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Thread: Urban planning overseas

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Urban planning overseas

    Apologies if a similar thread exists, link me to it if it does!

    I was wondering, how on earth does an Urban Planner work overseas, I will try and explain how I see it.

    Uni student studying planning>>>>graduates>>>gets Masters>>>>works in local government as a "starter".......

    Now what...I want to be an Urban Planner that TRAVELS overseas and internationally a fair bit, maybe once or twice a year ranging from 1-2 weeks to 1 month or so. However I have a feeling Urban Planning doesn't offer many opportunities to do this, even though I want it to offer

    I am guessing I would need to work or apply to some private multi national firm? But where, how, who? I struggled finding any large firms which do this etc.

    I hope people can post their suggestions, personal stories and ideas.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    As an urban planner, your work will probably be limited to the city or region that you serve. I guess there's a slim chance that your bosses might send you away to a conference in another country at some point, but I think even that is a rarer and rarer occurrence.

  3. #3
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    You can try to find an employer with generous vacation time.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    its the same problem with any career, my family moved from Scotland to Canada, my mum had a few degrees from university but it was hard for her to find a job here because they did not know if it was to Canadian standards. So they had to go back to school again.

    Which is was I dont understand international students, if you go to say Italy to study, how are you going to get a job when you get home?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by buckie33 View post
    its the same problem with any career, my family moved from Scotland to Canada, my mum had a few degrees from university but it was hard for her to find a job here because they did not know if it was to Canadian standards. So they had to go back to school again.

    Which is was I dont understand international students, if you go to say Italy to study, how are you going to get a job when you get home?
    EXACTLY what I am thinking. If I want to go for student exchange to study overseas my University says you need at least $10,000, but I dont think it is a wise investment, everybody is being really critical/practical

    In regards to your question though, I think it WORKS if you go from a developing country to a westernised country.

    E.g. If you're lets say Indian, Mongolian etc etc, then study in USA and come back, businesses would just hire you for having the word "USA" in your resume.

    But if it's the other way around you usually have to re-study.

    Can anybody else answer my first post? I really need answers =(

  6. #6
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    I only know of a couple of people that managed to travel as part of their jobs. Both were with multi-nationals.

    One travelled in order to do community consultation. The other travelled to Dubai, because thats where they got sent by their firm.

    In order to be sent around the world/internationally, you would have to have plenty of experience and be very good at what you do. I think its a rarity to be honest.
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Hi user123

    Actually when you say that you want to do planning work overseas for 1-2 weeks or a month, what do you mean? What sort of work are you hoping to do?

    Cheers!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by joshww81 View post
    Hi user123

    Actually when you say that you want to do planning work overseas for 1-2 weeks or a month, what do you mean? What sort of work are you hoping to do?

    Cheers!
    Hmm the reason I am being so un clear and vague is because I want to keep my OPTIONS open and not limit YOUR responses.

    For example, look at all local councillors, mayors, state government officials, bosses of large companies, who go overseas for "meetings" and "conferences" etc all whilst being PAID. I know it IS POSSIBLE, but many people here seem to have had bad experiences haha.

    For example a local councillor went on a 2 week overseas, taxpayer paid work to "study garbage disposals of various developed nations" and then come back to discuss alternative ways to dispose garbage.

    If people are being paid to do the above surely as an Urban Planner you can go overseas.

    Umm, I appreciate all your responses and so I will try and clarify regarding the time frame.

    Lets say China has all of a sudden decided to construct a new suburb.....or wants an "eco city" to be built from scratch. Isn't it possible I could be sent by a firm who is in charge of it to go and input my ideas, expertise, or even just go as part of my work to look at developments around the world...

    As Natski (poster) said below ur comment large multi national firms sent a friend of hers/his to a country, these are the kind of things I want to do, that is I really want to move up in my ranks to be given these opportunities. But HOW do I go on about it (and insert my remaining questions from my first post here)

    Cheers people, and thanks so far!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    The only planners I know who go overseas are principals in large firms that do work overseas and people who work for NGOs doing international work. A local government planner would rarely be sent overseas....I mean with the way budgets are, I can't even go to something out of state at this point for a conference. Unless you are interested in international planning I would not count on the profession being able to support overseas travel, unless that instance is a vacation! Best of Luck.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by user123 View post

    Lets say China has all of a sudden decided to construct a new suburb.....or wants an "eco city" to be built from scratch. Isn't it possible I could be sent by a firm who is in charge of it to go and input my ideas, expertise, or even just go as part of my work to look at developments around the world...
    This can be done and I have friends who have been involved in this type of work. One got posted to Dubai for two years; another flew in and out of a country each month (she got the Gold version of a Frequent Flyer after a year!); yet another works on projects for Russia while another for Chinese projects.

    However, they are all part of a design consultancy and usually architects or landscape architects. If they are planners, they have to engage in masterplanning work. The reason for this is simple: they want to build an ecocity, which in essence means eco-design (green buildings, etc.).

    Many of the international consultants such as AECOM (previously EDAW) have studios that do international consultancy design work. But more often than not you'll need a design (or some other technical) background to get in there.



    Quote Originally posted by user123 View post

    As Natski (poster) said below ur comment large multi national firms sent a friend of hers/his to a country, these are the kind of things I want to do, that is I really want to move up in my ranks to be given these opportunities. But HOW do I go on about it (and insert my remaining questions from my first post here)
    I think that it's likely you'll get more chance in the private sector working for an international consultant than you'll get in Government. Perhaps you can express your interest to travel at the interview stage?

    The difficulty about overseas travel happening in Government is that it is contingent on two things: one, budget (do we have money to travel to do study tours?) and two, beliefs and opportunities (should we study say on ways of introducing cycling into our city? why should we go overseas to study? why not just invite the 'expert' over to teach us how to do it? why not read the literature? why not google it?).

    Else, if you're willing, why not consider working overseas for a while to gain experience?

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