Urban planning community | #theplannerlife

# Thread: How much statistics/econometrics should I take?

1. ## How much statistics/econometrics should I take?

My program was restructuring its core curriculum when I took my methods course, and we spent a mere 2 weeks on statistics and survey design. I have no intention of going on to get a PhD, so I don't need to be a polished researcher. Still, I had wanted to brush up on my quant skills in school in case I need to do contribute to program evaulations on the job. I feel like I've been shortchanged on my planning education, but perhaps I'd feel differently if somebody out there could tell me just how much an understanding of survey design/regression contributes to their work.

2. Since I started out as a math/science major, when I switched to planning, I had already taken enough math classes so I didn't need to take statistics and now, even after practicing almost 20 years, I still wish I had

working with census data and all the rest - it's a skill you need to have a handle on - I had to figure it out on my own and teach myself it before taking the planning exam - luckily i had taken high level of economics classes where i had some applicable knowledge

so take a stats class

3. I would say a basic to moderate understandign of statistical analysis is helpful. I wish I had a better understanding of statistical analyis and what tests to use as I can see the relationship between variables but can't explain it numerically.

4. Back when I was in school, I had to take two classes because they were part of the core courses, thus part of the program's accreditation.

These are the current course descriptions:

URP 5510-3. Planning Methods I.
The focus is on the application of statistical, quantitative, and mathematical techniques and computer applications for urban and regional planning and policy development. Major topics include types of data, sampling, basic probability distributions, hypothesis testing, regression and correlation, and an introduction to multi-variate and cluster analysis. Applications in planning and development are emphasized.

URP 5511-3. Planning Methods II.
Addresses advanced models associated with the estimation, prediction, and prescription of conditions and trends in population, employment, land use, and transportation. Considers means for program scheduling and evaluation. Introduces essential software. Examines the means for orchestrating analytic studies that inform all phases of project, comprehensive, and strategic urban and regional planning.

From University of Colorado at Denver, Master of Urban and Regional Planning

5. It largely depends on what type of planning you may do in your career. If you work on reports and publications that are used by other professionals then a moderate understanding of survey methods and statistics are needed. If you work for local government and will be dealing with citizen planners and city council members then you will be only presenting the very basic of statistical analysis to them, mostly percentages and ratios. Forget trying to explain regression to most planning commission members. I have not used regression analysis once in 12 years at the local government level except in the AICP exam. If you go into social services and maybe housing and have to deal with the feds then it may be more important. But two weeks doesn't prepare you for much. The two semesters I had was inadequate for publishing a professional research paper. I have to pull out the old text books once in a while to refresh my understanding.

6. I already know more econometrics than I ever wanted to. Here's my "expert" advice on the subject: be able to read an econometric analysis and understand what the concepts are (estimators, significance, fit, etc). If you need to do some serious econometric research, hire professionals!! It is so easy to screw up and get junk results, just don't even try unless you are a pro.

If you just want to estimate what effect the size of a house has on housing prices in your area, then that's the sort of thing you should be able to do with simple regression talents.