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Thread: Planning career prospects

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Planning career prospects

    Hi all,

    I'm considering beginning planning school in the fall. It's an interest that I have had for a while, and it's work that needs to be done. However, in reading this forum and other sites, I've been realizing just how hard the planning profession seems to have been hit by the recession. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts strong growth, but between the slump in construction and falling tax revenue, it appears that the reality is different from the expectations. Does anyone know more about the job market than this? For example--

    1) Are there jobs in certain parts of the country/certain types of cities? For example, are some states, metropolitan areas, or kinds of cities (e.g., downtowns, affluent suburbs, growing exurbs) hiring while others are not. Where geographically are most of the jobs concentrated? It would be nice to live in a large city, since this sort of development has drawn me to the field, but is that where the jobs are?

    2) What do planners think about the future of the field over the next decade?

    3) Once you are a planner, how is mobility? If you wish to move to another region, is that normally possible, or do people feel locked in to their jobs?

    4) Where are the most job opportunities? Local governments, developers, academia?

    Thank you all for you help! (PS: my apologies if this topic has already been covered. I looked for it, but couldn't find equivalent discussion anywhere).

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Just to briefly respond: If you're just beginning planning school (i.e., as a freshman), it will be 4 or more years until you're graduated. The job market will be much different by then. Yes it was hit hard, but the housing market has to recover at some point, and already (at least in CA) it's starting to show signs of that - albeit slowly. Also, we plan, not build; considering it takes between 2-10 years for projects to be approved (mileage varies by state), developers start planning projects well before the market fully recovers so they're ready for the next wave.

    If you're interested in planning, go for it. Don't worry about job prospects for now (unless you're just about to graduate). Just don't go into huge amounts of debt for your education; it's really not worth it.
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tarf View post
    Just to briefly respond: If you're just beginning planning school (i.e., as a freshman), it will be 4 or more years until you're graduated. The job market will be much different by then. Yes it was hit hard, but the housing market has to recover at some point, and already (at least in CA) it's starting to show signs of that - albeit slowly. Also, we plan, not build; considering it takes between 2-10 years for projects to be approved (mileage varies by state), developers start planning projects well before the market fully recovers so they're ready for the next wave.

    If you're interested in planning, go for it. Don't worry about job prospects for now (unless you're just about to graduate). Just don't go into huge amounts of debt for your education; it's really not worth it.
    I would also add there is a long list of planning students/graduates looking for jobs. Combined with the shrinking public sector and slow economic recovery, the list will take a long time to clear. Any student will want to learn a secondary skill to fall back on until something comes up (hopefully).
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    1) Are there jobs in certain parts of the country/certain types of cities? For example, are some states, metropolitan areas, or kinds of cities (e.g., downtowns, affluent suburbs, growing exurbs) hiring while others are not. Where geographically are most of the jobs concentrated? It would be nice to live in a large city, since this sort of development has drawn me to the field, but is that where the jobs are?

    Everyone is hurting, big cities and small. More than half of planning jobs are in the public sector, and "almost" the remainder of planning jobs (private sector, non-for-profit, other) cater towards public sector clients. Don't judge a metropolitan area on its size to determine the numbers of planning jobs (filled and unfilled). Personally, I think metropolitan areas with higher numbers of local governments (even moreso than metropolitan areas that have just a higher number of counties) are "probably" more likely to have planning jobs (filled and unfilled). For example, Chicagoland (the metro area of 6-7 million) has 150-200? towns, villages, and cities, many of which employ planners. However, Houston has a fraction of the number of local governments. Chicagoland USUALLY places a higher value in the role of planner in land development. In other areas of the country, property rights dominates land use decisions, so the role of the planner is dimished, yielding fewer filled/unfilled planning positions.

    2) What do planners think about the future of the field over the next decade?

    We have been in steep decline since the middle of last decade, and in some areas of rapid growth before that. I left planning in early 2011 after 6 years to work in a different industry. New construction, specifically single-family residential construction, is the barometer of growth in the planning, indirectly or directly. The planning position SURVIVES, if it can at all, because communities GROW and EXPAND. We cannot support a profession of 40,000-45,000 simply on the ideals of planning and the importance of planning. Our livelihood, in one form or another, depends on the number of building permits we process (EVEN if we do other types of planning that have nothing to do with development). How long will that take? Right now, my guess is sometime after 2013-2014. As the economy rebounds, businesses hire and expand to the point where they need more space. We have an overabundance of housing stock and I think we will see a growth in officespace or nonresidential alongside commercial, but it will take several quarters for the demand for additional office space. Once that happens, the demand for housing closer to nonresidetial development will increase, leading to new residential construction (THEN we will see more PLANNING jobs for us). So, still expect a few more years of misery.

    3) Once you are a planner, how is mobility? If you wish to move to another region, is that normally possible, or do people feel locked in to their jobs?

