Charlie is studying his Master of Urban Design while working as a Resource Consent Planner for Auckland Council.
Master of Urban Design student Charlie Tseng grew up in West Auckland and attended Waitakere College in Henderson. He is studying his master's degree part-time alongside his current role as Resource Consent Planner for Auckland Council, having graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Urban Planning (Honours) in 2016.
Why did you choose to study a master's degree at the University of Auckland?
"My love for travel has taken me to major cities across the world and exposed me to many outstanding urban planning and design projects and practices. Having grown up in the suburban context of Auckland, I believe there is a lot of room for improvement in New Zealand and I want to contribute to making our cities and urban spaces better for our future generations. Furthermore, I prefer a hands-on, studio-based course that focuses on practical projects over typical research masters programmes because I find this both more engaging and relevant to real-world practices."
The University of Auckland is the only University in New Zealand that offers the Master of Urban Design degree.
What has stood out for you so far as a highlight of the programme?
"I was pleasantly surprised by the knowledge and experiences of my classmates, with many of them having backgrounds in different disciplines. Some have several years of professional expertise in this field and one is a current member of the Auckland Council's Urban Design Panel. It is a real privilege to be able to work alongside some established professionals and learn from their experiences.
"My biggest highlight of the course so far would be the field trip we took to Taiwan last year. A group of us collaborated with the students from the University of Taipei to work on a real-life project for one of the most prominent non-profit organisations in Taiwan. It was an invaluable international experience that took me out of my comfort zone and challenged my urban design skills and thinking to come up with a realistic proposition in an unfamiliar context."
Tell us about your lecturers and supervisors
"My lecturers and tutors are made up of reputable University academic staff and external professional urban designers with proven track-records in both New Zealand and overseas. They are all very knowledgeable in their chosen expertise.
"All the lecturers and tutors are very approachable and happy to meet with students one-on-one to discuss any concerns and issues that we may have around the course. Also, as the class typically has less than 50 students, it's easy for me to build a positive rapport with the lecturers and engage with them informally."
Do you feel your master's degree will help you achieve your goals for the future?
"My master's degree will give me the qualification and knowledge required to allow me to work on urban design projects within New Zealand, whether that is in design review or development projects. From there, I can build on my urban design experience with the hope of moving up the ranks both domestically and internationally in the future."
What advice would you give to somebody considering postgraduate study?
"My advice is to talk to current or past students, both of whom are easy to find on LinkedIn, about their experiences to find out if postgraduate studies is a suitable option for you. Alternatively, speaking to the University staff is another valuable source for you to find out more about postgraduate studies."
I want to contribute to making our cities and urban spaces better for our future generations.
In his spare time, Charlie is a football referee, officiating matches from the University's UNIM8s to the National League and international tournaments in Australia, China, Spain, France and Finland.