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Thread: Planning in the Eyes of Others

  1. #1
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Planning in the Eyes of Others

    Well fellow Cyburbians: I finally ran into someone outside of our profession that actually knew what planning was. No he was not a developer, NIMBYer, or real estate agent, but a manager at a book store where I used to work. I was excited that I didn't have to expain my profession.
    However, there was a catch. When I told him I was a Planner, he came back with "Were you playing Sim City and finally decide to do it for real?" To which my excitment dwindled.
    Anyhow, has anyone come across this comparison?
    Also, how do you expain your profession when someone asks, "What do you do?"

    If there are any previous threads, please direct me.

    Thanks.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  2. #2
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Here's what the APA says we do.

    Use this as a menu from which you can create a one sentence response.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  3. #3
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    I'd rather just memorize the whole creedo and say the entire peice when asked. I think that'll cover my bases.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  4. #4
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Sim City/ The Sims/ Other Sims

    I say we embrace those simulation games that get people interested in Planning. Hell, I even think we should promote game nights where everyone can get together and play Sim City, the card game.....(What a geek I am....)

    Anyway, I used to tell people that I was a geographer being paid to plan.....but I got a lot of "isn't that a dead science" type of reactions and now just refer to myself as the citizen activist punching bag and/or the guy who has to figure out whether to write staff reports at a 6th grade reading level, or maybe take a chance and write for the 9th grade audience.....others refer to us as the "department that thinks they know it all...."

    Anyway, I'm finishing work on my online translator. It will enable all of us to write educated reports that make us glad we spent $50,000+ on education, only to translate them into 6th grade reading levels....
    Skilled Adoxographer

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    I got tired of "so what do you plan?"

    so now i say "i'm a transportation planner for the planning commission" to which the inquisitive say: "so what you plan streets and stuff?" to which i usually say "no, mostly bicycle and transit routes." "Ohh, OK, that sounds pretty cool."

    the confident say: "what the hell are you guys doin' up on 422 (or some other congested roadway)? that place is a nightmare." to which i usually say, "It wasn't my idea to build it."
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN
    However, there was a catch. When I told him I was a Planner, he came back with "Were you playing Sim City and finally decide to do it for real?" To which my excitment dwindled.
    Anyhow, has anyone come across this comparison?
    When I went to GIS school and we were asked to introduce ourselves, give our "experience" with GIS and/or explain why we were interested in getting our certificate, I got to be the Comic Relief with my honest explanation that "I decided to pursue planning as my profession, tried Sim City as part of my attempts to see if it would really be something I like, and concluded that real planners would kill for the kind of information at your fingertips in Sim City. So I decided I needed a certificate in GIS."

    To this day, when folks ask me "What is GIS???" my reply usually begins with "Are you familiar with Sim City?"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    When I went to GIS school and we were asked to introduce ourselves, give our "experience" with GIS and/or explain why we were interested in getting our certificate, I got to be the Comic Relief with my honest explanation that "I decided to pursue planning as my profession, tried Sim City as part of my attempts to see if it would really be something I like, and concluded that real planners would kill for the kind of information at your fingertips in Sim City. So I decided I needed a certificate in GIS."

    To this day, when folks ask me "What is GIS???" my reply usually begins with "Are you familiar with Sim City?"
    VERY GOOD! I never thought of that. Maybe I'll buy the new Sim City, after all this talk I kind of want to play it.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    When I was in zoning, I just told people "I advise people about what they can do with their property, and if they want to change the use, I review their application and then make recommendations to the County Commission." Simple, and didn't encompass everything I did, but easily understood. Now it's even easier: "I plan our County's recreational trails system and also write grant applications for construction money."

  9. #9
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I've found saying "I'm a land use planner." helps having to explain my job to at least half of the people. Though I prefer "Adminstrative Assistant to the Almighty."
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  10. #10
    At the bar or a party:

    "So what do you do?"
    "I'm an urban planner."
    "What's that?"
    "Well, you know how architects design buildings?"
    "Yes..."
    "I design cities."

    And she falls in love.

    It's so EASY!

