Born in 1972, John grew up in rural South Oxfordshire, in a very small village tucked at the foot of the Chiltern Hills and on the banks of the River Thames. He appreciated living in an area of outstanding natural beauty and having a 'playground' that extended for miles in to the surrounding countryside.
He moved to Northern Ireland in 1989 and has over time migrated along the coast from Islandmagee via Whitehead, Carrickfergus and Whiteabbey, before finally settling in Belfast City Centre which he considers to be 'home'. Based on this migration pattern, he believes himself to be a 'County Antrim' person, which he has been told is important in the Northern Ireland context.
John knew from a young age that he wanted to have a career in which he could help shape the built environment. He was lucky to be recruited by the Department of the Environment Planning Service straight from school at age 18 and worked for over 25 years in public sector planning in Northern Ireland. He gained experience in all fields of planning including development management, planning enforcement, development plan preparation and urban regeneration. Through this work he developed the broad range of skills and knowledge necessary to understand the form and function of our built environment.
He is passionate about place and gets frustrated by decisions that have resulted in a poor built environment. He often imagines what may have been better and wastes no time in sharing his views with anyone that is willing to listen. Based on these conversations, he has been pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback he has received around his ideas. This has encouraged him to leave the security of the public sector and become self-employed despite the risks involved.
He founded PUDSI in April 2017 as a social enterprise with the purpose of creating a healthy and beautiful built environment that promotes well-being and facilitates prosperity. He provides planning, urban design, mapping and geospatial services. Clients have included The Karl Group, Esri Ireland, Ards and North Down Borough Council, Antrim Towns Development Company and other public, private and voluntary sector organisations.
John appreciates the importance of continuing professional development and prepares an annual personal development plan. He develops his Planning and GIS knowledge by attending conferences and seminars, and reading the latest research, he also develops skills by undertaking short courses. He has undertaken study at undergraduate level in Environmental Planning at Queen's University Belfast and at post-graduate level in Geographic Information Systems at Ulster University.