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Edith Leung, a former investigative journalist, is currently working as a Planning Officer at London Borough of Croydon. She has combined her unique professional journalism expertise and planning experience in her volunteer work at BAME Planners Network. In 2022, she directed and produced the pioneering ‘Pathway to Planning’ documentary. Edith also leads the publication of the Network’s newsletter, which is instrumental to the fast growth of the Network.

1. Why did you choose to study planning?

Working as an investigative reporter in Hong Kong before moving to the UK, the best thing was that I could unravel injustice from different walks of life and speak out for them. I specialised in covering news about development issues for 5 years. This experience has given me a broad and in-depth knowledge of development issues from both micro and macro perspectives, especially about how to build a better housing ladder for the many and a discrimination-free environment. 

I interviewed a family who used to live illegally in a subdivided unit in an industrial building just because the waiting time for public housing was too long and the market rent for an ‘ordinary’ home was unaffordable. Yet, they became homeless after the authority took enforcement action to eradicate illegal residential use in industrial buildings.

In addition to housing issues, Hong Kong is a laggard in creating a barrier-free living environment for the disabled. A dwarf revealed  that  newly-built facilities like toilets are too high that could never fit them.  A visually impaired complained the guidance paths are too narrow and disjointed, thus very inconvenient for them. 

I am attracted to urban planning as I feel obliged to throw some light on how we build a better living environment in our cities based on the true stories I have been told, the grassroots that I have met and the social injustice that I have witnessed.

2. What current initiative in planning excites you the most?

As a Planning Officer at a Local Planning Authority, we need to deal with residents, politicians, developers and different experts in the development industry. I am  thrilled the most by the experience gained through communicating and collaborating with different stakeholders. I enjoy working together to achieve our common aim - to build a better living environment for communities.

3. How does the BAME Planners Network benefit you?

Volunteering  for BAME Planners Network definitely has provided me with lots of opportunities to meet planners at different stages of their careers. Members of this network are all very enthusiastic about planning and always share some latest news which helps enhance my planning knowledge. The Network also organises a lot of events about promoting diversity and inclusion which would help recruit more BAME planners to the industry. 

4. What are your future aspirations?

I hope to combine my journalistic skill and planning knowledge to write more blogs or vlogs about planning and development!

5. What are your aspirations for the Network? 

During my research for 'Pathway to Planning' documentary, I noticed that BAME planners have always been underpresented. However, it is somehow difficult to account for this situation. All we can do is try to attract more BAME planners into the industry and equip them to become more versatile. I therefore hope the Network would provide more mentoring opportunities in the future.

Hopefully we no longer need to keep calling for more diversity in the industry when the profession is already diverse enough. I trust that day would come soon if we all work together to promote diversity and inclusion now.

Edith Leung

Meet the Members Series

Edith Leung

Planning Officer

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