Growing up in a small city near the Yangtze River in China, Noah Fu had two abiding interests – enjoying the beautiful landscapes and “all kinds of technology”, playing cutting-edge digital products and envisioning the future of the world. He says he dreamed of becoming an architect, but that changed when he went to university.
“At that time, China was enjoying the benefits of rapid economic growth, and also suffering from massive pollution,” he says. “I hoped to make the city a better place to live, so I decided to study landscape architecture.”
During his undergraduate study, Noah found himself less interested in designing landscapes and fascinated with the technologies used for analysing the urban environment.
“Digital trends started to influence everyone’s lives when I was about to finish my bachelor’s degree,” he says. “I believe harnessing, deriving insights and making use of these datasets could help planners or designers better understand the city. That’s the reason why I chose the Master of City Analytics at UNSW.”
Noah says the broad scope of the core courses and flexibility in choosing electives appealed to him.
“I love technology, so I really enjoy things like geographical information systems (GIS), coding with Python and modelling. The lectures covered the newest research and industrial applications, which helps a lot when I am exploring my own career,” he says.
The postgraduate student also took part in UNSW’s Career Ready Mentoring Program (CRMP). Noah was matched with the founder of Astrolabe Group, Michael Comninos, a highly regarded senior strategist.
“He invited me to work with colleagues on some not-for-profit projects,” he says. “That’s where I started to apply what I’d learned at uni to help achieve outcomes in urban change and placemaking.”
Writing his thesis – on the evaluation of cycle infrastructure in Sydney – was one of the most difficult things he has ever done, according to Noah.
“But once you finish, you know everything will pay off in the end. It was hard for me to study alone in a different country, but everyone is so kind here and has offered a lot of help. Sydney feels like home now.”
Noah believes there are no shortcuts to achieving your dreams.
“Be a hard worker and open-minded to opportunities. Be brave! Enjoy every step and make your adventure colourful. The first step is always the hardest, but once you take it, you will see a totally different world.”
He is now considering the possibility of becoming a spatial scientist and is looking for an opportunity to do a PhD in Urban Science.
“I found my true passion in life and it’s time to do something with it.”
The Master of City Analytics provides you with a unique offering, upskilling the next generation of practitioners and policy-makers with the ability to harness the power of data-driven approaches for understanding the inherent complexity of the city. Find out more about the Master of City Analytics.