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Thread: How do you explain planning to people?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
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    How do you explain planning to people?

    It seems at least once a week I end up with someone asking me what I'm studying. When I tell them Urban/City/Regional/Planning etc they have no idea what I'm talking about.

    So how do you explain what planning is to a regular person who is unfamiliar with the concept? I'm having a hard time doing so in a way that they'll understand and also not use words/concepts that will be way above their heads.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    I tell people I work in land development generally, regulating it for the local government that employs me.
    Last edited by beach_bum; 13 Aug 2012 at 9:16 AM.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  3. #3
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I don't. If they ask, I just tell them that I am a consultant, then ask them to tell me more about what they do.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  4. #4
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    When I was in school I used to tell people that urban planning is how cities are shaped: where houses, commercial, industrial, and recreational uses go. That's sufficient for most people's curiosity. Since I develop affordable housing now, I just tell people I am a project manager.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  5. #5
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I used to tell people that I basically reviewed development proposals to make sure they meet standards set by the community, blah blah blah.

    In my local community there is a very serious and very hostile anti-planning sentiment right now so I usually tell people I work at the video store.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    I used to tell people that I basically reviewed development proposals to make sure they meet standards set by the community, blah blah blah.

    In my local community there is a very serious and very hostile anti-planning sentiment right now so I usually tell people I work at the video store.
    So the community went from not knowing a thing about planning to openly despising it?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ddomin4360 View post
    So the community went from not knowing a thing about planning to openly despising it?
    You have no idea. Once, I was the planner dealing with a possible drug store at the end of our residential street, not in compliance with the comp plan. I could not take that case I didn't want to have anything to do with it.. My doorbell dinged, I answered it, and there stood a major newspaper reporter and we just looked at each other and said "You!". We ended up having a talk where he realized planners weren't all evil. But, so many times, that is the position people take.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ddomin4360 View post
    I
    When I tell them Urban/City/Regional/Planning etc they have no idea what I'm talking about.
    Clearly you need to upgrade the people you hang around/encounter.

    I rarely have ever had an issue having to explain what urban planners do. If I did, kjel's is a good answer. But I can't say it happens more than once every few years. I guess you know where not to live when you graduate.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    I usually tell them what I do is just a bunch of b.s.

  10. #10
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    "Your land, our call."

    ~ ~ ~

    Or tell them you're a firefighter. That's safe.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    "Say you want to open a store in your living room. I determine whether you're allowed to, and if not, what your chanced of getting permission in the future is."
    Maintaining enthusiasm in the face of crushing apathy.

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