The UPco team is made up of all sorts of characters, and every one of them has a story. Here’s just one of them.

What’s your name, and your role at UPco?

Josh Kennedy, and I’m a Senior Planner. I’m fairly new to the team – I came on board when I moved over from New Zealand mid-2022.

If you weren’t a planner, what would you be?

Well, before I was a planner, I was actually a musician. I toured internationally with my band for six years… and weirdly, that is where my interest in planning began. We started playing in NZ, but ended up touring all over Australia, Canada, the United States and later Europe. I ended up staring out of the tour bus window and started thinking about the urban environment. Like, who creates it? Who manages the built form? What about the waterways? Who’s making all these decisions? What if they were all left up to chance?

When I’d had enough of touring, I studied planning at the University of Auckland, and everything kind of fell into place from there. What I really love about my job now is the opportunity to help influence all those things I used to wonder about. Oh, and getting good outcomes for clients – that’s important too, obviously.

How do you spend your time off-duty? Is music still a big part of your life?

Being relatively new to Melbourne, I’m enjoying exploring all the great bars and restaurants – this city has great nightlife. I also love having adventures with my son, whether it’s thrift shopping or checking out new neighbourhoods. As far as music goes, I sold most of my gear before moving over, and I’m still waiting for my guitar and effects pedals to arrive. When they do, I’ll get back into it – I‘ve had a few invites to start new music projects here, so I’m looking forward to that.

What are you currently watching, reading and / or listening to?

OK, well I am currently watching ‘The Watcher’. In terms of reading, I read random things – for example, I’ll be watching a movie, feel the need to fact check a statement and end up down a rabbit hole reading for hours. I have to admit that the obsession with planning is an ongoing theme. I’ll be on a tram staring out the window and wonder how certain places ended up the way they are now, which ends in researching the history of the place. For example, I learned that the palatial Victorian homes in Melbourne were funded by the gold rush. And that bricks as building material in NZ were unfavoured due to earthquakes and the large supply of timber milled from native forests. There are some crazy, surprising facts hidden in history.

And in terms of listening… always different stuff on the playlist! Right now, I’m playing Stump Work by Dry Cleaning, Blessing and Runner by Alex G, No Rave by the Black Lips, Voices of Bishara by Tom Skinner, Too Late for Suicide by Thee Oh Sees, Gee Whiz by Lou Reed… and a few other things.

If you were an animal, what would you be & why?

I think I’d like to be a bird. It’d be great viewing the world from above and being able to travel freely (also, I love aerial maps). Keas are great – they’re native NZ parrots known as the ‘Clown of the Alps’. They’re extremely intelligent (outscoring anthropoid apes)… and they can actually damage cars with their beaks, which is pretty funny.

What’s one place you wish you’d got to visit on tour?

One place I’d love to travel to is Korčula (Pupnatska Luka), Croatia. It’s an island off the Dalmatian coast where seven generations of my ancestors lived before immigrating to New Zealand – it’d be great to take my son there. Or maybe just a heritage tour in general because I have Irish, Scottish, Croatian, German, English, Jewish, Scandinavian, Tongan and Samoan ancestry. That’d make for quite a trip!