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Thread: Career advice for a Torontonian

  1. #1

    Career advice for a Torontonian

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm looking to go into Urban Design/ Urban Planning, as I'm interested in city and transportation design, and I was wondering if anyone had any advice on job shadowing or programs of study in and around the Toronto area for such a career field.

    I've got a B.A in Fine Art, speak two languages (and currently working on a third), and I am very able when it comes to technical design.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to jump into the career field? Or any ideas on how to get my feet wet through volunteer organizations?

    I'm not overly interested in spending another decade in school, ... so the more practical, the better.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Sep 2001
    skating on thin ice
    Urban design is a highly competitive, and relatively specialized field, while your art background and technical skills are transferable, you'll probably need some more education (ie a masters) to get your foot in the door. The good news is that it is only 2 more years and not a decade.

    As for volunteer groups, depending on which neighbourhood you live in there are BIA's, streetscape, heriage groups that may be interested in your skills and help you build a portfolio.

    I am in the GTA if that helps with the context of this answer.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  3. #3
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
    Aug 2001
    I know several recent graduates from various Masters programs that are having difficulty breaking into the field, even with their newly-minted degrees. Unless you can find a good volunteer opportunity, I believe you will need to go back to school. You may try putting your resume up on the CIP website and say that you are looking for volunteer or intern work in the planning field, just to see if you get any 'bites'.

    Your best bet is to move west and try for a job out here.

  4. #4
    Aug 2006
    Wherever mediocore planning lurks
    If you want to work in private (sounds like you do) your best bet is to probably coldcall, coldcall, coldcall, washed down with a healthy dose of follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. I know a few firms that are looking for new juniors employees, yet they never post in the traditional ads. Coldcalling will also allow you to do some research on a company and see if their practices suit your interests and talents. For example you speak 2 languages (presumably well) and working on a third - perhaps firms whom have consistent international projects may find you useful. There are also several firms that like those with technical design skills for their designing - you don't need a lot of planning skill or aptitude to do these jobs - lord knows I see enough poorly planned sites by those who have degrees in planning (I better be careful here before my foot goes any further into my mouth).

    If you get in as a tech and are competent, may be your employer will give you more progressive responsibilities. You don't need a planning degree, or even a degree at all to be a planner. Not enough of what we learn in planning school gets implemented into practice anyways.

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