A journey to sustainability: Meet Sustainable Mobility Consultant Ruxandra Aelenei
In February 2020, Ruxandra Aelenei enthusiastically joined Mobycon as the newest member of the Dutch and International teams, working as a Sustainable Mobility Consultant. As an ambitious and versatile architect, urban planner and mobility expert, she is interested in and fascinated by the complexity of cities as ever evolving systems. “I view mobility from a broad perspective, giving a lot of attention to its interaction with other complementary urban topics,” she says. Ruxandra brings with her a multidisciplinary education and professional experience in the field of urban planning, at different scales, in the Netherlands and abroad.
On finding inspiration from her childhood home
Ruxandra was born and raised in Deva, a small town in the western part of Romania, during a time and in a neighbourhood where playing in the streets was a favourite past time for the local children. Similarly, walking to and from school – alone or with other schoolmates – was a completely normal thing to do. There were almost no cars (they were also not needed) and no parents dropping children in front of the school.
Over time, she has seen a gradual shift in this behaviour. “Nowadays, if you visit my hometown you would see more cars than people on the streets,” she explains. As a result, she is determined to reverse this trend, not only in Deva or Romania as a whole, but also elsewhere in the world. “I want to contribute to giving the cities and their streets back to people.”
On finding the path from architecture to sustainable mobility
In Romania, Ruxandra studied architecture and urban planning. Following several years working as a project manager for large architectural projects, as a civil servant or freelancer urbanist, she felt the need for a new challenge, deciding to pursue a more international career. This took her to pursuing the international master program at Radboud University in Nijmegen (The Netherlands) and Cardiff University (Wales), obtaining a double degree in European Spatial Planning, Environmental Policies and Regional Development. “The focus on sustainability and environment in urban planning matched my interests perfectly,” she says.
During her studies, Ruxandra also made contacts within the world of mobility and transport and was immediately hooked. Since then she has worked on a number of mobility studies, plans and strategies in the Netherlands, Romania, Georgia, Iraq, the Palestinian Territories, Mexico, Colombia, South Africa, Mozambique. Throughout each project her focus is always on promoting walking, cycling and public transport or a combination thereof and creating sustainable and livable places.
On finding flexibility, curiosity and leading by example
Studying, living and working in an international environment has also impacted who is Ruxandra as a person. “I have learnt how to be more flexible, open-minded, tolerant but also curious and interested in everything new.” She now calls Utrecht home, a city that she loves and where she can bike and walk a lot. She is a very big music lover (especially of genres that have ‘metal’ in their names), often attending concerts and festivals in her free time.
In the last few years she has been quite busy with lowering her environmental footprint, choosing not to drive a car (practice what you preach), traveling for vacations by train (which she highly recommends if that option is available) and adopting a vegan lifestyle (not only in relation with environment, but also with animal rights). Ruxandra is excited to see how her new career path further supports her sustainability commitments.
At Mobycon you will find Ruxandra working on very diverse projects, both in the Netherlands and internationally. If you are interested in learning more about her experience or how she can support your project, contact her HERE.