Planner passionate about transit and active modes of transportation

“Try not to focus too much on what's coming next and soak up your time as a student to the fullest!”

Jimin Park

Jimin Park

Jimin is a second-year master’s student at the School of Community and Regional Planning with a passion for transportation planning and civic engagement. Through her program, she focused on researching barriers to e-bike adoption, evaluating the relationship between parking policy and housing affordability, and long-range Greenways planning. Jimin is interested in gathering quantitative and qualitative data to better equip decision makers to support a people-first approach to managing the curbside and off-street parking assets. As an intern, she worked with the City of Vancouver to conduct an inventory of on- and off-street loading assets as well as with Atira Women’s Resource Society to conduct a feasibility study on converting parking garages into affordable housing. Jimin is passionate about meaningful engagement having served a two-year term on the City of Vancouver’s Transportation Advisory Committee and having participated in CityHive’s 30Network civic engagement program. As a transportation planner, Jimin hopes to apply a creative and innovative lens to look for opportunities to support active transportation in a way that builds more equitable communities and enhances the public realm. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of McGill in Montreal where she first fell in love with urban planning and public spaces.

Why did you choose to go into your field of study at UBC?

SCARP was always my first choice. I didn’t get into the program on my first try, and in hindsight, I’m convinced that it ultimately better prepared me and gave me a new level of appreciation and drive that I otherwise might not have had. Even through moments of discouragement, I knew this was a path I didn’t want to give up on. Having grown up in Vancouver, it was important for me to choose a program where I could work on local projects and partner with local municipalities and organizations. SCARP’s Planning Studio and its focus on real world application and professional experience was a major draw for me as so much of planning can’t be taught in a traditional classroom setting. SCARP’s cross-listed Civil Engineering course offerings made it possible for me to confidently pursue a career in transportation planning.

Rising Star Jimin doing field work

Jimin doing fieldwork for her internship with City of Vancouver looking at the city's loading assets

What has made your time at UBC memorable?

The moments that stand out are our intramural volleyball games, Koerner’s after class, cheers with peers, and even the countless late-night zoom sessions (the joys of finishing school online). But the highlight of my time at UBC has, without a doubt, been the people that I’ve met. From my cohort to all the professors as well as staff, advisor, and mentors who have inspired me and shared their knowledge and perspectives. A shout to my accountability buddies, my plangineers, friends, and my partner Pasha — thank you for your support and laughs.

How are you applying the skills you learned through your studies at UBC?

While the learning curve as an entry-level transportation planner has admittedly been steep, I can say with certainty that my degree has helped me navigate and approach complex projects and tasks both at work. I’m continuously amazed at the incredible range of planning roles and jobs that this program can lead to. The concepts, theories, and skills that I have learned from my professors and fellow students has equipped me to face new tasks and ask the right questions. Planners often wear a lot of different hats, but I feel more and more comfortable at different planning scales and in my ability to zoom into technical aspects while also seeing the bigger picture.

This summer, as the culmination and final piece of my degree, I am working on finishing my capstone research with my advisor Dr. Maged Senbel. I’m excited to dig into different curbside case studies in Vancouver while exploring the impacts of COVID-19 on these shared spaces.

What advice would you give a student entering your degree program?

Your experience at SCARP is what you make of it! Show initiative, seek out different perspectives, take courses outside of your program, attend networking events, get involved, and most importantly, lean on your talented classmates! I’m eternally grateful to my friends who taught me how to use InDesign, helped refresh my calculus for my civil engineering courses, and struggled through learning how to use SketchUp together. Something that I wish I did from the beginning of my program is to keep a running list of the names and contacts of the speakers and panelist we had the pleasure to meet throughout the degree. The planning bubble in Vancouver is pretty small so it’s important to nurture connections!

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