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Thread: MUP programs: urban schools vs big state at small town/city

  1. #1
         
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    MUP programs: urban schools vs big state at small town/city

    I am currently looking to apply to a few MUP programs for spring 08, and because my interest is primarily large urban cores, I have some reservations about MUP programs in say, Lawrence, Kansas or Champaign Urbana (i don't mean to slam programs in these cities as I will possibly apply to one or both). In anyones experience, however, does this play some role in the emphasis professors put on large urban cores (e.g. how often do the professors actually stroll through ped and bike hostile industrial corridors or suburbanized commercial districts.) i know this varies, but i mean in a more general sense...

    and thank you in advance for any advice...
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 03 Jul 2007 at 9:30 AM. Reason: double reply

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    Iím going into my second year at KUís MUP program this fall, and I think the curriculum does a fairly good job preparing us for work in large Ďurban-coreí cities. Donít forget that Lawrence is only 30 minutes from Kansas City, which is a large city undergoing a major downtown transition. Many, if not most, of the students have internships in Kansas City working for MARC (KCís MPO), KCMO, KCK and their various agencies, and other suburban local governments. We arenít stuck out in the middle of a cornfield, completely oblivious as to what goes on in the Ďbig cityí. The professors in the program have studied and worked in various capacities in large cities across the country, so they are in-tuned to planning for major urban areas. Sure, there is probably an emphasis on issues that are facing Lawrence and Kansas City, but these experiences can be carried over to other cities. Iím an intern at the City of San Francisco MTA this summer, and have found that my past internships and schooling have prepared me well. Good luck, and donít hesitate to give schools in towns like Lawrence or Champaign a look..its the Manhattan, KSís you need to avoid.

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    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    I had a much longer reply but my computer ate it.

    Short answer- I loved going to a school in the heart of a medium-sized city (U of Mn in Minneapolis/Saint Paul) because the cities provided a great laboratory for learning. They weren't too big but also not too small- like the mama bear's bed, just right...

    Minneapolis is an even better lab now with the light rail line in operation. I'd look at schools like Portland State as well. Of course, you can get a good education at many planning schools that are not in cities, but then you are faced with commuting for internhips.

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    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I think that you can learn a lot for almost any city. I agree that maybe the learning curve is only so high, but honestly in the two years you are there you probably won't achieve it.

    Ball State is in the middle of no where, but Muncie is an amazing laboratory for what is wrong with a city, and Indianapolis and Carmel are close to study the big city and new urbanism, in that order.

    I think Boston is probably a good place to learn, but I also think that Columbus is as well. As everyone says, your education is what you make of it. Good luck!
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  5. #5
         
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    thanks for the input, and i agree, the education is what i make of it. i would prefer to attend an imaginary accredited MUP program in St. Louis, but I can't have everything. UW- Milwaukee and UI-Chicago are my primary choices right now.

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    Quote Originally posted by jhawk View post
    Iím going into my second year at KUís MUP program this fall, and I think the curriculum does a fairly good job preparing us for work in large Ďurban-coreí cities. Donít forget that Lawrence is only 30 minutes from Kansas City, which is a large city undergoing a major downtown transition. Many, if not most, of the students have internships in Kansas City working for MARC (KCís MPO), KCMO, KCK and their various agencies, and other suburban local governments. We arenít stuck out in the middle of a cornfield, completely oblivious as to what goes on in the Ďbig cityí. The professors in the program have studied and worked in various capacities in large cities across the country, so they are in-tuned to planning for major urban areas. Sure, there is probably an emphasis on issues that are facing Lawrence and Kansas City, but these experiences can be carried over to other cities. Iím an intern at the City of San Francisco MTA this summer, and have found that my past internships and schooling have prepared me well. Good luck, and donít hesitate to give schools in towns like Lawrence or Champaign a look..its the Manhattan, KSís you need to avoid.
    Thanks for the perspective on KU, I didnt mean to write it off, I just don't know much about KU. I do know quite a bit about the city of Lawrence, and I always enjoyed the Indie and cultural scene there (went on a few scavenger hunts there...) I also attended UMKC for two years for a second bachelors in Environmental Studies, and am well aware of the incredible changes going on in that city. I think in this case, I want to further expand my knowledge of mid sized (and Chicago) midwestern cities in transition, as any of these are the cities i'd want to be an entry level planner for.

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