Mary and Matthew’s Story
Mary Molloy and Matthew Cox are current UCC MPlan students making an immediate difference in Cork City through their participation in an innovative city regeneration collaboration.
Current MPlan students from UCC carried out a comprehensive assessment of Cork city’s historic quarter’s specific challenges as well as identifying a strategic planning response to secure its renewal.
Students on this course are not only having real impact in their immediate environment, they are gaining professional experience by working with business owners, traders and residents in a historic neighbourhood undergoing transition. UCC students on this course have contributed towards a solution to challenges facing businesses and a strategy designed to renew and enhance an important part of Cork City. An overall planning-based approach has been put forward, reflecting the long term aspirations of stakeholders in the area. This initiative will be a catalyst for a renewed attention being given to North Main Street and to provide a fresh approach to the area’s ongoing regeneration.
The regeneration issues facing North Main Street are not uncommon in cities worldwide and UCC graduates from our MPlan are well equipped to take on roles globally in this area.
"As an American student coming to Ireland for a masters, I expected some difference in the style of education and there was, but the availability of my lecturers and the small size of the programme made it a smooth transition. I came to the MPlan based on their focus of experiential planning that goes wider than design, which is what didn’t attract me to other Irish programmes.
In general I enjoyed my modules that focused on urban areas in particular and gave us practical experience, such as our North Main Street Project where we were hired out by the North Main Traders and worked alongside them to develop a economic growth plan for the street, were the most rewarding and where I gained my most experience. Lectures can only teach a student so much and having these practical assignments allows a student to Masters that Matters – Website Copy & Content 2 understand their work in a real world context that creates challenges no lecture can simulate.
These different projects have put me on a path towards community development and engagement. When looking at possible employers, these two characteristics are what I look for before anything else. This masters has helped guide me in a direction that I look forward to pursuing and know that it has prepared me as much as education can before my career begins."
"Having studied geography at undergraduate level with a particular interest in human geography, the idea of undertaking a Master’s degree that provides opportunities to engage with real-world planning challenges was particularly appealing to me. The programme presented numerous opportunities to work within a community framework and to identify means of enriching people’s lives. This real world application of the skills gained from the course has strengthened my interests in urban regeneration, policy formation and community development in particular and has reaffirmed my decision to commence a career in planning.
Planning is a career path that has the potential to enrich people’s lives through shaping a quality, inclusive environment. The programme has provided me with an internationally accredited degree that offers an array of opportunities within an exciting and rewarded system that is constantly changing and growing in significance. The programme is focused around workshops and practical projects that mirror the work of a practising planner which produces work that is both rewarding and meaningful."
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