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Thread: Courses you *wish* you had taken!

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Signature's avatar
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    Courses you *wish* you had taken!

    We bow to the wisdom of our predecessors!

    So now that you graduates are out there planning, zoning, and advocating, what courses do you wish you had taken during your urban planning program that you didn't?


    Thus far, I have heard an emphasis on public financing! What about design, law, or even emergency planning?

    T-H-A-N-X

    ~
    Signature

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Environmental planning and transportation planning (these courses conflicted with master planning and neighborhood planning studios).

    Electives through the engineering school in surveying and grading (probably make some of these up in grad school).

    A ton of graduate courses in zoning and economic development. Undergrads were barred from these courses which I thought were ridiculous. I expressed my concerns in writing to the new department head after I graduated.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    A public facilities/capital improvements class that focused on the actul nuts and boltrs of how stuff gets financed. I am not sure most universities even offer a class like that.

    I had a govt budgeting class....but it was a wide angle look...went into the US federal budget procedures....
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian joshking2's avatar
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    I wish I may I wish I had

    Quote Originally posted by Signature View post
    We bow to the wisdom of our predecessors!

    So now that you graduates are out there planning, zoning, and advocating, what courses do you wish you had taken during your urban planning program that you didn't?


    Thus far, I have heard an emphasis on public financing! What about design, law, or even emergency planning?

    T-H-A-N-X

    ~
    Signature
    Planning without zoning and land use controls,
    Grant financing, public financing, financing, financing, financing
    How to get people to care.

  5. #5
    Dan Staley's avatar
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    Transportation planning.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Even though I graduated over 20 years ago:

    I would agree on public financing - it really holds me back in understanding things - I am considering taking it at a local university

    also, statistics - since I started out as a Math major (yeah, scary) by the time I switched to planning I was up to Calculus IV so I didn't have to take it but I wish I had, since Calculus is philosophy, not math, though it has proved worthy in that respect (thinking things out, that is)

    I wish I had taken more history - I loved Lit classes and Economics so my electives went in that direction but I wish I had some US History at the college level mixed in

  7. #7
         
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    I'm mired in a corridor study right now, so Transportation Planning and Regional Planning would have been helpful.

    Remarkably, I have found the one non-planning elective I took (Urban Theory in the Sociology Department) to be one of the more applicable courses in my career thus far.

  8. #8
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    If I had the opportunity to take three courses, they would be:

    1) Transportation planning : Many jurisdictions are seeking someone who can help them sort out their traffic nightmares.

    2) Architecture: You are often asked to review site plans and drawings for developments at the front counter and I know it would have been helpful to me to be more familiar with design and density.

    3) GIS: Its good if you can read a map, its even better is you can make the map that everyone reads.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Like lp, I graduated nearly 20 years. Had they been available, I would have taken:

    A class on grant writing and administration
    Urban design classes
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  10. #10
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by danthonyjr View post
    Remarkably, I have found the one non-planning elective I took (Urban Theory in the Sociology Department) to be one of the more applicable courses in my career thus far.
    Yes, this is a good related thread - what elective did you take that you still use?

    for me - Creative Problem Solving

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    Yes, this is a good related thread - what elective did you take that you still use?

    for me - Creative Problem Solving
    For me. both micro and macro economics. As a non math person, the math nearly killed me, but the theories made a lot of sense and still do. I find micro particullary usefull describing how people behave.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    I went to a more policy-based school so its fascinating to see what people wish they had. We had lots of public finance, GIS, taxation, development finance, law, etc...

    What I wish we had more of was the urban design side, and some more real-world classes taught by actual planners. I felt that I came out of grad school and still had no idea what local-level planners did all day...

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Public finance & civil engineering

  14. #14
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    My university didn't offer it, but a course or two in architecture could really have helped. GIS was offered and has proven a big help. Real estate finance would have helped as well with reading proformas. Overall, as much as I loved it, I could have benefitted from less theory and more stuff on what we actually have to deal with on a day to day basis. Like "Angry Applicants 101" and "Shady Politicians 102", for example. I can't fault my professors too much... for most of them, it was something outside of their realm of experience. The academy and the planning office are worlds apart.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by Signature View post
    Thus far, I have heard an emphasis on ... emergency planning ?
    You can get some through the FEMA online independent study http://training.fema.gov/IS/crslist.asp
    or offered through you state's Dept of Homeland Security.


    Undergrad - Plant Materials
    so I could/might have been eligible in making the Soph. year cut then possible having a Bachelor Landscape Architecture.
    But then that was 30 yrs ago.

    Grad - Neighborhood Planning / Community Group Organization. TO and I had posted about this before.
    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)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Signature's avatar
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    Thank You, each and every one...!

    You guys are great. Thanks for those tips, much appreciated!!

  17. #17
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    If you're staying in California, I'd suggest training in the state's redevelopment agency laws.

    I got my feet wet in this profession in the current planning area. At that time, the ability to read and understand grading and drainage plans better would have helped.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    I wish I could've taken more advanced economics and economic development classes instead of the environmental classes mandated by my program. More drafting-focused GIS would've been useful too.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    Site planning and design - knowing how to site a building on a parcel, setbacks, changes in levels, etc.

    How to read and draw building plans 101, CAD, Photoshop, 3D Viz

    The development process.

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