Alexander Schirrmeister

Foto von Alexander Schirrmeister

Project assistant

in a consultancy office for urban development and planning

 

What did you study?

I received a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the Bauhaus University in Weimar.

 

How did you get into your job?

After finishing my bachelor’s degree I applied for an internship and then started working at the company as a trainee.

 

What were the last three things you did at work?

  • developed an integrated urban development concept for a conversion area of a city as a prerequisite for urban development funds
  • researched current and controversial examples of urban development in Berlin for an exhibition and prepared the result graphically
  • Handled acquisitions of offers for further projects

 

What kind of projects do you oversee?

I am currently working on so-called preparatory studies for an area in the city. These serve to evaluate the current urban and social situation and to point out deficits in the field of urban planning in order to derive goals and measures for development or redevelopment.

In another project we are working on an integrated urban development strategy. A central project is the urban development of a large, derelict, and listed area.
 

Do your work days differ from one another?

Yes, I am faced with new challenges all of the time, both of a strategic as well as a technical nature.
 

What fascinates you about your job?

The task of bringing together a wide variety of demands, ideas, and wishes, while shaping the future of our cities.

 

Do you generally work alone or in a team?

We work in a team as much as possible, because collaboration and mutual feedback are incredibly important aspects given that urban development always needs to consider a wide variety of interests

 

How much of the knowledge you learned during your studies do you need in your day-to-day work?

After graduating, I initially thought I hadn’t learned much or not enough. While doing the work, however, I realized that the important basics were in place and that I would be able to quickly work my way into various issues. Compared to my studies, the topics are much more time-limited, and thus cannot always be worked on in the same depth due to the fact that it’s not always feasible to do so, given the limited available working hours.

 

How much responsibility do you have?

As a project assistant, I have a lot of responsibility as I am in direct contact with the customers. The project managers cannot read and control all tasks and reports in detail. In addition, there is the responsibility to keep an eye on one’s tasks and time management. 
 

What challenges you about your job?

The fact that I am always facing new challenges and tasks, as well as juggling the various interests of the different players involved.
 

Your tips for young professionals?

An internship always helps. The field of urban development is multi-faceted so the various offices, administrations, institutions and initiatives offer different focus areas. In general, I can recommend specializing in one or two topics at the beginning and saying: “Hello, I am…and these are currently my main topics….” Then everyone in the company knows who they can speak to about any of these issues.