Urban Planner & Designer at Equitable Cities
Priyanshu is an urban planner and designer at Equitable Cities who specializes in transportation planning, design, data analysis, and visualization. He holds a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Planning from CEPT University, India. His work and research primarily focus on transportation planning and design, land use, spatial analysis, and data analysis and visualization. Moreover, his academic and professional experience in the planning profession has also inculcated the art value of good communication, which is not limited to maps, visuals, and interactive platforms, but also persuasive and engaging storytelling for our communities.
1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC memory?
It was fascinating how I joined this group. I had an opportunity to speak with some New York-based transportation professionals during one of the career workshops. After that session, I contacted that person on LinkedIn to ask more questions about transportation planning opportunities. And they recommended that I join this group, and I’ve been a member of the YPT-NYC group for a year now. I am always on the lookout for new opportunities and events within the group. And it was really helpful. It’s wonderful to be a part of this and to be able to share and learn from the other group members. I’m excited to meet some of them in person.
2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?
When it comes to planning, there are many things I’d like to change, but having last-mile connectivity would be interesting if I had to specify changes for regional transportation. Create active transportation or bike-share programs that connect our neighborhoods to major transit stations, for example. I believe that the way we plan our cities, particularly in suburban areas (which encompasses the majority of America), has made us overly reliant on automobiles, and that small changes can make a significant difference. Cities and communities will benefit from differences not only in terms of connectivity, but also in terms of economy, environment, and improving public health.
3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?
People spend an ample amount of time of their day on the streets or commuting through various modes to reach their destinations. It is intriguing for me while commuting to observe people and see how people respond to their surroundings.After my undergraduate degree in planning, I spent considerable time living in two metro cities i.e. Mumbai and Bangalore for work. On one of the monsoon days, while heading back home, as I was getting down to my metro station suddenly it started pouring heavily and everyone was rushing towards finding a safe place and tried gathering under a cantilever. Some held their bags on their head to try to escape the rain. I was amazed when I saw that chaos. That day I realized the role of urban professionals in planning and designing cities beyond just the provision of infrastructure to create livable environments where people can stop, pause and play instead of just treating them as spaces they need to pass by to reach their destinations.These encounters reasonably entrenched my interest in planning and design, especially in transport and urban design where I, as an urban planner and designer, can create a better urban environment by working on the most used public spaces and transit systems.
4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by?
I don’t know where to begin, but I suppose being a young professional in this fraternity, I got an opportunity to work in a diverse sector and with some really amazing people. To start with now, a lot of my work focuses on transportation equity, planning, and research which is exciting. Previously, I had an opportunity to work with the NYC Ferry team where I was responsible for developing a framework for the database system to facilitate the operation and maintenance of the waterfront development and ferry projects. Before that, I provided technical assistance in the implementation of a micro-mobility project for the City of Newark. So, these two work experiences were really fulfilling because I was involved in the planning throughout the project. But prior to that, I had two years of work experience in the field of planning, design, and research in India, where I worked in different capacities with social entrepreneurs, planning organizations, and research institutions.
5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?
I would definitely say build your technical skills, as it will be helpful to brand yourself while giving interviews or working with the team. Don’t limit yourself to your area of interest, especially during the initial years of your career. Find out what opportunities you think are right for you, learn new things, and broaden your skills and knowledge. It will boost your network and help you to identify your area of interest because in the real world things are very different from the academic world.
6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?
It would be amazing to hear the announcement in Abel Makkonen Tesfaye’s Voice aka “The Weeknd” or Alicia Keys since her work is strongly associated with New York.