Any tips on moving from smaller to bigger cities as a planner?
My interests include redevelopment, bike/ped/active living planning, infill housing, smart growth, greenways ... a lot of things that don't happen in smaller cities; plus at this point I prefer a bit of an urban environment to live. I'm not thinking New York, LA, or Chicago, but rather along the lines of Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh ... don't get me wrong, I do like college towns too as long as they are not too on the political fringe.
I have worked in a small city (50,000 people) on some of these issues, and also in a growth-controlled college town, but I feel out of touch with urban issues and skills sets to a certain extent. In fact, I don't even see openings very often - is this because once someone lands a job in what is considered a"good" city, they stick around? Do most people who are mid-level or senior planners there tend to start in that city or get their foot in the door with an internship? Is it better to look in consulting given my interests?
Also, once you get to mid-level jobs, do individual planners get to work on more interesting projects? (My background is long-range planning and housing.) I've been told one advantage of being in a smaller locale is the variety of work and responsibility you get. In my case, this was true but it was also a double-edged sword - too many projects piled on too few planners, and often there wasn't political support inside the organization to actually implement or really plan.
I'd be happy to work in a 'burb of these cities as well, particularly if it were progressive around these ideas, had transit or its own historic core, etc.
Thanks in advance - I've posted a few threads here over the past week just to get some informed opinions.