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Thread: Minneapolis, Madison, and Milwaukee

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Minneapolis, Madison, and Milwaukee

    Which is a better city to go to study planning in, Minneapolis, Madison, or Milwaukee. I am leaning more towards wanting to go to school in the Midwest than in New York. i would be contemplating a Masters in Urban Plannig or Masters in Public Policy. Any suggestions or comments about any of these cities/programs?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    All are great cities. I don't know about the school in Minneapolis, but the climate is much more harsh than Madison or Milwaukee.

    Madison's planning program tends to more focused on theory while Milwaukee's is tailored more to physical planning. Both are excellent programs in my opinion. Madison is a much more diverse and left-leaning campus.

    Check on the # of admissions to the program - I hear Milwaukee's has been declining.

  3. #3
    As a graduate of UW-Milwaukee a little over two years ago, I can offer mixed reviews of the program at UWM. (There are other UWM alums on this board that may have other opinions).

    I think that UWM is a good program, not a great program. There are some outstanding faculty members and some mediocre faculty members. However, I will say that all faculty members (when I was there) were very helpful and were always available for help. They also seem to try and listen to concerns and criticism and try to do something to address them. They have some great GIS instructors too. The key at UWM, in my opinion, is getting a good internship because that is the only way you will be exposed to what real planning as all about.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  4. #4
    Member Glomer's avatar
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    Mankato State University, Minnesota

    You probably haven't looked into it........it is the only other school in minnesota you can get a masters in urban planning. It is fairly small, but growing. I am on my last two classes before I finally get my degree. Professors are wonderful....easy to work with. The program is much more hands on, project based than the University of Minnesota, which is all bull sh$# theory courses. Also, you can actually find a few good conservative planners (always in the right).

    I have been on a few field trips with the University of MN students........and they are full of themselves! What I have heard and believe to be true, is that if you want a job in minnesota....go to Mankato....if you want a job out of the state, go to the university of Minnesota. I have been a planner for two years at a small town where my boss got his graduate degree from Mankato......I have recently taken a job for a private planning company who's boss also went to mankato and recently hired two other fellow students of mine from mankato.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I would suggest looking at what they offer beyond the Planning Department. Minnesota has an outstanding Urban Geography program. Madison offers great public administration and a landscape architecture program with a growing ecological/native landscapes focus. Milwaukee has a good Architecture program. Courses from these might all complement what you learn in the Planning Department and might help to strengthen your area of concentration. As for practical experience or 'real planning,' you won't get that through any university program.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    I have visited Madison and Milwaukee once before in the mid 1990s. I really liked Madison a lot. How is the Madison planning environment? Have there been a lot of changes in the past six to eight years in the Madison area?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Both Milwaukee and Madison have had dramatic changes in the last 6-8 years - it's worth a visit to both!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    I never post here but I really need to reply to the person who touted Mankato State while making some disparaging and (somewhat) inaccurate statements about the planning program at the University of Minnesota. I went there in the mid-90's and got a great education. More importantly, the internship opportunities and the financial aid the U offers are first-rate. Some of the policy wonk students are a little full of themselves, and some of the core courses are too theoretical, but at the end of the day you are at one of the largest and best state universities in the country and the opportunities are there for the taking.

    As for his comments about people in Minnesota only hiring Mankato State people, I have never heard that. What he perhaps meant to say is that some people from the U work in other states, because they want to, while people who go to Mankato State tend to stick around Minnesota because they want to.

    Minnesota has a solid program that has become much better since I left (I don' t think there is a connection!) now that it has built stronger connections with the architecture program. I recommend it to anyone, particularly if you are on a budget. But remember that it is focussed more on community development than on urban design.

    On the other hand, Milwaukee and Madison also have good programs. I don't think any of those three is a bad choice. However, Minnesota and Milwaukee both have the advantages of being in a large metropolitan area with a lot of issues to examine. Minneapolis and Saint Paul are a little more of a regional hub than Milwaukee, however. And it really isn't much colder than Wisconsin!

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