Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Choosing a concentration

  1. #1
         
    Registered
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    7

    Choosing a concentration

    Hi everyone -

    As someone who is hopefully starting graduate school for urban and regional planning in the near future I am wondering what you all think about different concentrations/specializations. I am finding myself drawn to different things for different reasons (mostly land use, environment and community development.) I am starting an internship with a city councilman in the near future, which I am hoping will help me focus my interests a bit but I would love to hear your thoughts on the following questions.

    In your personal opinions what concentrations best prepare you for...
    Working in the private sector?
    Working in the public sector?

    And
    Which concentrations seem to have the most job opportunities?
    Give you the most/least options of places to live and work?
    Have the best employment prospects?
    Give you the most flexibility within the field?
    Are the most rewarding or frustrating?
    What are the advantages/disadvantages of more specialization vs. a more generalist approach to school?

    plug/ vent away...

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,953
    The simple answer is that any concentration will offer you unique opportunities and prepare you equally well for the workplace. There is also no reason why you can't learn more than one. Although I do economic development, I am also well-versed in long-range planning and environmental issues, and even like to play around with design. Keep an eye out for the right jobs, that offer you a chance to define the work you do, at least to some extent.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    7,061
    You should follow your passion. People who follow their passion tend to be better at it because they are so interested in it -- and that typically leads them to make more money.

    Or: GIS is always good.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Land of the Midnight Sun
    Posts
    128
    Pick a concentration you are interested in. I picked the school I attended because I of a specialized program they offered even though I knew my chances of getting a job in that specialization were slim. If you enter the consulting world after graduation, you can always try to get your company to bid on projects in the area you're interested in.

    However, it's hard to go wrong with concentrating on GIS or transportation.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Down by Dun Ringill
    Posts
    5,991
    Blog entries
    6
    Quote Originally posted by lec9496
    However, it's hard to go wrong with concentrating on GIS or transportation.
    Sound advice. But a well-rounded education, which includes education or training in related fields, such as tribal government, biology, public administration, human resources, etc., will also serve you well in the long run.

    Sometimes the dumbest guy or woman in the room is the specialist, because they cannot operate outside of their area of expertise and can only see the problem from thier bias.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  6. #6
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Posts
    7,295

    Hmmmm.....

    I agree with the others.
    Decide what you would like to learn....specializing in transportation planning is tough, mainly because there's always someone with a PE fighting for the same job....same thing could be said about physical planning and AIA/LA's.... environmental planning doesn't pay as well as the others ( I don't think....) In planning, general knowledge seems to give you an edge over the specific.....real estate planning would be an interesting concentration if available....could be a better way in to economic development/planning jobs...
    Skilled Adoxographer

  7. #7
          roger's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2004
    Location
    austin, tx
    Posts
    118
    The advisor in UT's program told me that real estate development and transportation planning are the best specializations for private sector employment. GIS seems to always be a good skill to have.

    I would think that environmental and land use would be more likely to lead to government employment. Also economic development seems to be a buzzword in gov't circles these days. BUT there are private sector firms doing those things too.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,086
    I chose public policy and land use, because I thought it was the broadest concentration available at the time. However, 90% of my job experience is in development services - i.e., plat review, zoning and public hearings for replats (required under TX state law). This is definetely a more detail-oriented area, and it also tends to be the cash cow for munis.

    I can't disagree that GIS is a good bet, as well as transportation. However, lots of new planners are focusing on those areas, so to stand out you may need to specialize in something a little different. How about economic re/development, community/neighborhood servies (lots of interaction), housing, or the development standards?
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    7,061
    Quote Originally posted by Salmissra
    I can't disagree that GIS is a good bet, as well as transportation. However, lots of new planners are focusing on those areas, so to stand out you may need to specialize in something a little different.
    GIS is expected to grow dramatically, so I think there is plenty of room for it for now. That being said, my focus in my bachelor's is 'housing'. My GIS education was obtained separately, through a certificate program.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Urban design concentration
    Student Commons
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 05 Aug 2010, 5:02 PM
  2. Replies: 8
    Last post: 02 Jun 2008, 9:49 AM
  3. Urban design concentration
    Student Commons
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 02 May 2006, 1:02 PM
  4. Replies: 37
    Last post: 19 May 2005, 12:35 PM
  5. Concentration Dilemma
    Student Commons
    Replies: 9
    Last post: 27 Nov 2004, 7:38 PM