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Thread: Education resources for citizen planners?

  1. #1

    Education resources for citizen planners?

    Can anyone out there direct me to any sites, places, etc. where a citizen planner can recieve some education in the art of planning? I can't afford to go back to school but I would really like to sorta know what I'm doing. Rural planning would be a great place to start for me. You people have created a monster with your site. Now planning is interesting to me. Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Aug 2001
    South Milwaukee
    Planners Advisory Service Bookstore has a number of publications targeted to this area.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Sep 2001
    skating on thin ice
    Planning Commissioners Journal has resources also.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
    Jun 2003
    De Noc
    Check the numerous postings under Make No Small Plans Sub-forum: Citizen Planners.

    Also The Planning Commissioners Journal, has "Key Sites for Citizen Planners" related Web sites:
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)

    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Jun 2004
    Dennis, MA
    Try the following link:


    It is specific to MA but it has a some educational material on line.
    Planning is much like acting, as my old theater professor used to say, "If you sin, sin boldly, only you know if you are ad libbing." I follow this adage almost daily.

  7. #7

    May 1997
    Williston, VT
    Most state planning associations or APA chapters have educational programs for citizen planners. Talk to some of the professional planners in your area to find out what is available.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Blog entries


    The NBI seminars I've attended have been very useful and the entry level one's are a great way to learn the basics of land use issues. As a planner, I also enjoy getting free legal advice from some of the best land use attorney's in the field, sans politics. Take a look at this site and the Nov. 9 meeting in your state:


    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Jul 2003
    San Diego, CA
    If you haven't already, you might want to check the thread A Citizen Planner's Toolbox.

    Also, I am not clear about the parameters of what you are looking to do. Are you looking for free ways to learn about it? Would you be willing to take some classes but just cannot "go back to school" in the traditional fashion? If I recall correctly, you live in a fairly rural setting so I am wondering if you feel you are unable to physically attend class, quit a job to go full time, etc.

    Also, if I recall correctly, you have an associate's degree. If you would like to get a bachelor's, your associate's degree makes it relatively easy to pursue an extension program where they only offer the 3rd and 4th year classes. I am pursuing such a program: I am working on a Bachelor's in Environmental Resource Management with a Concentration in Land Use Planning and Policy through CSU-Bakersfield's Online Degree Program....and never mind that the website claims you cannot pursue that concentration as an online student. You can pursue a custom concentration, which I used as a backdoor to get a concentration that they offer standard on campus. I just had to come up with 4 classes with a related theme (my theme is "housing"). One of the classes I fought to include in my concentration is Homeless and Public Policy, which happens to be an online class and you can take it for credit through SFSU or you can study it independently for free because the syllabus, links, etc. are all posted publically to the world wide web.

    Just thought I would toss that out there.

  10. #10

    thanks all

    Thanks all, you are, as usual, a big help. I will be busy for a while checking these out. MZ, the associate thet i have is in agricultural production, not very useful in today's world. The problem with going back to school for me is that ditch diggers don't make that much money. Charlotte is only about 20 miles away so both Central Piedmont Community and UNCC are close by. The other factor is time. The real job consumes around 50-60 hrs a week. This leaves little time to get cleaned up [ and believe me, after 8 hrs with a chainsaw, i really need to clean up] and get to class. Not to mention that for some strange reason, my boss, who is my brother, expects me to be at work every morning at 7. He just has no sense of humor.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Jul 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Not to argue with you, but merely to clarify a few things:
    The value in having an associate's is that it means you can enter a program like the one I am in. They do not teach the first two years of the bachelor's. They only teach the last two years. Also, with an online class, no one cares how clean or dirty or you are. The program I am in does qualify you for normal financial aid (pell grants, etc) if you take 2 classes at a time. Or you can do what I do and take as little as one class twice a year and remain in the program. They are very flexible about that. You can miss up to two quarters and not be dropped from the program. That is one of the reasons this program works for me: as a military wife with special needs kids and serious health problems, I have to have that kind of flexibility. I had hoped to be able to complete my degree by next June but I took the summer and fall off, in part because my husband and I are intiating a divorce and it is rather time consuming to separate the lives of two people who have their 20th wedding anniversary coming up next month. Because my program is so flexible, that is not a crisis for me, it is merely an inconvenience and irritation. And my husband is in the military and typically works 60 or so hours per week. He is in a different program at a different school (pursuing a history degree) but mostly takes online classes. The time saved on not having to commute makes it easier to find time to study.

    I am not trying to twist your arm. It is your life and I don't believe in telling people how to live. But you haven't presented me with any obstacles that I see as "impossible to overcome". If you don't want to pursue a degree, I have no argument. But if you do want to and just think it is "impossible", I will be highly unlikely to agree with you. So, um, if you would like me to butt out and get off your back, say so. But if you really want a bachelor's degree and just don't think you can and would like someone to talk you into it, just keep throwing out all the reasons you "can't".
    Last edited by Michele Zone; 28 Oct 2004 at 3:01 AM.

  12. #12
    MZ, Thanks You are a dear person to try to keep me in line. Probably a good thing there is a continent between us. I'll keep trying and you keep smiling. Thanks again

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