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Thread: Economic development vs. planning: the ups and downs

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Economic development vs. planning: the ups and downs

    Intersted in advice on going into entry-level jobs in Planning vs. Economic Development, at the city level. Which would you choose, and why? What are the ups and downs?


    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian AnvilPartners's avatar
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    Either's going to be tough...

    I'd say econ. dev. is going to be tougher though, because I think the nation is facing a transitional period here...gone are the days of bargaining and landing the big box employers...now it's all about global competition and connectivity, augmented by local training and education...with the fiscal crises, new regulations coming on borrowing/lending and a lot of money being spent by the fed on 'stimulus' projects, and unemployment raging, I'd say economic development's going to be pretty difficult across the next few years...

    That being said, planning is not going to be a cakewalk either...as you probably know, planning staff is near the top of the heap when it comes to consideration for RIFs, and tight budgets do not make for adventursome planning work...those planners that do remain on the payroll will be focusing on "in house" work mostly (code revisions, plan updates) because development has slowed to a standstill...

    It's not pretty for either set...
    "Sometimes you have to get medieval with it...hammer, sparks, sweat, the whole nine yards...so don't forget your asbestos suit."
    Aphorisms on Public Hearings, Planning Guild Handbook (2001).

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Wow. BIG question. After 20 years in both, gimme time to formulate my thoughts, esp. now that I moved to Texas...

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I have done both but am much more in the economic development arena. It is very different from planning, and calls on a different set of skills. As an economic developer you would want to know marketing and finance, for instance. Not so much as a planner.

    Economic developers do not spend all of their time chasing smokestacks and giving out incentives. Responsibilities may include housing and community development programs, grant-writing and administration, entrepreneurial development, downtown revitalization, workforce development, industry support programs, etc.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I'd say it depends on the city. Some cities are vary supportive in implementing one department or the other. I would not want to be on the ED staff for my city, they tend to chase pipe dreams for the city manager and nothing is done to actually improve the odds of a business locating there. I have also seen some places where planning becomes useless, as no one allows the programs to be implemented. Look at the city and decide if you should apply for their open position.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet View post
    Wow. BIG question. After 20 years in both, gimme time to formulate my thoughts, esp. now that I moved to Texas...
    Chet, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thank you!

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