Jared Dalziel talks about 4th year

A day in the life

Jared Dalziel talks about 4th year


Planning is a broad field so our program offers a wide variety of electives—I take Sociology and International Development Studies classes. The variety keeps it interesting, and we have creative flexibility in nearly all of our project work.

Designing the right future

Jared Dalziel isn’t graduating with the degree he originally thought he’d be getting—and he’s more than OK with that. He finished high school wanting to go into architecture and thought a couple of years of studying planning would be a natural springboard.

“I always liked the architecture of the historical places I saw in history books, and thought it would be interesting to see how these buildings were made,” he says. “It was an extremely naïve view on architecture. At the time, I didn't even really know what planning was.”

But he discovered there are few undergraduate planning programs in Canada, and had no desire to move to Ontario to seek one out. So the Halifax native was happy to be able to enter the Community Design program at Dal.

“I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about my hometown,” he says. “The program lets you see the city from a new perspective.”

It was during his second year that Jared knew he wasn’t going to switch programs. He was already interested in sustainability, but his Cities and the Environment in History (PLAN 3005) class piqued his interest in the connection between sustainability and built form.

“I decided to stick with planning over architecture because I like that planners tend to interact with the public more, and normally influence a wider geography than architects,” he says. “Architects normally operate at the site level, whereas planners often examine street-level designs to the scale of an entire city. I find this difference in scale really exciting.”

He's become well versed in the mapping software used in the Community Design program, even working as a TA in the Space, Place and Geographical Information Systems (PLAN 2006) class. It's heightened his interest in geography and made him realize he could do work that would have repercussions far beyond an individual building site.

“I think students coming from high school need to understand that geography is more than just memorizing country names,” he says. “It can be tied to environmental processes and the movement of people. You can create site designs or enact policy changes to alter these processes and solve real-world problems.”

Jared’s main area of interest, though, has become the connections between planning and human health. The topic for his Urban Design honours thesis is noise pollution.

“I’m looking at how municipalities respond to the growing problem of traffic noise,” he says. “It ties into people’s access to tranquil spaces, and problems with their sleeping patterns as well as cardiovascular illness rates.

“I find health works as an important benchmark in how you can measure an area’s success, but it’s often overlooked. You can map access to healthy food, and determine populations that are lacking. Transportation planning provides access to active transportation facilities like bike lanes for mitigating obesity and cardiovascular illness. Another major direction for the future is incorporating our growing elderly population into the design of our cities.”

Jared is designing his own future to revolve around the relationship between health and planning. He’s hoping to get an international working internship with the Canadian Institute of Planners, and then eventually do a master’s degree focusing on health and built environment.

“I’d like my career to focus on research or policy linking health to the physical qualities of neighbourhoods,” he says. “A career in academia or with a governmental health agency would let me do this.