Jonie de Vera

Urban Designer

Jonie’s experience includes urban regeneration, estates masterplanning, and commercial & retail developments.

She also has a keen interest in meanwhile use interventions, to improve space utilisation in urban landscapes and deliver social value to the community.

What are the key challenges that affect your sector, or are likely to in the next five years?

In the way the construction industry has now evolved to consider embodied carbon and circular economy of buildings, I think urban designers also need to think about the interim uses of vacant buildings and plots to creatively reuse the materials on site, engage with the local community, and test the market before the building design is implemented. We have seen the impact that these ‘small-scale’ meanwhile-uses can have to successfully attract people and foster local economy in places like the CARGO in Wapping Wharf and Peckham Levels in London.

If you weren’t in this career, what would you be?

It would definitely be something creative that allows me to spend less time at a desk. I have always been interested in fashion and as a young kid wanted to be a fashion designer. Either that, or an anthropologist working with tribes to preserve local culture in the Philippines. I would love a mix of both.

What is your proudest moment?

I’m not sure there’s any one moment I’m most proud of. Recently, it was navigating through the start of my career whilst also studying for my masters and learning the responsibilities of being a new homeowner at the same time (I thought this part was going to be easy – I now know better). Going through all of this and managing to achieve a distinction was a crazy and turbulent experience but I did it! Onto the next journey!

Interesting fact that nobody knows about you?

I was an adventurous but accident-prone kid who loved to be outdoors in the mountain province where my grandparents lived. I have nearly died multiple times and have the scars to show for it but have *touch wood* never broken a bone!

Favourite podcast?

My recent podcast binge is ‘No Stupid Questions’ by Angela Duckworth & Mike Maughan, which explores societal behaviours through the most interesting questions. Also, Tori Dunlap’s ‘Financial Feminist’. And because I love great storytelling and folktales, ‘Lore’ by Aaron Mahnke.

Industry bodies:
  • RTPI Licentiate
  • RIBA & ARB Accredited