What institutions did she attend?

  • Mucurapo Girls’ RC School, Trinidad
  • St. Francois Girls’ College, Trinidad
  • University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Jamaica- BA in Geography and Social Sciences
  • School of Urban Planning, University of Hong Kong, China- MSC in Urban Planning
  • School of Urban Planning, McGill University, Montreal, Canada- PhD in Urban Planning

Other Achievements

  • Award for excellence in teaching, research and service from The University of the West Indies, 2008
  • Recognised in 2006 as one of several co-authors given the Zayed International 2nd Prize for the Environment as a contributing author to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report: People and the Northern Range, Trinidad
  • Awarded a Canadian International Development Agency fellowship for doctoral studies, 1992
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant for doctoral fieldwork
  • United States Fulbright Research Fellowship
  • First place prize in course on UK Planning Law and Practice by the Royal Town Planning Institute, the United Kingdom, 1988
  • Awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to pursue a MSc degree in Urban Planning, 1988


She enjoys spending time relaxing with family and friends. She also enjoys reading and going to the beach.

Michelle Mycoo (Date of Birth: 7th Aug 1962)

Caribbean Women in STI

Dr Michelle Mycoo is an urban planner with considerable international experience. She worked as a consultant at the Urban Division of the World Bank, Washington, DC, USA. She was a member of the bank’s Working Group of Urban Specialists, who focused on delivering services to the urban poor. She has studied extensively the uniqueness of the Caribbean small island developing countries, and her findings have been widely disseminated in policy briefs, technical reports and scientific publications. She has also conducted workshops on water management, natural hazard risk reduction and land use planning in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Her current research interests are this century’s challenging issues of water management, natural hazard risk reduction and climate change.

Dr Mycoo also enjoys teaching and sharing her wealth of knowledge. She is a senior lecturer in the Department of Geomatics Engineering and Land Management at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine, Trinidad. She coordinates the MSc programme in Urban and Regional Planning, and lectures in the programmes in land administration, civil engineering and environmental engineering. As a mentor, she encourages her students to strive for excellence and educates them on using the natural resources of their small islands sustainably because the future depends on it.

Michelle Mycoo was born on 7th August 1962, in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. She grew up in a close knit and loving family. Although she won the Junior History Prize at secondary school, she was passionate about studying geography. She had excellent geography teachers who made the subject interesting. She often dreamt of travelling to places to have a first-hand experience of how people interacted with their environment. On her first journey to China, she remembers travelling through the countryside and thinking how much it looked like the photographs in the textbook, Peoples of Other Lands. She ventured to Hong Kong to study urban planning because of the distinctive planning involved in addressing its high population density and limited space for development.

She advises students who want to pursue careers in urban and regional planning that their reading must be well-rounded and they must be articulate and creative. They must also work hard at making the public understand that land development can be balanced with environmental management.


What is a urban planner?
Urban planners guide the development of urban and suburban areas. They aim to optimise a city’s land use and resources in a sustainable manner to provide for housing, health, schools and recreation, business and industries among other needs. They take into consideration many issues: sustainability, environmental conservation, watershed protection, landslide susceptibility, flooding, coastal erosion, air pollution, traffic congestion, waste disposal, zoning and building codes, aesthetics and planning laws.

Urban planners gather information about the unique economic, social and environmental problems facing an urban
area. They study and report on the current use of land for residential, business and community purposes. They formulate plans for the construction of various types of buildings and infrastructure such as roads and parks. They may also help to draft legislation.

Areas of Specialisation

  • Environmental planning
  • Housing and development planning
  • Transportation planning
  • City design

What do I need to study?

At CSEC and CAPE: Geography, Economics, Biology, Environmental Studies

A bachelor’s degree in city and regional planning, urban planning, geography, architecture, engineering or environmental studies can be completed, followed by a master’s degree in urban and regional planning.

What skills and traits do I need?

  • Critical thinking
  • Skills in problem solving
  • Enjoyment of fieldwork
  • Ability to interact with people from various types of communities
  • Ability to work in multi-disciplinary teams

Famous Urban Planners

  • Sir Patrick Abercrombie
  • Colin Buchanan
  • Patrick Geddes
  • Raymond Unwin