The shops' urban planner
When large supermarket chains plan new stores, they consider where the best opportunities are for establishing a profitable business. This can be a complicated process that is also subject to the Planning Act and other political considerations. Enter Simon Agersnap. As an urban planner in the consulting company COWI, he prepares analyses and recommendations so that the stores are placed correctly, are the right size and are in balance with the area's other businesses.
COWI's customers also include municipalities that have done retail analyses mapping of all the municipality's stores. The purpose is to be able to plan the most appropriate framework for the retail trade in the future.
- We provide proposals on how municipalities can prioritise retail in the future so that they can put businesses where the best customer base is and avoid empty retail space – within the framework of the Planning Act, of course, says Simon Agersnap.
Simon Agersnap has a Bachelor's degree in Geography and Master's degree in Cities and Sustainability from Aalborg University. For his Master's degree, he tailored his education to be about transport and mobility – with a particular focus on car-free cities. The thesis earned him an internship at COWI in Oslo, but due to COVID-19, he never got to physically work in the Norwegian capital. But it did give him a good contact with the international consulting company, and only a few months after he graduated, he was employed in the company's strategic urban planning department in Aarhus.
Retail planning is a bit of a detour from what he specialised in during his studies, but he plans to work his way back toward the mobility track.
- One of the great things about working in a big place like COWI is that I have colleagues who work in all kinds of different areas – including transport and mobility. They're in the department right next to me, so I'm gradually working in that direction, he says.
Aalborg University is known for using project- and problem-based learning. This means that the students are taught in terms of real-life issues – often in collaboration with companies and authorities. Simon Agersnap is reaping the benefits from this approach today.
- What I use most from my education are the things I learned in our project work. That’s where I gained a lot of my knowledge. At the same time, it prepared me to sit in a project group where you have many different professional backgrounds. Often this means that you don’t see things the same way, but this is only an advantage as COWI is a company with people with many different areas of expertise. Being able to collaborate and talk to each other is really important, and I was guided in learning that throughout my studies.