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Thread: Wishing to do some design work, but attending a non-design program

  1. #1
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    Wishing to do some design work, but attending a non-design program

    Hello,

    I am becoming more and more interested in design and to that end I have become proficient in Sketchup and am trying to get the basics of AutoCAD as we speak. I am not sure if urban planning students can even theoretically get urban design positions (I've heard conflicting things), but I'd like my future job to have some design element to it.

    I hear in particular that private planners do get to use these tools for visualisation. However, my current program is VERY weak on urban design to begin with. It also does not help that I have taken zero urban design classes. Before I graduate, I may be in a position to take ONE. So, what to do at this point? I am learning the basics by myself, but I know that this will not mean much without formal training.

    It's impossible at this point to go for a MLA program or similar. I am too old, too in debt, and have no equity to honestly consider another three years of school. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Jun 2006
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    Quote Originally posted by donquixote View post
    Hello,

    I am becoming more and more interested in design and to that end I have become proficient in Sketchup and am trying to get the basics of AutoCAD as we speak. I am not sure if urban planning students can even theoretically get urban design positions (I've heard conflicting things), but I'd like my future job to have some design element to it.

    I hear in particular that private planners do get to use these tools for visualisation. However, my current program is VERY weak on urban design to begin with. It also does not help that I have taken zero urban design classes. Before I graduate, I may be in a position to take ONE. So, what to do at this point? I am learning the basics by myself, but I know that this will not mean much without formal training.

    It's impossible at this point to go for a MLA program or similar. I am too old, too in debt, and have no equity to honestly consider another three years of school. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Unfortunately it is very seldom that design firms hire non-design professionals for design work, so perhaps you could try applying for planner positions within such firms to get yourself acquainted with the design professionals and to understand the design + planning process. Thereafter, see if they'd be willing to either train you up in design or give you opportunities to take up some design related work. This should be useful to see how design is processed / implemented in reality.

    For me I'm thankful that I have had exposure to some urban design work due to the scale of certain projects I'm dealing with. Through the interactions with the architects and urban designers, I've sharpened my understanding of design (how to better appreciate space, move things around, a sense of scale in particular, etc) and at some times my drawing skills as well.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Working for a consultant can give you the opportunity to do design. If you have a talent for it, regardless of whether you have the formal training, your employer should seek to use it and develop it. We will usually pay the cost if someody wants to attend a workshop for a program like Sketchup.
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