It started with a distance education course of the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) that he followed in Guatemala. Then, Jose Andres Morales followed the ITC master's programme Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation for Urban Planning and Management. Meanwhile he has already taken another step on the academic ladder, performing a doctoral research at the ITC.
Jose Andres Morales from Guatemala is originally an architect. "When I had completed my bachelor's programme I was especially interested in two broad subjects: design and urban planning. To design in such a way that architecture really starts to interact with its urban context is my passion." Morales was given the opportunity to follow several distance education courses with the ITC through his work for a local municipality. This made him hungry for more, which is why he came to Twente to follow the master's programme Urban Planning and Management in its entirety. "I chose the ITC because of the education's focus on geo-information systems and because it is one of the most renowned institutes in this field."
In the meantime Morales achieved his master's degree and, again at the ITC, started a doctoral study of four years titled “The Urban Syntax to Understand Land Values and the Effects of Planning”The core question of this research is how to design and implement a planning tool to support specific stages in the planning process. An important part of the research consists out of the development of enhanced models that offer insight into the value of the land and the effects of specific planning interventions, particularly considering the role of the urban layouts. "I am researching how you can use geo-information systems to contribute to urban planning processes." The project involves a collaboration between the ITC and a university in Guatemala. The ultimate objective of the programme is to locally strengthen the capacity in the field of land administration, geo-information and city planning."
Being in his first months as a PhD researcher, Morales is still uncertain about what are going to be his opportunities once he's achieved all his degrees. However, he is sure about one thing: " I personally think it is very important to spread my acquired knowledge outside the academic world and to put it into practice. I definitively would like to work as a researcher and consultant supporting the fields of planning and urban development in developing countries."
Morales has been happily living in Enschede for two years. "I really like the Netherlands. It is a beautiful country. Something that really pleases me is that within fifteen minutes cycling you can leave the city behind and see some really pretty rural landscapes: windmills, cows and sunsets. Geographically speaking, Enschede is conveniently located, with Belgium, France and Germany just around the corner."