Urban Planning: A voice for those unheard

Dana Rubin

Dana Rubin '12, Urban Planner

Major: Environmental Studies and Geography

Concentration: Environmental Politics, Policy, and Economics

Study Abroad: Danish Institute for Study Abroad, Denmark

Internship: Cambridge Energy Alliance
About my Internship experience 

Graduate Program: M.A. City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley, CA

A day does not go by when I don’t feel completely indebted to Mount Holyoke. Perhaps unbeknownst to me at the time, but so many components of my undergraduate degree, including my courses, study abroad experience in Copenhagen, and my internship with the Cambridge Energy Alliance walked me right into my career interests.

In 2013, I packed my bags and moved to Los Angeles, California. “If not now, then when?” I worked for an affordable housing developer, 1010 Development. I was tasked with writing financing applications, developing community partnerships, and designing social service programs for low-income and section 8 residents. My interactions with the tenants were the highlights of my year. Having the opportunity to hear stories, many first generation immigrants, was sobering. And in these windows of conversation, I would hear their tribulations with public transit. They would wait patiently for a bus that would inevitably never arrive or stand along dangerous intersections without complaint. “How is it just?” Without reliable transportation, opportunities for work were unavailable to my tenants.

It’s been more than a year since I was at 1010 Development; I moved up the coast to study urban planning, and more specifically, transportation planning. And often, I find myself in public meetings and lectures that fail to raise enough concern about underserved communities.

I think back to my tenants and I’m reminded how important it is to be a voice for those unheard. Urban planning is pretty great, and I’m so excited to see where it will take me... but always with Mount Holyoke in my back pocket.