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Thread: Planning in India, China, Brazil, etc...

  1. #1
    Nov 2009

    Planning in India, China, Brazil, etc...

    I'm always hearing from people (who, perhaps tellingly, are not planners) that there are going to be huge numbers of planning jobs in the near future in rapidly developing countries like India, China, Brazil, and Russia (and I've even heard France will have a lot due to a major master plan of Paris that's in the works?). Is this boom something that will actually happen, and is this something that North American planners would be able to tap into? I'm someone who's very interested in going to school for planning (especially transportation), but very wary with all the well-founded naysaying out there. I speak French and Hindi, so I'm intrigued by the notion of working in one of these countries. Anyone know much about this?

  2. #2
    Mar 2008
    Fort Saint John, British Columbia
    I've done some planning work (at the academic level) in China and have traveled quite a bit in that country as well as India. I think on the surface, a planning job boom seems likely, yet scratch the surface slightly and you'll realize that 'boom for western planners' is probably not the best word. Some opportunities...yes...promised land...probably no.

    China, for example, produces quite a large number of their own urban planners (many of whom were educated abroad) who, given the politics of the country, will always run the day-to-day planning (unlike the Gulf). Signature and specialized projects will probably go to foreign bids, but a lot of the generic ham and eggs stuff that happens in most cities can be handled by domestic firms who know the context and have the political connections. The odd foreign firm might get in on some of that stuff (Ekistics, out of Vancouver, did some single-detached suburbs outside of Beijing among other smaller things...but that was still a rather specialized form of development for China).

    Language, of course...is important if you want to work for a domestic firm, but I wouldn't say essential for work in China. English is often the working language of most multinationals doing projects in China...you might be working with folks from India, Germany or Japan, along with your Chinese colleagues.

    Just my quick two cents.

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