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Thread: Tough market to find job

  1. #1

    Tough market to find job

    I was reading a number of complaints/responses to why it is so hard to find a job in this field. I was startled to discover one signifigant omission that everyone seems to forget- the United States has been unsder development for over 200 years, quite frankly every one has moved to areas that are desireable to live in and as such many of those areas already have some sort of planning and or land use regulation in effect, the few communities that don't have plainning or land use regulation abound with consultants graduates and politicians falling all over themselves trying to get in on the game. Planning as I have discovered after working for sometime in the field is essentially a dead art! Take heart and don't waste time in graduate schools, you must specialise, become an expert in some field related to planning such as building regulation/inspection, zonning property taxation/assessment you will find that the gap to becomming a municipal planner etc. much narrower to cross. As for working for cunsulting firms, forget it, staff planners abound in this industry and more often than not do not want competition for reasons that I already mentioned, you agian may make yourself attractive to employer's in the private sector by again specialising in some peripheral field such as Geographic Information Systems, leagal research, surveying, statistics and or data collection. Also one area I have had marginal success in is cartography and remote sensing any planner needs maps and this area is still important, Especially with the dawn of the information age. I would not recomend for anyone to ge involved with planning as a career, the field is overcrowded No one is receptive to taking on unseasoned planners and even work study is often full of pitt falls.

    remember Specialzation is the key to the door!!------J.C.

  2. #2

    tough market to find job

    There's obviously a mismatch between what aspiring planners and planning schools believe is necessary and what actually constitutes "planning" in the US today. Perhaps there was once a time, and maybe there are some few places where it still is, where planning was a process of imagining a better physical environment, consistant with economic and technological trends, and then creating a set of regulatory and incentive mechanisms to make such an environment come about. What do we actually have today? Development driven by short term economic considerations. "Not in my back yard" self interest politics. Small time politicians ignorant of any historical or intellectual foundation for planning making important decisions. Government entities not spending any real money on planning. You name it. Now, am I really complaining? We've certainly had plenty of examples of "planning" that resulted in serious damage (certain examples of urban renewal, highway development, etc.) Bottom line... All you idealistic planning students, social engineers, Daniel H. Burnham wannabes, "change agents" had better understand how things really work and find a way to make a living accordingly.

  3. #3
    Apr 1997
    In a Van Down By the River

    tough market to find job

    Well said.

  4. #4

    tough market to find job

    The author's point of view is well taken, but I have to disagree. As a generalist, working with eight different and diverse communities, the generalist point of view has served both myself and the communities I work for well. I am sorry you believe that planning is a "dead art." I find that I learn more and more about the art of planning every day.

    It is true that often we no longer make grand plans, and instead put out erupting fires and respond to the market. But I believe the lack of plans is in part the result of specialization. Engineers have told us how wide roads should be without examining the consequence. GIS technicians map the location of sewer lines, but do not examine the consequences of their location. Building inspectors and code enforcement only enforce the rules, but rarely think of the long term consequences of what they enforce. Don't agree, just look at the wide residential streets, along with deep front yard setbacks that encourage high speeds. The myriad of codes and ordinances that cause confrontation with every developer and citizen. Planning is not a "dead art." Rather, planning has forgotten what it is about.

    To "remember" what planning is about, we have to often look to the past, at the way planning was done in the beginning. We must combine this past knowledge with the knowledge and skills we have today. Why can't we plat the lands and the streets, locate civic buildings and create functional relationships between different land uses. We can, but not if we all specialize. Specialists, while necessary and essential cannot accomplish this task, only generalist planners can. Generalist planners attempt to see the entire picture, to understand the long term consequences of today's policy decisions. To combine and learn from the expertise of engineers, building inspectors, tax specialists, lawyers, etc.
    To learn from the past, and the mistakes of today.

    I have found that the planning commissions, mayors, building inspectors and citizens that I work with and for, have come to value my opinion and advice. For I provide them with a different perspective and help them realize the consequences of their decisions. It has not been easy at times, and it is often an uphill battle to get those in power to understand and accept what a true and complete plan can do to make their communities a better place. But, it has been worth it, and often times successful and rewarding.

    P.S. Yes, you might need to specialize to "get you foot in the door." I did not, but every situation is different. Just do not lose that enthusiasm, generalist planning works.

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