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Thread: Urban studies/planning at CSU/state schools

  1. #1
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    Urban studies/planning at CSU/state schools

    I'm applying for the upcoming spring term to a CSU or State School for Urban Studies/Planning.

    SFSU is close to where I currently live but based on what I'm reading here, doesn't seem like a strong or well rounded program. I've lived in LA before and considering a move back and going to CSUN to complete the same program there. I've compared their degree programs and there almost identical which makes me curious as to which one is better than the other. A few people have mentioned a lack of PAB/APA accreditation, is this something that I should take into consideration or just move on?

    My ultimate goal is to work for a real estate development firm doing site/land acquisition and project development. I've been in and out of school for some time, and worked in real estate which directed me to this field of study. Business was too broad and general, and Architecture was too technical. Urban Planning fit right in with my strengths and interests. I'm at a cross with concentrations and differences between land use planning, housing development, and urban planning. I understand they are interdisciplinary areas but in terms of gaining actual relevant knowledge to real estate development, I'm unsure of which one.

    I want to get in the best school possible to reach this goal and make use of all resources available to me, including faculty, alumni, and curriculum. I've considered other schools like CSULB and CSULA that have geography programs with options in urban analysis but don't feel their adequate for my academic needs.

    If anyone can provide some input on how to choose a school, and what program/concentration would be best, I would appreciate it a lot. I just found this site so I'll be here for a long time

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    Consider Cal Poly Pomona's URP Program

    If you're looking in the LA area, why not CPP's URP Program? I am finishing up my B.S. in Urban and Regional Planning there and, along with many of my fellow classmates, are graduating this June from this school. I believe accreditation does matter, and our undergraduate URP program is the only accredited university in Southern California. But don't let me reiterate all the facts about the school, go check it out here: http://www.csupomona.edu/~urp/faq.shtml

    On a personal note of my school, I can attest that I have enjoyed my time at CPP and with the URP program immensely. The professors are extremely helpful for the most part, with a mix of lots of real world experience and theory. Considering you're into real estate development, you'll be happy to know that there are several electives as well as one of the capstone classes focused on development. The curriculum at CPP is well rounded, and I've used my electives to dabble and explore the different branches of planning. Not to mention, the friendships you'll gain at this school is ridiculously amazing...I'm serious, we're a bunch of the best URP kids you'll find around .

    In addition, Cal Poly Pomona has a great student organization [that of course I am a part of] called APSA, American Planning Student Association http://www.csupomona.edu/~apsa/index.html. It's a very active club that gets involved with other College of ENV clubs as well as networking with college students and professionals across SoCal.

    I hope Cal Poly Pomona becomes a candidate when you begin to narrow down your choices.

  3. #3
    Go to the real Cal Poly, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

  4. #4
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    I am also a student in the Urban and Regional Planning program here at Cal Poly Pomona. This is my second year here and I am so glad I decided to pursue my education at Cal Poly Pomona. I was accepted into both Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for Urban Planning, but ultimately decided on Pomona for a few reasons.

    1. While both programs are accreditted Cal Poly Pomona is located in the immense Southern California metropolis. This provides great opportunities for internships and allows for students to participate in all the Los Angeles region has to offer. Unfortunately, San Luis Obispo is more remote.

    2. Many of the professional planners I have spoken to attest to the high quality of graduates from CPP which increases the value of my degree and provides for good networking opportunities.

    3. I love cities/urbanized regions and all of the problems that come with them. Going to school at CPP you experience these problems on a daily basis, and can become involved with initiatives such as Los Angeles' 30/10 plan to increase mass transit options in LA County.

    Oh yeah, and Cal Poly Pomona is still relatively inexpensive for the value that you get. Contact me through PM if you would like any more information as I would be glad to help.

