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Thread: Planner or developer: who has more fun?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian MDGARD01's avatar
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    Planner or developer: who has more fun?

    Who has more fun....would like feedback from all angles..
    I want to play a role in both areas
    as a planner is this even possible?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Developer. Hands down.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Depends on what you want to do. You wanna design development? Be a developer or work in the private sector. You wanna influence policy, facilitate public involvement, influence politicians? Be a planner.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Mixed bag, I think. I know planners who are very happy people and some who are miserable S.O.B.'s. I know developers who seem to be very happy and others who are miserable S.O.B.'s. Most engineers seem to be content, from my experience.

    Like Vaughan said, it depends on why you do what you do.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  5. #5
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Be a planner for a few years. Then work as a consultant to developers using the experience gained as a planner. Then be a developer.

    At the very least, then you'll know what you like most!

  6. #6
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Like it was said previously, it really depends on your interests. Me? I'm not much of a designer... I know what good design is and how to do it/evaluate it, but I'm more of an analysis guy. I love demographic research, statistical analysis, policy development & analysis, etc. So if you were to ask me, I would likely say long range planning was more fun for me than design. However, there is that part of me that loves seeing something done on the ground, which is why I enjoy my work with CDBG as well. Also, since I man the infill incentives program, I frequently work with developers on making their numbers work while getting a quality project off the ground, which puts me on the developer mindset and design side on occasion.

    I also recognize that by admitting to enjoying statistics, numbers, etc, I am an anomaly for the most part in planning. In fact, I have a feeling some on here have already dispatched some nice folks in clean white coats to lock me in a padded room.

    If you are really torn between public planning & the private sector, you might look at working for a Community Development Corporation--which is a bit of a hybrid.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    planner... do you really want to go through the paperwork....
    who makes more money is the question!
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

    Renovating the '62 Metzendorf
    http://metzendorf.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
    Cyburbian plnrgrl's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by vaughan View post
    Depends on what you want to do. You wanna design development? Be a developer or work in the private sector. You wanna influence policy, facilitate public involvement, influence politicians? Be a planner.
    There are other opportunities apart from design work in the private sector. I was involved with a lot of local govt. consulting work as a private sector planner. Best of both worlds, although as a public planner I got to choose what I wanted to work on (for the most part), where with the private firm the client decided that for me.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
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    I would be neither, but if the position of 'Your Excellancy" was offered I would take that one and rule the land with a velvet fist.

    Developer in my mind has too many negative asscociations tie to it. I would say if you were the right sort and were not driven by the almighty dollar then I think that would be the way to go.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by craines View post
    Developer in my mind has too many negative asscociations tie to it. I would say if you were the right sort and were not driven by the almighty dollar then I think that would be the way to go.
    I think that there is still room for "good developers" who also make money. I get annoyed by the assertion (typically put forth by disingenuous NIMBYs) that if a developer is making a profit then they must be "driven by the almighty dollar". Certainly, there are cases where profit has trumped all else - but too often I get to deal with groups like the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition (Do a quick search if you want to see a group that is a real piece of work) that oppose all development unless it is non-profit and controlled entirely by them - and the crony construction/development companies that are "in" with them.

    There is certainly room for a developers that care about doing a good job, as well as making a decent profit.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    Neither...blondes have more fun.
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    We are not in business to please planners

    Quote Originally posted by craines View post
    I would be neither, but if the position of 'Your Excellancy" was offered I would take that one and rule the land with a velvet fist.

