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SGS scholarship reaffirms recipient’s passion for Indigenous planning and sovereignty.

Posted June 07, 2023

SGS Economics and Planning Graham Larcombe Scholarship Rechelle Brooks

Having just begun her career, Rechelle Brookes wants to find the right path for her passions. Receiving the SGS Graham Larcombe Scholarship has reinforced that value-driven work is important and recognised.

A recent graduate from the University of Melbourne, Rechelle has set her sights on a career in planning for just futures. “I truly appreciate SGS’s support for a participatory approach to planning. It is a vision I hold dear and one that this scholarship will contribute to building.” She said.

Rechelle was awarded the SGS Economics and Planning Graham Larcombe Scholarship for academic excellence and a genuine commitment to addressing inequality and social disadvantage. Among her many ambitions, Rechelle wants to develop more democratic planning processes:

We need to move beyond current forms of stakeholder engagement. The planning process should democratically involve communities. If we create more space for community voices, we can more accurately reflect their values and needs in the built environment.

— Rechelle Brookes

This vision includes Indigenous perspectives. “I have a passion for Indigenous planning and strongly believe that the Western system needs to make space for Indigenous sovereignty to co-exist.” She said.

She plans to use part of the scholarship to travel to Aotearoa New Zealand, where she wants to connect with experts driving a democratic and participatory planning approach. At this early stage of her career, Rechelle hopes to learn from planners who are working towards decolonising the planning system and creating more equitable cities and regions.

The SGS scholarship is named after the late Graham Larcombe, a champion of the people. Graham was a co-consultant, teacher and honorary adviser at SGS. He was passionate about equality of opportunity, environmental sustainability and the proper, inclusive governance of our cities, towns and regions — for him, these were integral elements of a truly prosperous society. For SGS, the scholarship is a way to perpetuate Graham's ideas and beliefs said SGS Principal & Partner Patrick Fensham.

Graham appreciated the capacity of communities to take control of their destiny and transform their environment. He participated in their struggles and cherished their triumphs. He loathed corruption and campaigned fearlessly against it in his own community. And he lived his beliefs in his everyday life while also inspiring those he worked alongside – including me. This scholarship is a way for us to reward, motivate and provide opportunities for students who share Graham's areas of interest.

— Patrick Fensham, Principal and Partner

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SGS Economics Planning Pat Fensham
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Patrick Fensham

National Leader for Urban Policy & Governance | Principal & Partner

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