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Chris Fahey, Environmental Planning & Policy

View Chris's paper, Rooftop Hydroponic Agriculture: Commercial Potential in Chicago. The paper was prepared for the required specialization course UPP 570: Environmental Planning & Policy.

What is your academic and work background? What did you do before enrolling in the MUPP program at UIC?

Prior to enrolling at UIC, I attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning and came to UIC following graduation.

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What attracted you to planning and made you decide you wanted to be a planner?

When I was growing up I always wanted a career that would give me the ability to shape the urban environment. I had taken many design classes in high school and I thought my dream was to become an architect. With the hopes to fulfill this dream, I applied to the architecture program at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Fortunately, I was placed in another program within the school of Fine and Applied Arts, Urban Planning. At the time I was unfamiliar with the field but decided to test it out for a semester. After taking a few planning classes I realized urban planning was what I wanted to do all along. I found that my true interest wasn’t in the individual building, but rather the complex interactions between the city, people, and the environment.

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Why did you want to study planning at UIC?

Deciding to enroll at UIC was not a difficult decision for me. I grew up in the Chicagoland area and thought studying urban planning in a global city like Chicago would be the best learning experience for me. After researching the program, I knew UIC would give me the best opportunity to further my education and land a job in the future.

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What are some of the highlights of your time as a student--classes, projects, internships, volunteer involvement?

The highlight of my time here at UIC has been my classes. The workload has definitely been heavier than my undergrad courses but I have enjoyed the challenge. My professors have facilitated this experience by providing encouraging feedback and pushing me to work at my full potential.

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Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I hope to be working in the private sector as an environmental planning consultant. Ideally, I would like to remain in the Chicago area and promote sustainable best practices throughout the region.

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