    -Matthew Stafford
    College of Environmental Design Senator 2010-11
    Urban and Regional Planning, Undergraduate
    Expected Graduation: June 2012

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    Quote Originally posted by Jeanirene View post
    If you're looking in the LA area, why not CPP's URP Program? I am finishing up my B.S. in Urban and Regional Planning there and, along with many of my fellow classmates, are graduating this June from this school. I believe accreditation does matter, and our undergraduate URP program is the only accredited university in Southern California. But don't let me reiterate all the facts about the school, go check it out here: http://www.csupomona.edu/~urp/faq.shtml

    On a personal note of my school, I can attest that I have enjoyed my time at CPP and with the URP program immensely. The professors are extremely helpful for the most part, with a mix of lots of real world experience and theory. Considering you're into real estate development, you'll be happy to know that there are several electives as well as one of the capstone classes focused on development. The curriculum at CPP is well rounded, and I've used my electives to dabble and explore the different branches of planning. Not to mention, the friendships you'll gain at this school is ridiculously amazing...I'm serious, we're a bunch of the best URP kids you'll find around .

    In addition, Cal Poly Pomona has a great student organization [that of course I am a part of] called APSA, American Planning Student Association http://www.csupomona.edu/~apsa/index.html. It's a very active club that gets involved with other College of ENV clubs as well as networking with college students and professionals across SoCal.

    I hope Cal Poly Pomona becomes a candidate when you begin to narrow down your choices.
    I never considered CPP or CPSLO because I felt my gpa wasn't adequate for admission to these schools. I also wanted to live in a lively, upbeat area and I know that Pomona or anywhere in the IE is anything but that.

    I still meet the min. requirements for admission but haven't been able to find what the avg. gpa of admitted transfer students to give myself an idea as to how far of a reach CPP would be for me.

    If I could get in, I'd strongly consider it.


    Quote Originally posted by LAplanner View post
    I am also a student in the Urban and Regional Planning program here at Cal Poly Pomona. This is my second year here and I am so glad I decided to pursue my education at Cal Poly Pomona. I was accepted into both Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for Urban Planning, but ultimately decided on Pomona for a few reasons.

    1. While both programs are accreditted Cal Poly Pomona is located in the immense Southern California metropolis. This provides great opportunities for internships and allows for students to participate in all the Los Angeles region has to offer. Unfortunately, San Luis Obispo is more remote.

    2. Many of the professional planners I have spoken to attest to the high quality of graduates from CPP which increases the value of my degree and provides for good networking opportunities.

    3. I love cities/urbanized regions and all of the problems that come with them. Going to school at CPP you experience these problems on a daily basis, and can become involved with initiatives such as Los Angeles' 30/10 plan to increase mass transit options in LA County.

    Oh yeah, and Cal Poly Pomona is still relatively inexpensive for the value that you get. Contact me through PM if you would like any more information as I would be glad to help.

    -Matthew Stafford
    College of Environmental Design Senator 2010-11
    Urban and Regional Planning, Undergraduate
    Expected Graduation: June 2012
    Thanks for the info and advice. Schools here are pretty cheap, I just hope that this budget cut doesn't affect my chances of getting accepted.

    In terms of social life and surroundings, is there anything worth doing around the area? How far of a drive is it from Pomona to LA? How are the girls around?

    I thought about SLO but it's just too far out as you mentioned.

    In the worst case that I don't get in, what would be my next best alternative?

  6. #6
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    I've been a student at Cal Poly SLO (not for planning, mind you), but I never really liked it much. Could be because I grew up 15 minutes away and sticking around home to go to school is boring as all get-out, but I just never enjoyed my time at that school.

    I know they have a quality program in planning, and I know that a lot of people who go there love it to death, but I was never one of those people.

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    I never thought about CPP only because my gpa isn't aggressive enough for admission. I could be wrong, as I do meet the min. admission requirements so I'll apply in August to see what happens.

    The only turnoff with Pomona is the surrounding area and the social atmosphere of the inland empire. If anyone can chime in on what it's like to live around the area, or a reasonable distance for commuting to campus.

    I'm very curious to see if I'd get in, and if I do, it may be a good choice for me.

