I graduated with a planning degree this spring, with a specialization in urban design. I have a paid transportation planning internship that is likely to end at the end of the year. My professional interest is creating wonderful pedestrian-oriented spaces that also well serve bicycle, transit and automotive transportation. Auxiliary to this is my interest in regional planning and creating dense, mixed-income multi-use urban neighborhoods.
I've been looking for a job at pedestrian planning and urban design jobs since I graduated, but haven't come close to getting any offers (I've been lucky to get a response - a feeling many of you know).
Anyway, I have recently been made aware that I have some strong connections at major real estate developers in the area, so I am going to explore there. I didn't take any of the real estate planning courses offered through my program. I was wondering if anyone here has insight/advice about planners who might be able to work at development firms. What does one do in a bottom-rung real estate development position? Do these types of places (I can't be too specific, so I understand of course if you cannot be either) have in-house design at which I might be able to work, or is that all out-of-house? In working at a real estate development firm that doesn't specialize in the type of urbanism that I am most interested in, would I develop skills that I would be able to bring somewhere that is doing the kind of development I am passionate about? Is my lack of real estate and business courses a real hindrance, or one that I would likely be able to overcome? Finally, is the culture at these places as bad as I've heard? I know there are nice people, but I have an image of a 1980's high-energy-all-the-time craziness - is that fair?
Thank you all very much,