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Sydney’s VAISHALI HINGMIRE tells us about her work in Landscape Architecture and Urban Design
My job title
Currently I’m Project Officer, Urban Design Public Domain at the City of Parramatta Council. As a senior landscape architect I have worked across four countries.
I have been in this job for
The last 23 years, 11 of which were in the Middle East.
My educational qualifications
I have a bachelor’s degree in Architecture, and two masters‘ degrees, one in Landscape Architecture and another in Construction Project Management.
What the job entails
My work over the last 23 years as a landscape architect has included involvement in all aspects of landscape design, planning and construction execution, with project types ranging from large scale master plans, mixed use development, public domain design of tram corridors, large gated communities, hospitals, institutions, residential neighbourhoods, local government areas and construction of large water ways.
Recent work at the City of Parramatta (CoP) includes precinct planning and public domain design for Melrose Park precinct in the Parramatta LGA. This involved working on the Melrose Park Planning proposal and Masterplan Public Domain including its precinct planning, contribution to DCP writing, working out street cross sections, drawing up a public domain masterplan and coordination with the overall process.
In parallel I have also been working on assessment and approval of development applications, planning proposals, working on internal strategy documents and working on the Public Domain Guidelines for the Council which form the basis of all our work here at CoP.
A particular work-related highlight
Not so much a highlight but something that really meant a lot was when the clients of a particular project I worked on in Dubai called me, three years after I had left the country, to inform me that our project had won an award and that my work had been appreciated. The project is Reem Development, phases 1 & 2, the client was Emaar Properties. This is a high-end residential development where I was involved in the landscape design and overall planning of the mini township, including its planting design and on-site liaison.
What’s hard about my job
I love my work in all its forms. Sometimes it is difficult to get the various consultants to coordinate their work and show it on a single drawing, and at other times it is just difficult to get developers to provide for good public outcomes. But if one is positive and perseveres, most times one is successful in the end in getting a good design outcome.
How COVID has affected my work
COVID did not really affect my work. In fact, we’ve had more work throughout this period as the construction industry was still functional and a lot of developers decided to submit for a number of pending projects. So we have actually been busier than ever. We also had some staff leave and thus the work actually doubled as we had a freeze on recruitments in this period.
How the job has changed my life
My work has allowed me to work in various countries and this has helped me meet people from many backgrounds and with varied skills. To me, this means the most. Work as a landscape architect is pretty much same everywhere but meeting good people and good team members is what it is all about. There have of course been challenges; these can be overcome with intelligence, hard work and perseverance, but spending work time (which is pretty much two thirds of your life) with the people you respect and can learn from, is what matters to me the most.
Advice for people who may want to get into Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design
I believe Landscape Architecture is a combination of People and Places. The design is an interpretation of a place through the eyes of the people. How successfully we interpret that connection, is what makes good design. My advice to anyone wishing to get into the field is to be aware of what you are getting into. Do it because you love it. Life is too short, so it is better to do what you love every day.
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