Sustainable Cities, MSc in Engineering

Krister Jens, Ramboll LCL

Krister Jens, Ramboll LCL

Krister Jens works for Ramboll Liveable Cities Lab (LCL) in Germany. Currently, he is involved in an urban renewal project for the International Building Exhibition (IBA) in Heidelberg, which is one of the most influential urban development instruments in Germany.

Why did you choose to study Sustainable Cities?

Based on my bachelor in Environmental Resource Management from University of Southern Denmark (SDU) I had covered a range of “rural” issues that I wanted to set into context. The resources that are extracted and produced in rural areas are directly linked to the consumption and disposal within and around cities, which has multiple impacts on the ecosystem in and beyond their hinterlands. Therefore, I wanted to combine my achieved knowledge within environmental resources with urban systems. For me, the loop has gotten completed through my Master of Science (MSc.) in Sustainable Cities, since it reflects a fuller picture of the interdependencies and fluxes between rural and urban areas.

How did you experience your study time at the university? 

I have been very glad to study at Aalborg University Copenhagen. Copenhagen is a lovely city, full of colors and opportunities. After 3 years studying at SDU in Esbjerg, a small city in Jutland, I was happy to come to a bigger city that has a lively cultural scene and a vibrant atmosphere. The campus itself is beautifully located at the waterfront and the staff and students I encountered were warm and welcoming. All these factors combined made the time go by way too fast.

Aalborg University in Copenhagen is centrally located at Sydhavnen

Titel: Consultant
Name: Krister Jens
Year of graduating: 2016
Age: 26
Recidence: Copenhagen, Denmark (July, August 2016)/ Überlingen, Germany (September-December 2016) / San Francisco, USA (January 2017)

Did you do an internship?  If so, would you recommend it? And where?

In my 3rd semester, I got the opportunity to join Rambøll’s Liveable Cities Lab (LCL) in Germany for an internship, which turned out to be a very groundbreaking experience for me later on. Back in that time, my work at the LCL involved research on a wide range of liveability topics with a certain focus on ‘Blue-Green-Infrastructure’. After 4 months, I went with my boss to Singapore and Udaipur, India, for a practical project based on the federal Indian Mobility Strategy.

The photos 2 and 3 show our site-visit in Udaipur, India. The project has been a cooperation between Ramboll and the National University of Singapore (NUS), and is based on the federal Indian Smart Cities Mission, which is an urban renewal and retrofitting program by the Government of India with a mission to develop 100 cities (Udaipur is one of them) all over the country making them citizen friendly and sustainable.

Visiting a market place to sense the atmosphere of Udaipur in India. Focusing on water, open spaces, and traffic/mobility, we proposed urban design solutions to the City government that enhances the liveability of Udaipur’s residents.

Internships can be door openers and reflect promising opportunities to widen anyone’s horizon, both personally and professionally. In my case, the internship led to my first job as a consultant at the Rambøll Group, which I started directly after graduation.

The team, a cooperation between landscape architects from the National University of Singapore (NUS), and experts from the Ramboll Group (Ramboll Sweden, Ramboll India and Ramboll Germany)

What skills from your education can you use in your present job?

In terms of liveability, the MSc. in Sustainable Cities addresses a broad range of frame conditions to envision future developments that support the liveability of city residents. The certain integrative approach that is taught in this program is of high importance for my job. The knowledge about city structures seen as metabolisms is essential for the master planning projects that we currently work on.   

On a site-trip to Zurich during the “Ramboll Young Planners Liveable Cities Summit”, where we learned about the Atmosphere and soundscapes of cities and how we can influence it with urban design solutions throughout various disciplines.

If you need to highlight projects you've been involved in – which would that be?

Based on the federal Indian Mobility Strategy, the project in Udaipur, India was my first practical on-site experience. In cooperation with landscape architects from the National University of Singapore, we proposed the Municipality of Udaipur solutions for a pedestrian-friendly city design within the old town of Udaipur. In order to find out how city residents react on different types of built environments, the conduction of heart variability tests were also embedded in this project.

Currently, I am involved in a master planning project for the International Building Exhibition (IBA) in Heidelberg, Germany, where a former American military base (100 ha) is going to be transformed to a residential neighborhood.