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Thread: Planning outlook in Tampa, FL area

  1. #1
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    Planning outlook in Tampa, FL area

    I am considering attending The University of South Florida's (Tampa) new MUP when it starts up in Fall '09. I live in Atlanta (cant wait to leave) and want to move down to that area. I have spend a lot of time there and really enjoy it. Plus, warm weather is VERY important to me. Ok, now the point of this post. Anyone that "practices" planning down there how is it? what is your opinion of opportunities or future outlook? Is it a good place to be for planning right now? Any info would be helpful. salaies (in relation to cost of living), opportunities, outlook...whatever. TIA.

    Feel free to comment on entering a "new" graduate program as well considering I would likely be one of the first students to go through the program (if I get in).

    Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I cannot really comment on the program or current planning situation in that area of the country, but I would imagine that there will be a steadily increasing demand for planners in both the public and private sector in that area due to the overall aging of the American population in general especially now that baby boomers are entering retirement age.

    For decades, old folks have loved to move to that area of the country and I don't see that changing any time soon. I know that I have many relatives up and down Florida's west coast from Bradenton/Sarasota south to Naples.

    Of course, as the population ages and continues to head south, there will be a strain on existing infrastructure and an increased demand for goods and services. While I wish people would start moving back to Detroit (hey, we do have all the fresh water one could ever hope for!), I think places that have been attractive to old folks in the past will continue to be so in the future.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    ... Detroit (hey, we do have all the fresh water one could ever hope for!), ....
    We also have tulips. When I've gone to Florida in the early spring, I'm told they (and other early bulbs) get burned up.

    I think I would not be the first in line for a new program, let them work the kinks out first. YMMV

  4. #4
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    florida

    In general...right now, the job market in Florida is slow, but in 2 years that will change. The Tampa area has lots of job opportunities because of the number of cities and private firms in the area. I haven't heard much about USF's new program, although they have a good transportation research program that is pretty well known, I would imagine its going to be associated with the new urban planning program.

    If you want to go to Florida, there are 3 other schools that have programs with good reputations, UF, FSU and FAU. FAU is located in a large metropolitan area (Ft. Lauderdale). UF and FSU are in moderately sized cities, but the alumni connections that those schools have and their reputations makes them prime areas for recruiters. Best of Luck!
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  5. #5
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    I do plan applying to UF, FSU, and FAU ( a friend of mine is going to grad school there) but ultimately I figured that since I had hoped to live in Tampa that going to school there might help me make some contacts. Thanks for the info.

  6. #6
    Planning in Florida is the greatest moshpit of experience one could ask for. So much going on with policy development and new growth. Traffic, water, and sprawl obviously being the hot button issues where I am. I'm thankful for my opportunity and plan to stay where I am for several more years...

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Any of the other school venues would be better than Tampa, it is about the worst city in FL, in my humble opinion.

    There are jobs in the middle region of FL, not so much in the outlying regions like the panhandle, unless you want to make less than a cashier at Wal-Mart. (speaking of new jobs only, not RJ's...)

    I did most of an MPA at USF but did not live in Tampa. They had a great faculty and I would assume the same for a planning program. I just think the living conditions in the cities of any other FL university would be soooo much better than Tampa.

  8. #8
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    Planning in Tampa

    I moved to Tampa from NY 2 years ago, so I'm still in shock at times. I also want to apply for a Masters in Urban Planning and have heard good things about the USF program.

    I agree with the other person that Tampa has a long way to go in improving the "living conditions" (i.e. improved public transportation, walkable communities, asthetically pleasing commercial districts). But, I just moved to Seminole Heights and it has been the best neighborhood in terms of involved residents, community, and restored historic homes. If you are planning to rent, i also see lots of ads for college students sharing a house in this area.

    Good luck and let us know how the program turns out.

  9. #9
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    I would like to get an ENTRY LEVEL job in the Tampa or Orlando as well. However, the APA and FAPA websites look bleak for Florida in the job search. What is the best way to attack this! I've been sitting at home since I got my master's in May stressing over finding a job that is looking for a ROOKIE like me with no experience other than 2-semester internship. I did do my thesis on the Central Florida Commuter Rail though.

    I mean, should I just start sending out resumes and cover letters out cold to municipalities and hope they say "hmm, thesis work on the commuter rail huh? Let's check him out." ????


    **---panicing here!!---**
    lamsalfl

  10. #10
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    lamsalfl, you're right. It's tough in Florida for planners at this time. We're hoping for a turn-around sometime next year--at least here on the panhandle. You're going to have to fall back on Plan B at this point and wait things out if your goal is to find work in that region. I feel for you. I graduated in a down economy and didn't find work in planning for a couple of years.

    Save your Forever stamps on cold-call letters to cities and counties.

    BTW, I hope I'm wrong and something comes up for you.

    Best of luck to you.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    In AZ most of the planner jobs have dried up with all the home builders laying off planners left and right. I have heard from a home builder I know that Florida that the planners they are laying off can't even find work to apply for. Hopefully in two years it will be different but who knows how the housing market will play out.

    Best of Luck!
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  12. #12
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    What about shooting an e-mail to a few of the contacts I made to get information for my thesis on the Central Florida Commuter Rail? Would it be bad to ask them if they have any openings or if I could at least send in my resume?

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