Humans of IHS: Carla Costa

Humans of IHS is a mini-portrait series that features the people who make IHS a unique place. Many of the urban professionals with common roots at IHS, often describe it as a very welcoming, familiar space, where they not only acquired valuable knowledge for their career, but also formed solid ties and friendships with their peers. This is what drove us to create this mini-series: the wish to give others a glimpse of the amazing people that make IHS special.

Carla is currently doing the Strategic Urban Planning & Policies Master track offered by IHS, Erasmus University. She is a Brazilian architect and urban planner with a background in urban heritage as she works for the National Heritage Agency in Brazil for over ten years. She is also a single mother living in the Netherlands while doing her master's degree for over a year.

When asked about her dream job, she says she already has it. She decided to do this master track because she wanted to dive deeper into policy-making to take the knowledge back home. "I think I already have my dream job back in Brazil because I work with heritage in the urban context and policy-making of the heritage sites. It doesn't sound fancy as it is very bureaucratic, but we have to think a little bit ahead so we can evolve, develop and respect what is historical in the area."

After graduation, Carla will be a double IHS alumna. She previously completed our Urban Heritage Strategies short course in 2019, where the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency invited her. She spent three weeks in Rotterdam, during which she got to know the professors and staff members at IHS. 

"I have to say doing a master's degree at IHS was my dream since I graduated in 2003. Back then, I couldn't afford to come to the Netherlands, but it was always in the back of my mind to do this master because I enjoyed the Urban Heritage short course as well."

According to Carla, she would like to solve housing issues in Brazil. Working at the Brazilian National Social Housing Program made her realise that housing issues are linked to inequalities as people cannot afford decent homes. The government must step in to provide for them. "It was a great project, but we couldn't predict how people would adjust to the new situation. If you move people from a favela to social housing, they usually have an emotional attachment to their previous territory even though they moved to a better environment."

Carla says that the IHS community has helped her think outside the box because they can relate to other countries and get to know different solutions they might not have had the chance to think about. 

"It was fantastic to meet people from around the world that have the same issues and to share our version of a solution with each other. I could have done a masters in Brazil, but then I would have stayed in my bubble. "

The one thing she says she could not live in the Netherlands without is, of course, a bike. "I bike everywhere. It is very convenient and easy, and it definitely changes your view of the city."

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