Edison Ting - Development Planner

Edison Ting is a Geography graduate (BA Geography Major) and a Development Planner with the City of Coquitlam.  Learn more about his position and the path he took to get there in the overview below.

Edison Ting

City of Coquitlam

When I first stepped into SFU as a fresh undergraduate student, I was originally looking to pursue a major in economics with the aspiration to work in Wall Street and make the ‘big bucks'. That all changed when I took two electives in Geography (GEOG 100 and 162) which opened up my curiosity about the manifestation of modern cities. With mentorship from professors and participating in the co-op program, it made me realize the diversity in career options in geography. Looking back, switching my major to geography was the right decision!

The spectrum of geography courses provided me with a solid foundation in planning and to become aware of the challenges and problems confronting cities globally. Furthermore, participating in the co-op and study abroad program expanded my knowledge of alternative professions in the field of geography, of which, I had encountered some opportunities to explore while completing my degree.  Upon graduating in 2012, I was determined to pursue my career in planning when I was accepted to the Ministry of Transportation’s Technical Entry Level Program (TELP) as a Development Approvals Technician.

Today I am a Development Planner at the City of Coquitlam, where I influence land-use decisions while taking into consideration social, economic and environmental factors. My role is to act as a facilitator and mediator to identify challenges in projects and effectively work with specialists to find solutions that balances the divergent interests within the community. The most rewarding part of my job is to be able to support and witness a project rise from a concept sketch to tangible results on the ground. Every project is unique, and every challenge is unique. No two days are alike and I still learn something new every day. 

The path I took from SFU to where I am today was an invaluable journey around various cities and organizations (TransLink, SFU Community Trust and City of North Vancouver) that gave me an ideal training stage to explore, test my knowledge, and learn new skills. I would like to express my gratitude to professor Shivanand Balram and John Irwin who pushed me forward with continued support with my urban planning graduate degree overseas. I hope the students at the Department of Geography will also find a profession to contribute a positive influence on shaping equitable and resilient cities.