    I also need to consider a backup/option school in case and CSUN, SFSU are up on that list.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Even though cal poly Slo is "out there" you do get a wellbalanced planning education with a great faculty, and alumni out there that work all over the map and provide great connections when you get to know us. The area is beautiful, and a good social mix of socal and progressive nothern California. If you intend to stay put in the bay area, have you thought of San Jose state? It is a good school and provides night classes for working professionals in a very urban downtown setting in San Jose.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    Even though cal poly Slo is "out there" you do get a wellbalanced planning education with a great faculty, and alumni out there that work all over the map and provide great connections when you get to know us. The area is beautiful, and a good social mix of socal and progressive nothern California. If you intend to stay put in the bay area, have you thought of San Jose state? It is a good school and provides night classes for working professionals in a very urban downtown setting in San Jose.
    I have given SJSU some consideration as it was my last school of attendance. They don't offer an undergrad program for Urban Planning, only a masters.

    I'll apply to SLO in August to keep my options open, although I'm not confident I'll be able to get in with GPA. I'll have to wait and find out.

    is SFSU's program lackluster like many have previously mentioned?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally posted by taxidriver View post
    I never thought about CPP only because my gpa isn't aggressive enough for admission. I could be wrong, as I do meet the min. admission requirements so I'll apply in August to see what happens.

    The only turnoff with Pomona is the surrounding area and the social atmosphere of the inland empire. If anyone can chime in on what it's like to live around the area, or a reasonable distance for commuting to campus.

    I'm very curious to see if I'd get in, and if I do, it may be a good choice for me.

    I also need to consider a backup/option school in case and CSUN, SFSU are up on that list.
    First of all, I'm not sure if you're transferring or coming straight out of high school, but if it's the latter, I'd work on the GPA at a Community College and do a transfer.

    Secondly, I have no idea why an aspiring planner would be turned off by a metropolis that is so diverse and complex in its planning issues on local, regional and even national scales. "The surrounding area," offers a plethora of examples on what works and what does not.

    Thirdly, I am not sure what you mean by "Social Atmosphere." I grew up in the I.E. and have come across a small sense of disdain whenever I tell people where I'm from. Where does this prejudice come from? Maybe you watch too many shows like The O.C. which depict the I.E. as gang infested and dumb white people.

    It's really short-sighted to generalize people just because they come from a geographical region. There are great people in the I.E. just as there are in SLO, in L.A. in the Bay Area. Riverside, CA happens to be one of the most innovative cities (in planning and sustainability) I've studied in all of Southern California, excluding major ones like LA and SD.

    With that being said. There are so many awesome vibrant places that are somewhat dense, and close to campus that you can find a nice home at.

    My friend lives in a rooftop suite in Downtown L.A. takes him 20 - 30 mins to get to class. Claremont Village is a bike ride away from campus...awesome place. Downtown Brea and Fullerton offer fun environments to live...you can take the train to Pomona station from Fullerton. I know some people who are commuting from Pasadena/Glendale area. about 30-40 mins at worst. I lived in Chino Hills for 7 months...that was a blast...20 mins from school.

    There are Girls everywhere too. The odds are good for you man...especially in the college atmosphere of Fullerton. CSUF was recently rated in the top 5 for most beautiful girls at a college campus...my wife went there

    Whatever school you go for, don't sell yourself short because of GPA or whatever...GO FOR IT!

  11. #11
    CPSLO may be far from a metropolitan area, but the town is lively and doesn't feel like the middle of nowhere.

    The planning program is very broad and you will get exposure to urban design, environmental policy, housing analysis, transportation analysis, project development, and zoning, among others. For your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year, you will work on real world planning projects for communities in CA. The faculty has undergone a minor over-haul since they got a new department head, and there are some really good things happening. HOWEVER, the word is that the school MAY eliminate the BSCRP and focus everything into an expanded MSCRP. At least that's the latest "scuttlebutt."

