Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: What do planners really do?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Oct 2007
    Location
    sunshine coast, BC
    Posts
    2

    What do planners really do?

    I am at a crossroads, wondering if architecture or planning will get me where I want to go with a career...which is not a ladder-climbing position at a city firm, but something more "grassroots" in sustainable community design.

    I have a young daughter and a husband who are flexible - we are willing to move for schooling and are also very interested in travel overseas. I would like to be able to work/research sustainable communities while we travel and eventually (following school and travel) settle somewhere rural.

    I guess my question is one of priorities: I am not necessarily interested in a top-notch school, nor do I want to work in a city office (for long). Would it be better to pursue planning (what I've heard, it leads to "better" hours, perhaps more work in community planning) or architecture (more creative freedom?)


    Thanks for your thoughts,

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 1999
    Location
    400 miles from Orlando
    Posts
    13,747
    Quote Originally posted by clparton View post
    IWould it be better to pursue planning (what I've heard, it leads to "better" hours, perhaps more work in community planning) or architecture (more creative freedom?)

    Better hours? I can assure you that many, many planning positions at the local level involve numerous night meetings per month, can include evening and weekend meetings and community events and presentations to homeowners associations, overnight or longer travel to conferences and training to maintain professional certification, etc. You can work from 8-5 and have a public hearing from 7 p.m. to midnight or later, several times a month (or in one memorable period, 12 weekday meetings in a month, plus 3 weekend meetings..). I had 2 jobs like this and finally switched to trails planning because I couldn't take the hours and barely saw my son some weekdays. Even then, there were monthly night meetings and weekend events, but not nearly as bad. Working for regional agencies may mean you are 3 counties from your home when day care calls to tell you your kid is sick. I know private sector planners who handle the planning function for small communities, and they can be in 4 night meetings in 4 counties in one week. That said, some planning positions rarely involve evenings, it just depends on your jurisdiction.

    Plus, if you work for local governments, you can be on call for disasters and have to leave your family for days at a time.

    Not to scare you, but it varies so widely, you would want to be very, very sure what you are getting into with each job.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,793
    Quote Originally posted by clparton View post
    I would like to be able to work/research sustainable communities while we travel and eventually (following school and travel) settle somewhere rural.

    I guess my question is one of priorities: I am not necessarily interested in a top-notch school, nor do I want to work in a city office (for long). Would it be better to pursue planning (what I've heard, it leads to "better" hours, perhaps more work in community planning) or architecture (more creative freedom?)


    Thanks for your thoughts,
    An accredited MArch program runs on average of 3-4 years of intense studio work, where students can work 50-70 hours a week, pretty much anchored to their desk. I give a ton of credit to parents willing to take on this rigorous traning, but it involves a ton of discipline and focus trying to balance the high demands of studio with family committments (plus loss of income as a student). I knew a few of these parents, and they never slacked off, worked on their projects, and left early to be with their families. Several programs offered an non-accredited 2 year MArch track, sometimes known as a Masters of Architectural Studies, but I think it would still be just as intensive as an NAAB accredited program.

    I think architecture is a very creative field, but it doesn't always afford the creative freedom that is taught in school. Architects are often at the mercy of the clients, developers, community, etc. and they can easily be stuck in a bunch of meetings like planners as zoning goddess mentioned. There are plenty of smaller firms with talented architects who do great work for smaller communities, it just might take some phone calls.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 26
    Last post: 20 Feb 2011, 12:24 AM
  2. Replies: 0
    Last post: 13 Feb 2011, 4:10 PM
  3. Replies: 15
    Last post: 28 Dec 2004, 1:51 PM
  4. Replies: 5
    Last post: 23 Mar 2004, 12:16 PM
  5. Replies: 1
    Last post: 20 Mar 2000, 7:36 PM