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Old 05-30-2014, 04:04 PM
173 posts, read 195,901 times
Reputation: 99


I'm majoring in geography and have learned random things about physical geography, climate change, GIS, and about culture/people in a few parts of the world.

I think urban planning would be the best fit for me because:
-I am interested in the environment/sustainability in general but I would prefer to work in office environment. I hate being outside in the sun, mosquitoes, humidity, heat, rain etc. which is why.
-I have a hard time memorizing complicated math equations involving Greek letters, etc., like Planck's Law and all of those in the meteorology class I nearly flunked. So engineering and architecture are probably not good tracks.
-I enjoy the mental process of working with calendars, planning and organizing my own day to day life etc.
-I'd like to get good at GIS/map making, i.e. using ArcGis, but could never do software programming, html etc. which sounds extremely tedious and it sounds like GIS techs are supposed to be able to do that sort of stuff in addition to using the software...
-I prefer to work alone, am an introvert, but my years of experience as a sales assistant and house cleaner gave me aptitude in working with a variety of clients, and having finesse in different social situations. I'm uncomfortable giving presentations, but could probably improve with experience.
-I prefer living in/near cities for access to amenities, and am going to stay rooted in the NW coast of North America, which sounds like a good geographical region to be a planner.
-I enjoy researching and processing information, and have always been able to come up with a pretty good research essay after consulting many sources.

I'm much more interested in the environment over social side of planning, though am prepared to deal with fussy groups like NIMBY's.

Is there any reason I really shouldn't go into planning (I'd get a master's degree in it first of course)?

I am also doing my undergrad in Vancouver, BC but am from the US and have the option of staying put here or in Victoria maybe to get my master's, with a good chance of becoming a permanent resident after, OR head back to the US (likely Washington because I like it) for my master's. I definitely don't want to ever move back to California, even for school...too dry, hot, and crime-ridden. Tough decision!

Also are there any books related to planning that an aspiring planner should read?
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Old 05-30-2014, 04:34 PM
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 30,012,036 times
Reputation: 26693
I'd say look for an internship.

Here are some great books on cities I have read lately:
These are readable for people not in the industry (like me)
Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time: Jeff Speck: 9780865477728: Amazon.com: Books
Amazon.com: Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design eBook: Charles Montgomery: Kindle Store
The Option of Urbanism: Investing in a New American Dream: Christopher B. Leinberger: 9781597261371: Amazon.com: Books
Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism: Benjamin Ross: 9780199360147: Amazon.com: Books
The Walkable City: From Haussmann's Boulevards to Jane Jacobs' Streets and Beyond (Urban Studies): Mary Soderstrom: 9781550652437: Amazon.com: Books
Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do About It: Mindy Fullilove: 9780345454232: Amazon.com: Books

All have good info on how our cities were designed (and how policy shaped it) and why some cities are successful.

And this is a real deal hardcore planner book:
(This goes really deep into parking requirements, a road designer friend of mine told me she read the intro and that was sufficient, read the cliff notes)

And here is a book thread:
What are some good books on city planning or urban planning
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Old 05-30-2014, 06:43 PM
8,329 posts, read 14,674,425 times
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I linked more in that thread, but start with this one: http://www.amazon.com/American-Citie...4275394&sr=1-1
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Old 06-01-2014, 11:05 AM
Location: Atlanta, GA
328 posts, read 257,555 times
Reputation: 281
Edge City
Crabgrass Frontier
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:27 AM
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 30,012,036 times
Reputation: 26693
Don't forget to read Jane Jacobs and Jan Gehl as well.
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:54 PM
2 posts, read 1,267 times
Reputation: 10
Jane Jacobs! I am a master's student at UCLA and would like to let you know that you have good chance of getting admitted somewhere with geography major because I think universities like to have people who know GIS well, especially in the field of urban planning. Good luck!
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