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    HOWEVER, the word is that the school MAY eliminate the BSCRP and focus everything into an expanded MSCRP. At least that's the latest "scuttlebutt."
    Off-topic:
    Wow, interesting. Why the heck would they do that?
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  13. #13
    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    Off-topic:
    Wow, interesting. Why the heck would they do that?
    Off-topic:
    I've heard several different things: An accredited bachelors program is pretty rare in the planning world... making it an all-masters CRP department might strengthen the profile of the program... would enable a "leaner and meaner" faculty body... I think one of the biggest reasons is that the CAED must comply with a few million in budget cuts and the way to do this is to reduce faculty, but you can't maintain a quality program with bigger and bigger class sizes. They've already cut the size of the entering BS cohort by something like two-thirds, so it's also suddenly become a more elite program.

    I think it's a good idea academically. Undergrad students should go after a broader degree and not get so specialized so fast. Also, planning is better suited for a masters degree, since there are many themes that demand a more mature understanding of things than the typical 19- or 20-year-old can bring to the table. They have historically tried to cram too many students through too fast, in my opinion. So if they "slow down" the program, get more selective, make it an all-masters department, expand the masters cohort (previously the undergrad cohort out numbered the masters by like 3 or 4-to-1), it should bring more prestige to the program itself with stronger alumni ties and links to the professional world. There is a much higher percentage of MSCRPs who go into relevant professional paths than BSCRPs. I think that factor will increase, since the demand for planners has dropped so dramatically.

  14. #14
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    CPP

    CPP ROCKS!

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    Quote Originally posted by DVD AI View post
    First of all, I'm not sure if you're transferring or coming straight out of high school, but if it's the latter, I'd work on the GPA at a Community College and do a transfer.

    Secondly, I have no idea why an aspiring planner would be turned off by a metropolis that is so diverse and complex in its planning issues on local, regional and even national scales. "The surrounding area," offers a plethora of examples on what works and what does not.

    Thirdly, I am not sure what you mean by "Social Atmosphere." I grew up in the I.E. and have come across a small sense of disdain whenever I tell people where I'm from. Where does this prejudice come from? Maybe you watch too many shows like The O.C. which depict the I.E. as gang infested and dumb white people.

    It's really short-sighted to generalize people just because they come from a geographical region. There are great people in the I.E. just as there are in SLO, in L.A. in the Bay Area. Riverside, CA happens to be one of the most innovative cities (in planning and sustainability) I've studied in all of Southern California, excluding major ones like LA and SD.

    With that being said. There are so many awesome vibrant places that are somewhat dense, and close to campus that you can find a nice home at.

    My friend lives in a rooftop suite in Downtown L.A. takes him 20 - 30 mins to get to class. Claremont Village is a bike ride away from campus...awesome place. Downtown Brea and Fullerton offer fun environments to live...you can take the train to Pomona station from Fullerton. I know some people who are commuting from Pasadena/Glendale area. about 30-40 mins at worst. I lived in Chino Hills for 7 months...that was a blast...20 mins from school.

    There are Girls everywhere too. The odds are good for you man...especially in the college atmosphere of Fullerton. CSUF was recently rated in the top 5 for most beautiful girls at a college campus...my wife went there

    Whatever school you go for, don't sell yourself short because of GPA or whatever...GO FOR IT!
    I think I could have said that better and I understand the point you are making. I've lived in LA and Irvine, and have made plenty of trips to the IE. It is an interesting place and I'm sure it has its pros and cons

    Regardless, I'd still probably venture closer towards LA and commute to campus if that scenario worked out. I'm still gonna shoot for it and see what happens.

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    Quote Originally posted by taxidriver View post
    I think I could have said that better and I understand the point you are making. I've lived in LA and Irvine, and have made plenty of trips to the IE. It is an interesting place and I'm sure it has its pros and cons

    Regardless, I'd still probably venture closer towards LA and commute to campus if that scenario worked out. I'm still gonna shoot for it and see what happens.
    Cool man. Hope it works out for you. Cal Poly Pomona was an amazing experience for me.

    There are some good Design-Minded professors there too who do a good job of orchestrating some amazing design course opportunities for the students...they sound a lot like the things you'd want to do...and they are on actual properties that are in the process of redevelopment...so you can really visualize your project in a real-world context.

