with regular virtual team meetings, and opportunities to discuss and share with other team members my findings and comments on each task. The following weeks also allowed me to improve my InDesign skills by producing a Statement of Community Involvement for a planning application, and having the Tibbalds team provide advice and shortcuts using the Adobe programme tools. I also learned a great deal about planning applications and preparing site appraisals. It was great to learn about the different policies applied to sites and the research process that helps to ensure a comprehensive understanding of each site. As I am originally from Florida, it was also extremely helpful to practice writing planning documents, and learning the correct language and terminology to use in the UK planning system.

I have had a great placement experience at Tibbalds. The team has been extremely attentive and kind in giving me advice and wisdom to further my career in planning and urban design. The range of tasks have also provided me with the tools to continue confidently through the built environment sector, and produce placemaking centred projects. I would like to thank Tibbalds for this experience and would recommend this experience to all aspiring professionals in the built environment.

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