  11. #11
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I tell people I'm a firefighter to avoid explaining what I do.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop
    I've found saying "I'm a land use planner." helps having to explain my job to at least half of the people.
    ditto. this is exactly what I say and found it the be about the only explanation I dont have to explain


    And to add to the Sim City discusion, well the first week of the intro. to planning class that i am teaching this semester i asked people if they knew what "planning" was or what "planners" did. I had them wtrite it on a piece of paper without their names and funny enough, most people said "I played Sim City so I understand what it is" or something like that. :-P

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Man With a Plan's avatar
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    I Usually get...

    So you like maps and stuff?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Even though this Bear isn't a planner, I get asked often about my internet habits. Proud to say that I always mention Cyburbia. However, explaining what it is about, what you guys do.....does often end up with, "So you like maps?"

    I smile and say, "Yep."

    Bear The Falsie Planner
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Floridays's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Spatial_Monkey
    At the bar or a party:
    "So what do you do?"
    "I'm an urban planner."
    "What's that?"
    "Well, you know how architects design buildings?"
    "Yes..."
    "I design cities."
    Now THAT'S a good one!
    Before their eyes start glazing over, they usually say, "Oh, you're one of those Engineering types" (some subsitute Architect for Engineering)

  16. #16
    [James Earl Jones VOICE]I am the Land Use God and ye shall bow down before me if ye even think to use your dirt in any way other than as zoned.[/James Earl Jones VOICE]

    I usually tell them that it's my job to help people deal with the permits required for development and redevelopment. If they make that connection, you can then guage that they have a basic understanding and get a little more detailed. If not, I've become used to the awkward silence and ask what they do for a living.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  17. #17
    Cirrus's avatar
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    "So what do you do?"
    "I'm an urban planner."
    "What's that?"
    "Well, you know how architects design buildings?"
    "Yes..."
    "I design cities."
    Close to what I say.

    "So what do you do?"
    "I'm an urban planner."
    "What's that?"
    "Well, you know how architects design buildings?"
    "Yes..."
    "I tell them what kind of buildings to design, where to put them, and what they should look like."
    "Wait... You tell them what it should look like?"
    "Uh huh."
    "So what do architects do?"
    "Nothing important."


  18. #18
    Cyburbian Man With a Plan's avatar
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    At a Christmas Party this past Weekend I got:

    Heeeeey...where you workin?

    I'm a City Planner

    Ha ha "a City Plannah" - so you plan pahties?

    Ha ha no that's a party planner. A City Planner plans cities.

    (confused) So are u like smaht and s**t?



    I can't believe how much I admired this woman when I was 20 lol.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    After a few years, I gave up trying to explain it. Now when they ask what I do for a job, I say I am not sure, but they pay me any ways... it gets a laugh, and it changes the topic.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    You could just admit you spend all day pretending you're working while surfing the 'net.

  21. #21
    Member
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    For most parties it would be sufficient to say "It doesn't involving selling stuff - so you wouldn't understand what I do, or why."

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    My experience is pretty similar to others.
    So, what do you do?
    I'm a planner
    Oh, like weddings and stuff?
    (sigh) No, cities.
    Cities?? Like how?
    I tell other people what they can and cannot do with their own property.
    Ooh, you can do that? Jeez, guess I better not tell you about the accessory structures/petting zoo/daycare my brother has in his backyard!
    This is usually followed by nervous laughter and a change of subject. I get the wedding question a lot, even when I specify "city". Guess girls are just meant to plan weddings, not cities.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian clare2582's avatar
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    I have to remind my own mother weekly about what I do. I don't think anyone in my family thinks its a real profession.

    "I'm kind of the assisstant planner, but I take on some other roles"
    "Planner of what?"/"I thought you went to school for something else"/ "Whatever! As long as you're working" / "OH, are you getting lots of hours?"

    Clueless, they are.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by clare2582
    I have to remind my own mother weekly about what I do. I don't think anyone in my family thinks its a real profession.
    I'd love to get away from planning talk with my family, but since most of my immediate family (excluding the husband) are in the profession or work for city government it's hard to even stop the planning talk.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    Well I'm not actually a planner, but a geography student, but I get the same time of questions:
    So what are you studying?
    Geography
    Oh, like teaching?
    No, plain Geography
    Oh, that's interesting!
    Followed by: So what do you do? (how can s/he say it's interesting if s/he doesn't know what a geographer does?)
    (endless explaination of what a geographer can do and where I could end up working)
    Also, since aparently there is a great misconception that Geographers are Atlases with legs, I generally get a "Where's City/Country/whatever?" to which I answer: Look it up in a map!

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