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Thread: What steps should I take to become an international planner?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian RPfresh's avatar
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    What steps should I take to become an international planner?

    My goal is to become a planner that kind of flits around from city to city all over the world as a consultant. That's not going to happen right away if at all, so I was wondering for one thing what most international planners do (work for the UN, NGOs, individual govs etc.). But moreover I'm wondering what steps I should take to potentially get where I want to go.

    Based on discussions in the Student Lounge, I think I'm going to get a basic undergrad planning degree at a state school and go for a master's with a focus on international planning. At some point I'd like to get a summer (3-month) internship at UN-Habitat during this period for experience, and/or figure out another way to volunteer or get a gig abroad for a summer.

    Does this put me on line for what I'm interested in doing or would I be missing something? Also, what can I expect the post-graduate, pre-dream job years be like? Do most beginning international planners start out in hellholes, as I suspect? Anyway thanks for your response.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    RPfresh, I think you're making the right move to look internationally with your planning interests. Planning issues are international, especially with issues such as globalization occuring, however from what I know US Planning has sort of set the standard for planning internationally. That said, I would recommend a degree for a state school is the way to go and the specialization in international planning might give you a leg up above the competition.

    As for jobs, there are international consultancy firms that do the type of work you're looking into (i.e. traveling the world), however I would also look into private sector firms that specialize in international work. Many urban design and planning firms are branching internationally (mostly due to the economy). China is a hot market, maybe research internships with firms doing work there, might give you a starting point.

    Best of luck!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    When you say that you want to be an 'international planner', what do you mean? What specific area/jobscope do you want to work in?

    Are you interested in design consultancy? Policy design for IGOs like the World Bank and UN?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian RPfresh's avatar
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    I'm interested in helping cities solve problems - mainly unsafe streets, but just in general belonging to a cleanup crew that goes around helping cities make lives better for their constituents. This might include zoning(or lack of), transit, big-picture policy, etc. Basically I'm not sure exactly what I would want to do, just that I want to help out with the urban plight worldwide.

    I do know I'd like to work in developing countries, and since cities in such countries might not be able to pay for consulting work I would consider working for NGOs or the UN. Working in China would be cool as well. But really I just want to make as much of a dent in world suffering as I can using urban planning as my weapon. Make as much fun of that as you want, but that's the truth.

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