Harshada Deshpande: Urbanist
I work as an Urban Designer within the Planning Service of Sheffield City Council. My main role is as a design advocate in shaping places, be it through the planning system or by preparing masterplans for sites or areas and engaging with members of the pubic.
I was born in India, trained as an Architect and have qualifications in Urban Design and Planning. As a newly qualified urban designer, I had the opportunity to work with Pulitzer Prize winner, Dr B. V Doshi on an urban extension to the city of Chandigarh, amongst other projects. In these formative years I did a lot of urban sketching, keenly observing life in public spaces.
I arrived in Sheffield almost two decades ago. Sheffield, a city of seven hills, is set within some of the most picturesque natural settings of rivers and valleys, with abundant views. Neighbourhoods have developed within this rich landscape setting, with each having its own local network of woodland or parks.
In this photo, I am standing in Millhouses Park, which is local to me, with the backdrop of Ecclesall Mill. The park is a mile-long chain of open spaces along the river Sheaf, with the railway line running parallel to it, and woodland in the backdrop. The city has several such distinct linear systems of parks and open spaces, extending out into the Peak District along the valleys and the ridges, making it a truly Outdoor City.
For me, if trees are the lungs of the city, then accessible, high quality open spaces are the heart and soul of a happy neighbourhood and are to be cherished for now and the future.
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