    Developer in my mind has too many negative asscociations tie to it. I would say if you were the right sort and were not driven by the almighty dollar then I think that would be the way to go.
    "Development" is a business like any other. The purpose is to show a profit. Is this concept difficult for you to grasp ? I don't care to please the planners, I need to please my customers.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Inventor View post
    "Development" is a business like any other. The purpose is to show a profit. Is this concept difficult for you to grasp ? I don't care to please the planners, I need to please my customers.
    Inventor, I think that you're placing FAR, FAR, FAR too much of the blame on planners for everything that "hurts" you. Many times planners are just implementing the will of others - and have no (or very little say) in the regs themselves.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    i second that. You have concerns with implementing planning, I think you should address the appointed/elected officials in the community you do business with. Most planners either carry out the process or intepret the process by meeting the intent of the planning documents/satisfying the officials.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    You have concerns with implementing planning, I think you should address the appointed/elected officials in the community you do business with.
    Or in states with ballot initiatives/propositions, address the concerns with the backers of the propostions - sometimes they are elected officials, sometimes businessmen, sometimes corporations, sometimes wacky fringe groups.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Plus
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    PLANNER
    because a developer does get involved with
    EMA,
    Census (they just use the data?), and
    writing the Comp Plan (do they just complain about it?)

    Common - Community board/activity volunteer.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Let's make this more complex, and make it from my experience:

    Public sector planner (1990-1998): Whipping boy. Often fun to be an innovator, never fun to be the heavy hand of government. Never fun to be accountable to elected officials who only think to the end of thier terms. Adequate pay, good benefits, no bonus plan, no incentives to excel.

    Developer: (1998-1999). The whipper. Return on Investment and shareholder satisfaction outweigh many decision I would make / recommend as a public sector planner. Corporate goals sometimes outweigh sound planning. Excellent pay, adequate benefits, bonus plan, incentive to excel.

    Back to public sector planner (1999-2004): See above

    Consulting planner both public and private (2004-present): The hybrid planner - facilitator. Opportunity to be an innovator and yet recognize market factors. Ability to call a spade a spade, whether its the client or the applicant. Excellent pay, excellent benifits, bonus plan, incentive to excel.\

    Summary: In the end it redepnds on your skill set, drive, and depth of skin.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Planner or Developer

    Quote Originally posted by MDGARD01 View post
    Who has more fun....would like feedback from all angles..
    I want to play a role in both areas
    as a planner is this even possible?
    Strange that these are your choices, being that I see no similarity. These are adversarial positions. Not that they need to, but that is what it has degenerated into. It has only come to this in the last 15 years or so as the creeping socialism of land use control has grown to what it is today.
    Your asking the question tells me that you would probably like to be a developer. I have seen planning people go to work for a big developer but I don't consider the planner to be a developer. They might be hired for their inside connections. All developers are not treated the same. It is very political, it can be downright crooked.
    It is very difficult to become a developer on your own as the big developers have the advantages of scale and can offer a lot of amenities and spread their legal costs over the larger projects. My first development was a part time thing, 36 years ago, when I bought 20 acres in a ski and lake area and subdivided for vacation homes. Life was simple then. Any project can be a long term commitment as things don't always go as planned. I have never been in financial trouble as I never bit off more than I could handle.
    It helps to have a grasp engineering and legal issues. If you are a young man a good place to start might be as a surveyor. This will put you close the land orportunities. Another place to start might be as a real estate agent specializing in land. I would not become a planner, you need to be closer to the money end of things. This isn't about saving the environment, it's about business. It's competitive and you need to keep your focus.
    I have done some building but I much prefer working with the land itself.
    The farmers or investors who might own the land you want to develop will frequently carry the financing. Make sure you study contracts for this type of deal.
    Recently, during the big run-up in Florida land, the banks were loaning money but 20 years ago they wouldn't loan money on land, at least not to me. I have never lost money on a piece of land. You might want to start by buying and selling single lots that are already developed. This will give you experience in marketing and financing. For a long time I would hold the paper for the buyers. This can give you a nice steady income. This is probably the best route to start as big expenses of engineering and roadbuilding are out of the way.
    I hope I have been helpful.
    Inventor

  19. #19
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Wow… you people have been reading my mail! I have been getting contact names and talking with several developers that have offices in the City that I live in, pondering a jump into a development company that specializes in the redevelopment of historic structures in downtown.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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