U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 07-20-2010, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,990 posts, read 11,579,296 times
Reputation: 3235

Advertisements

I've always been interested in urban design and city planning, so I've been thinking about going to grad school (I have my bachelor's degree) for urban planning. My main concern is location - the Bureau of Labor Statistics said most urban planner positions are in "affluent, fast-growing communities" which are exactly the type of communities I DO NOT want to work with. My passion lies with small towns and small cities (under 50,000 population) in the Midwest that have experienced economic decline. Are there any jobs working with those types of areas, or is that just a pipe dream?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 07-20-2010, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Kalamalka Lake, B.C.
3,044 posts, read 4,022,515 times
Reputation: 3898
do what Arthur Erickson did when he graduated from school and COULD have interned with FLWright; travel a bit and get out of the country and see what some areas are doing. AE went to Greece, Israel, and all over and it changed his perspective and entire approach.

While Vancouver may be considered to have "urbane" planning juxtapose a visit here to a similarly sized, aged, and located city like Seattle and notice the difference in land use, transportation, and the cooperation of various levels of government on the ground.

Then go see that village in the Phillipines where the site planning was done by the village residents themselves with guidance from professionals. Even location of neighbours was decided by the village (not that small a place, actually)

Model cities and all the information and studies that were needed was done in the sixties. American political will and fore site wasn't there to take it seriously. We duplicated in Ottawa our nations' capital certain model housing concepts favoured in the U. S. and they turned out to be the same crime lab manufacturing facilities AND STILL ARE: I left Ottawa in 1961 and the headlines were the same when I returned in 2008.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-21-2010, 11:11 AM
 
Location: The Lakes
2,372 posts, read 4,455,616 times
Reputation: 1136
I think OP is trying to say he wants to help the cities that are down and out, not up and coming.

It's easier if you know someone.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-21-2010, 08:51 PM
 
Location: MINNESOTA
1,178 posts, read 2,361,146 times
Reputation: 499
I have a Bachelor's in Urban Planning.

I am considering getting my Master's but, would rather get my MBA or something...

Urban Planning leaves you with little room for advancement just because most jobs are in the public sector and that throws out any competition to shine....

Flyingwriter, there are tons of jobs for what you're looking for. I've been tyring to find an Urban Plannign job in Mpls-Stp for 2 years, and the only interviews i've had are for rural communities 1hr+ from the metro.

lmnc.org
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-21-2010, 10:30 PM
 
10,630 posts, read 23,435,147 times
Reputation: 6703
If you haven't already, check into the program at the Humphrey Institute at the U of MN; the school itself has a good reputation, and they definitely prepare students to work with rural communities and small towns, too, and there do seem to be jobs available.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-22-2010, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Sunny L.A.
62 posts, read 173,901 times
Reputation: 44
There are a lot of opportunites in small cities and towns across the country to do progressive and real planning. Big city planning will pay better, but all yu will do is become a paper pusher... like I was, after getting my masters and Phd in Planning I am much happier now in a new line of career.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-22-2010, 08:31 AM
 
Location: England
14 posts, read 44,916 times
Reputation: 17
I'm an urban planner with 10+ years of experience internationally...

there are lots of great planning schools in the midwest. ALL of the midwestern states: Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio have great programs.

for small town planning, I think Ball State is the best.

Overall, I think U of Illinois at Urbana is the top program in the midwest.

I think the field is contracting a bit in the recession, but I do not think that this will remain and expect the field to keep growing in the longer term.

Low salary. That's the only problem I see with your interests in econonically revitalizing small towns. There are some jobs. But, the pay isn't very enticing especially given student loan repayments versus your own possible future goals (such as travel, family, homeownership, retirement, health care). For instance, I have seen senior planners paid $35k-$40k per year in these communities. Teachers make better salaries in some states. A lot of students have student debt that exceeds those numbers. I would say that this work, overall, is VERY rewarding.

Meanwhile, salaries in growing communities - the ones you don't want to work for - pay quite well. I think entry level planners make around $40k and senior planners earn around $60-85k depending on the state and community.

Obviously, I don't know whether you are considering undergrad or graduate education and that can factor into this as well.

Go have a look at www.planning.org - talk to some of the urban planning departments, ask to talk to RECENT alumni about job prospects and find a place that fits your goals. there is even a small towns and rural planning division of the APA. You could subscribe and keep uptodate on the issues impacting these areas of the US.

good luck!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-22-2010, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,990 posts, read 11,579,296 times
Reputation: 3235
Thanks so much for the info! I've always been interested in small town planning (I played Sim City when I was 6) and my interest has grown since then. I'm really passionate about revitalizing small towns, and I'm sure I'll be fine on $35k a year. I live very simply. I'm thinking of going to Minnesota State University in Mankato. I though about the U of M, but I would hate to go to school/live in Minneapolis - it's too big of a city. I'd prefer to stay in Minnesota (you couldn't pay me enough to live in Muncie, Indiana). The only state other than Minnesota that I would go to school in is Michigan - it's where I'm originally from.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-23-2010, 11:31 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,181 posts, read 5,641,689 times
Reputation: 2073
I think also it's good to keep in mind that not all "urban planner" positions use that job title. I'm a GIS Analyst but I work in a planning environment and the titles vary. Most of my co-workers have planning degrees but have titles like "Land Use Analyst" and whatnot. Check with local governments, regional governments, and also economic development organizations.

I work for a non-profit, sort of quasi-government organization, and while the salary might be a bit lower than what I can get in the private sector, I feel like my employer makes up for it by offering excellent benefits. The percentage of money THEY contribute to my 401a (retirement), for instance, is almost unheard of in this current economic climate.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-26-2010, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
8,031 posts, read 16,090,183 times
Reputation: 9382
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingwriter View Post
I've always been interested in urban design and city planning, so I've been thinking about going to grad school (I have my bachelor's degree) for urban planning. My main concern is location - the Bureau of Labor Statistics said most urban planner positions are in "affluent, fast-growing communities" which are exactly the type of communities I DO NOT want to work with. My passion lies with small towns and small cities (under 50,000 population) in the Midwest that have experienced economic decline. Are there any jobs working with those types of areas, or is that just a pipe dream?
Yes, but the jobs aren't rewarding (fiscally, anyway. Very rewarding in other ways if you're successful). I'm in urban planning and while I love the big cities, I'd really enjoy moving out to some smaller ones near where I grew up and playing a role in their revitalization. It can be a reality if you're willing to work long and hard for little money. Establish a reputation, make yourself known and then get proactive.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top