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Thread: Newbie questions about pursuing community development

  1. #1
    Member
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    portland, or
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    Newbie questions about pursuing community development

    Hi there,

    I am new to urban planning, and think I might like to pursue it. The draw for me is organizing communities to build, restructure, and redesign their environment. I would like to work with working class and low income communities as my background is with workplace organizing, and I see community planning as a potential for organizing along similar lines, namely the struggle for greater degrees of autonomy in our lives.

    I am speaking roughly and imprecisely here. Essentially I wanted to know which programs might foster this sort of work, if it exists? What jobs are there? I would like to work with the communities or as part of a nonprofit though might work in the public domain. I live in Portland, and have been looking at PSU, U Wash Seattle, Illinois Urbana, U Michigan, and Berkeley. I still am largely ignorant about these programs essentially with the exception of PSU. An urban studies student told me most people who go into PSU's MURP program are professionals (he said that they have or do work for the city of Portland or are from out of state while the urban studies people are mostly from in state, but lack the planning certificate)? That sounded strange to me. I have an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and was planning on applying right away, but could possibly take some post-bacc classes and do an internship if that were necessary.

    One thing I have wondered is, as a planner doing what I want to do, would I have to be someone's employer? I am not 100% opposed to some management functions, but couldn't ever be an employer just personally.

    Thanks,
    T
    Last edited by booeyschewy; 24 Jan 2005 at 12:32 AM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    WA
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    Most planners do not do what you want to do, however, some of us do. I would recommend checking out the planners network. http://www.plannersnetwork.org (though something is up with their site at the moment) which is a group of 'progrssive planners.I would make sure you attend a school with an active group. I don't have any suggestions off hand but they have a good guide for planning students called the disorientation guide whcih should be able to help you out.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    P.S. If their site is down and you can't get that guide, I can email it to you but it's a big PDF.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I would certainly look at PSU, as it is a very good program in the midst of one of the best examples of planning in the country. The University of Washington has one of the best urban geography programs in the world, so you might check that out. Lastly, I would seriously suggest you look at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. They have been very involved in the redevelopment going on within that city, and it might be a good match to your interests.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
         
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    Casper, WY
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    I would recommned the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee's Urban Studies program. It may be more in tune with what your interests lie in. Below is a link to the school's website. Good luck.

    http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/Urban_Studies/phd.html

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