Xuan Sun (MUP '13)

Xuan Sun standing in front of his office.

Xuan Sun standing in front of his office, the Development Research Center of the State Council of the People's Republic of China.

By Tyler Madell

Published September 3, 2019

Xuan Sun’s path into urban planning was shaped by his experience growing up in Beijing, where the population has grown by 10 million over the course of his lifetime.

As a direct witness to China's rapid urbanization, Sun was eager to explore the potential of urban planning to help manage and mitigate the impacts of such growth. After earning a bachelor's degree in journalism in China, he headed to UB to earn a Master of Urban Planning.

Since graduating in 2013, Sun has worked as a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, in Beijing. His work takes him across China, primarily the coastal areas of Qingdao, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, where much of China's recent growth is concentrated. 

Here Xuan reflects on his time at UB and his career thus far as an urban planner.

How did your time at the UB School of Architecture and Planning prepared you for life beyond school?

The critical thinking skills I developed through the program's focus on research and analysis have already helped me signifciantly in my career and in life. My studies at the UB School of Architecture and Planning were rigorous. But by the time you complete the two-year program you will have grown tremendously.

One of the best experiences at UB was meeting aspiring urban planners from around the world. My classmates and friends came from Japan, Europe, Korea and many other nations. I learned so much from them.

What do you hope to accomplish in your professional career?

After five years in the profession, I understand more about the complexity and synthesis of urban planning. However, there is much more to learn. I hope one day I can write a book to help the West understand more about booming Chinese cities and China's urban planning practices.

If you were to offer advice to prospective students from China, what would it be?

Prepare your language skills as best as you can to make learning more effective.