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Old 08-19-2010, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Milwaukee
54 posts, read 151,809 times
Reputation: 26

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I am really interested the field of urban/city planning... the current university I attend doesn't have an urban planning undergrad major, but it does have it for grad school (which I plan on doing). Right now my major is geography, and I might switch it to urban studies. I'd like to get some opinions on what undergrad major would complement an urban planning degree the best??

Thanks
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:21 PM
 
35 posts, read 144,732 times
Reputation: 78
Iím in in a City and Regional Planning program right now and my undergrad degree was in Poli Sci. There is a lot leeway when it comes to undergrad, but I would have to say Geography, Economics, Poli Sci, Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, Urban Studies, and Sociology are great precursors to Urban Planning. Also statistics and computer courses are great to have as well.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,111,324 times
Reputation: 7075
Would someone with a bachelor's in business administration and a master's in accounting be considered for an urban planning job? This is the case with me, and a career in urban planning sounds interesting to me, especially transportation. I'm a roadgeek and love streets and highways for some odd reason, don't ask why.
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
54 posts, read 151,809 times
Reputation: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by itwhite View Post
Iím in in a City and Regional Planning program right now and my undergrad degree was in Poli Sci. There is a lot leeway when it comes to undergrad, but I would have to say Geography, Economics, Poli Sci, Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, Urban Studies, and Sociology are great precursors to Urban Planning. Also statistics and computer courses are great to have as well.
Thanks so much itwhite. Im really intersted in geography to begin with, plus a GIS certificate is included with the major, so thats a big plus!
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
54 posts, read 151,809 times
Reputation: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
Would someone with a bachelor's in business administration and a master's in accounting be considered for an urban planning job? This is the case with me, and a career in urban planning sounds interesting to me, especially transportation. I'm a roadgeek and love streets and highways for some odd reason, don't ask why.
Have you considered doing a quick certificate program in urban or regional planning? The university I go to offers a transportation engineering degree, im sure you'd like that
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Old 08-21-2010, 03:52 PM
 
Location: 602/520
2,441 posts, read 6,118,248 times
Reputation: 1815
Stay where you are. Many urban planners have undergrad degrees in geography.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati
3,341 posts, read 5,921,713 times
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More thoughts from a practicing planner on a career in this field, particularly about salaries, money, and what to expect as a planner:

The well-paying jobs in urban planning has been, for the past twenty or so years, in the suburbs. Generally your upper-middle-class suburbs that are concerned about growth taking on a flavor that they didn't expect or don't want. Many of the suburbs that are new-but-old (not the newest ring, but the one before that) are really taking cluster subdivisions, watershed planning, and form-based zoning codes very seriously. But, much to the chagrin of many recent grads, a part of your job will be making sure that Walgreens has enough parking spaces. But, life working in the suburbs can be fulfilling, and it generally pays well.

An odd rule of thumb is that the places with higher salaries take planning more seriously - and the planners have more power to make decisions. These are good places to be.

There is also a need for planners in major cities. There are several major cities with incredibly rich planning traditions. Denver, Cleveland, and New York City come to mind as a few. Then there are places like Cincinnati that, despite being the first city in the country to adopt a comprehensive plan, have let planning fall away from their priorities. But, in recent years, Cincinnati has rebuilt their department but it doesn't have the institutional fortitude it needs to be really successful.

Next - rural. Rural planning is an odd beast. Truth be told, there isn't much money in it. But, the salary may be comparable with local salaries - which are often quite low. Much of the activity in rural planning is in rural places that have, for one reason or another, become hot tourist destinations or places to retire. You can expect endless battles and turf wars, but ultimately these places need planners to succeed. The other common variety of rural planning is sitting as the sole staff member of a regional or county planning commission. Your job will be to review subdivisions against often outdated regulations, and generally fight an uphill battle trying to update regs and tame a growth-at-all-costs mentality.

Where are the jobs? Well, they are everywhere, though it can feel like they are nowhere. In the most general terms, take a look at a map of the US that shows migration within the country. Those places experiencing positive growth will have jobs. Generally speaking, the intermountain west is a good place for jobs because you have population growth couples with a relative lack of good planning schools. Consider that Ohio alone has more planning schools than Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada combined. Those places experiencing negative growth will have jobs too, but they will be harder to get and generally given to people who attended a well-respected school within say 200 miles. For example, I wouldn't try to get a job in Hartford without a degree from MIT and similarly I would rather have a degree from UW Madison or U of Chicago to land me a job in Milwaukee.

A note regarding type of work - there are contracted planning positions, but any municipality that takes planning seriously has them on as full time, benefited staff people. The contracted positions, nine times out of ten are a really raw deal. But, in this economy, they may be needed to get your foot in the door.
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:47 PM
 
31 posts, read 55,225 times
Reputation: 13
Lightbulb recession proof list worst thing for planning profession

i was attracted to planning, before it was listed as one of the top recession proof careers. now it seems that everyone thinking of graduate school is considering going for planning. i dont think most people realize that planning departments are not that big and the profession cannot support the massive number of applicants that are applying to graduate programs expecting employment after graduation.

i am seriously considering a graduate program in planning. but i am also not happy to hear yet another person planning to attend a graduate program.
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Old 08-26-2010, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,111,324 times
Reputation: 7075
Although urban planning is an attractive career for many people, including myself, I just don't see it as a practical field to get into, especially during a recession that seems like it's never going to end. I say this, because there are only about 38,400 people employed in this field, nationwide. Compare this with, say, accountants, which have about 1,290,600 employees nationwide. This means that, for every urban planning position out there, there are 34 accounting positions. And even accounting jobs are a challenge to find in this recession.

Sources of Information:

Urban planning: Urban and Regional Planners

Accounting: Accountants and Auditors
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Old 09-02-2013, 03:56 PM
 
5 posts, read 23,903 times
Reputation: 11
honestly choose the subjects you are Interested in...and apply them to the field you would like to work in....

For example, I am an International Relations major going to receive my masters in accounting and juris doctor....but i want to work in city planning and urban planning...therefore, research and immerse yourself in the field you would like to work....

it is possible no matter your background...it is all about your will and want....
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