Tamara Fou

College Aide, NYC Department of Sanitation Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability

Tamara Fou in graduation gown

A city is comprised of more than aesthetic architecture and millions of people. It is a system and an environment of its own that needs constant and efficient management and understanding of its works.

This is something Tamara Fou realized as she decided to pursue Tandon’s Sustainable Urban Environments (SUE) program after completing NYU’s Liberal Studies program.

An integrated study of civil engineering, environmental studies and urban policy with an emphasis on sustainability allowed for Fou to delve further into this subject. Fou found that SUE helped her in narrowing down what she wanted to do all thanks to hands-on, project-based courses with professors who work in the field of sustainability and urban design/planning. She was able to explore different methods of solving problems in the context of actual urban issues.

Through internships at the New York City Parks Department, a business improvement district and other organizations in New York City and Tokyo, all of her experiences have given her insight on how sustainability is incorporated into the respective organizations. Other aspects of sustainability that she was able to touch base on were Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), online publication and urban and hydroponic farming. Internships and research opportunities in the city have enriched her time within the SUE program, as she was able to gain work experience in the context of the urban environment and again that she applied in her coursework.

Fou was also a part of a group of SUE students who proposed, planned and piloted a short-term research abroad program at NYU Shanghai, which was funded by the NYU Sustainability grant. The project was sparked by the interest of SUE students who wanted more research experience in the field; in particular, a more global context given how many SUE courses cover urban issues that are relevant not only in New York City but also in other cities around the world. SUE professors and advisors were very responsive and active towards the students’ requests. Fou assisted in writing the grant, as well as creating the project proposal and basic planning of the program. The group of students conducted research on the relationship between the built design of various parts of Shanghai and its respective walkability in terms of the accessibility of these areas via walking and cycling to the public. This was largely in cooperation with NYU Tandon professors Kristen Day and Mariela Alfonzo, who have done past research on this topic in China, and were a very helpful resource and guidance throughout the process of developing the structure of the program in the fall semester, and the report on the research findings in the spring semester.

After graduating in May 2018, Fou works for the New York City Department of Sanitation’s Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability as a College Aide promoting community composting and DSNY’s curbside organics collection program throughout the city. She is also simultaneously pursuing her Masters in Urban Planning with a concentration in Economic Development and Housing, through the dual degree program between SUE and NYU Wagner. She hopes to end up with a career which incorporates sustainable design and thinking in the field of community planning and housing.

A city is comprised of more than aesthetic architecture and millions of people. It is a system and an environment of its own that needs constant and efficient management and understanding of its works.

This is something Tamara Fou realized as she decided to pursue Tandon’s Sustainable Urban Environments (SUE) program after completing NYU’s Liberal Studies program.

An integrated study of civil engineering, environmental studies and urban policy with an emphasis on sustainability allowed for Fou to delve further into this subject. Fou found that SUE helped her in narrowing down what she wanted to do all thanks to hands-on, project-based courses with professors who work in the field of sustainability and urban design/planning. She was able to explore different methods of solving problems in the context of actual urban issues.

Through internships at the New York City Parks Department, a business improvement district and other organizations in New York City and Tokyo, all of her experiences have given her insight on how sustainability is incorporated into the respective organizations. Other aspects of sustainability that she was able to touch base on were Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), online publication and urban and hydroponic farming. Internships and research opportunities in the city have enriched her time within the SUE program, as she was able to gain work experience in the context of the urban environment and again that she applied in her coursework.

Fou was also a part of a group of SUE students who proposed, planned and piloted a short-term research abroad program at NYU Shanghai, which was funded by the NYU Sustainability grant. The project was sparked by the interest of SUE students who wanted more research experience in the field; in particular, a more global context given how many SUE courses cover urban issues that are relevant not only in New York City but also in other cities around the world. SUE professors and advisors were very responsive and active towards the students’ requests. Fou assisted in writing the grant, as well as creating the project proposal and basic planning of the program. The group of students conducted research on the relationship between the built design of various parts of Shanghai and its respective walkability in terms of the accessibility of these areas via walking and cycling to the public. This was largely in cooperation with NYU Tandon professors Kristen Day and Mariela Alfonzo, who have done past research on this topic in China, and were a very helpful resource and guidance throughout the process of developing the structure of the program in the fall semester, and the report on the research findings in the spring semester.

After graduating in May 2018, Fou works for the New York City Department of Sanitation’s Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability as a College Aide promoting community composting and DSNY’s curbside organics collection program throughout the city. She is also simultaneously pursuing her Masters in Urban Planning with a concentration in Economic Development and Housing, through the dual degree program between SUE and NYU Wagner. She hopes to end up with a career which incorporate sustainable design and thinking in the field of community planning and housing.