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    Quote Originally posted by DVD AI View post
    Cool man. Hope it works out for you. Cal Poly Pomona was an amazing experience for me.

    There are some good Design-Minded professors there too who do a good job of orchestrating some amazing design course opportunities for the students...they sound a lot like the things you'd want to do...and they are on actual properties that are in the process of redevelopment...so you can really visualize your project in a real-world context.
    Wow sounds pretty cool. I'm directing my career path towards development so anything of that nature would give me a better idea of what's to come.

    Just curious - is Los Feliz too far for a reasonable commute to CPP?

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    Quote Originally posted by taxidriver View post
    Wow sounds pretty cool. I'm directing my career path towards development so anything of that nature would give me a better idea of what's to come.

    Just curious - is Los Feliz too far for a reasonable commute to CPP?
    It's about 40 mins to an hour and a half with traffic.

    If I were you I'd like to live closer. I commuted that amount of time and it was not fun after having to take classes 4 days a week...I had a carpool buddy too.
    Trust me, you will be finding yourself taking courses at least 4 days a week because of the state budget limiting what can ideally be offered every quarter.
    It's all up to you if you want to commute that long...I wouldn't.

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    @taxidriver: it seems you're in a similar position as i was last year. i too worried a bunch about my GPA, but even then, i went ahead and applied to Cal Poly SLO for URP even though my chances for acceptance were low. At the time of applying, my GPA was just a 3.4, my highest ACT score was a 25, and my highest SAT score was a 1750; my stats weren't stellar, but I was accepted to Cal Poly SLO. From experience, just hope for the best, but don't get your hopes up too high.

    During the last couple of weeks preceeding the Decision Deadline (May 1), I had a hard time deciding between Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly SLO. I also looked for advice on the cyburbia forum, but eventually I chose Cal Poly Pomona over Cal Poly SLO. Here's the link to the thread if you would like some opinons of the two schools, there's plenty of good info: http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=40292

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    Will you be an entering Fresheman, Taxidriver? Starting this Fall, CPP is requiring all entering Freshmen outside the local area to dorm. I'm not sure if that includes Freshmen entering next Spring, but you might want to take that into consideration. If you decide to attend CPP and the new rule applies to you, you'll probably be dorming at CPP.

    I kind of wish I would dorm this Fall considering the large amount of Freshmen that will do so. I live in Chino Hills, it's inside CPP's local area, so i'll be commuting 20 minutes; it's an entirely reasonable commute.

    Chino Hills is a pretty affluent city, there are many restaurants here of different varieties (mexican, italian, chinese, indian, japanese, etc). We have The Shoppes, it's a small open air shopping mall, that evokes a quaint downtown feel. There are 2 movie theaters in the area; a Harkins theater showing new releases and the Chino Cinem$aver showing movies 2-3months after release for just $3-4. Chino and Chino Hills become home of several small carnivals in the fall, while Pomona is home of the LA County Fair at the Fairplex in September. Downtown Pomona contains the Glass House, the Fox Theater, an antique road, and several art galleries.

    If you're into the outdoors, the Chino Hills State Park preserves hundreds of acres of pristine hillsides amidst the surrounding metropolis. It's worth a visit. Likewise, the San Gabriel Mountains offer many hiking opportunities. Bonnelli Regional Park, just 2 or 3 miles northeast of CPP offers some boating and kayaking opportunities.
    Last edited by espinozajr92; 19 May 2010 at 1:15 AM.

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    I'll be a transfer student so my admission requirements are much more lenient in comparison to those for incoming freshman. I don't apply until Aug. Either way, Good luck to you!

    Chino Hills is a nice area, I've been there a few times in the past. I'd probably wanna keep my commute at 30min max.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally posted by taxidriver View post
    I'll be a transfer student so my admission requirements are much more lenient in comparison to those for incoming freshman. I don't apply until Aug. Either way, Good luck to you!

    Chino Hills is a nice area, I've been there a few times in the past. I'd probably wanna keep my commute at 30min max.
    .

    Claremont at 9 miles from CPP.

    .

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