    I don't think planning is any more or less mobile than other white collar professions. There are studies today that show we are still far less mobile than our cohorts during the Great Depression, who could pick up and move at a moment's notice. If you are single with no dependents and don't own real estate, you probably have more flexibility. But it also depends on your willingness to pack up leave. I did it twice: from Chicago to Wichita in 2009, and from Wichita to Houston in 2011.

    4) Where are the most job opportunities? Local governments, developers, academia?

    Private corporations, but then again they are not planning-related. I used my transferable skills earned in planning to transfer into a unrelated, but growing industry.

    Hope his helps.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    Just to add a little bit, the first planning gig (especially if all you have is an undergraduate degree) is very likely going to be someplace small and remote. As ColoGI stated, there are a lot of qualified people out there and not enough jobs available for everyone. Your best bet is applying to places that have a smaller pile of applicants (hence the smaller and more remote setting). There are a lot of suburbs out there too, so there is probably a better chance getting a job with a suburban municipality.

    I highly recommend going this route before going off to graduate school becuase it will give you a good opportunity to learn what planning is before completely devoting yourself to the field (and adding on considerable debt). The best thing you can do in the current state of the economy if you want to be a planner is open yourself up to the country. Urban, suburban, rural. All of these settings can benefit from good planning.
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks, all, for the advice. It is indeed very helpful.

    The job prospects are particularly on my mind since I'm looking at graduate degrees (thus graduation in 2014) and transferring into planning from a military-related career path. Even as an undergrad I kept in the back of my mind that I might pursue it at grad level.

    Thanks for all the fair and level-headed advice. In this economy, there aren't so many professions that are growing. I know I would find planning work very engaging (at least once I got to a level to hopefully have meaningful input). It just takes some thinking to make sure I can pay the bills in the mean time.

    PS: Still welcome other advice. I'm sure there are others on this forum wondering the same things, too.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by peterh View post
    T
    PS: Still welcome other advice. I'm sure there are others on this forum wondering the same things, too.
    Been said a few hundred times already on this board, 'bre.
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    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  8. #8
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    RUN AWAY

    Quote Originally posted by peterh View post
    Thanks, all, for the advice. It is indeed very helpful.

    The job prospects are particularly on my mind since I'm looking at graduate degrees (thus graduation in 2014) and transferring into planning from a military-related career path. Even as an undergrad I kept in the back of my mind that I might pursue it at grad level.

    Thanks for all the fair and level-headed advice. In this economy, there aren't so many professions that are growing. I know I would find planning work very engaging (at least once I got to a level to hopefully have meaningful input). It just takes some thinking to make sure I can pay the bills in the mean time.

    PS: Still welcome other advice. I'm sure there are others on this forum wondering the same things, too.
    1) Are there jobs in certain parts of the country/certain types of cities?
    States with a love of government and regulation have the most jobs - CA, IL, NY, NJ. States that value personal freedom have very few jobs and they are low-paying. Big cities always have planning jobs, but you will need to be part of the political machine to get those jobs. They aren't posted anywhere but the city web site and they'll be open only for a few days because the job is already taken by a campaign worker or an alderman's nephew. They are just barely fulfilling hiring laws and policies.

    2) What do planners think about the future of the field over the next decade?
    I think the planning profession will shrink over the next decade as municipal budgets are tightened. You can always build without a planner.

    3) Once you are a planner, how is mobility? If you wish to move to another region, is that normally possible, or do people feel locked in to their jobs?
    There is little mobility. You are locked into your city's or state's retirement system. You must be known in your metropolitan region for any hope of a different job. The majority of job movement is due to political change, so be prepared to either play that game, or be played by it.

    4) Where are the most job opportunities? Local governments, developers, academia?
    The most job opportunities are probably in local governments, but a good real estate market will increase jobs with developers. These are followed by huge lay-offs. Academia has a large number of openings now due to baby-boomer retirements, but you need a Ph.D. and the ability to devote your life to inconsequential pontification.

    Sorry I'm so cynical. I am a mid-career planner who would leave the field tomorrow given a chance. Take my comments for what they are worth. If I were you, I'd get an MPA - you will have many more options and won't have to put up with the 'orthodoxy' of APA. The politics and grief are the same, so you might as well make more money. A planner boss told me this 25 years ago and I thought he was crazy, but he was absolutely correct.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    1) Are there jobs in certain parts of the country/certain types of cities? For example, are some states, metropolitan areas, or kinds of cities (e.g., downtowns, affluent suburbs, growing exurbs) hiring while others are not. Where geographically are most of the jobs concentrated? It would be nice to live in a large city, since this sort of development has drawn me to the field, but is that where the jobs are?

    The jobs in planning tend to be in areas that are growing. Texas is a strong area for planners. It seems the TXAPA posts at least 2-3 jobs a week. I moved here to suburban Houston from a mid-sized city in IL. The only catch is planning in Texas is "interesting". Texas is a VERY pro-property rights state, both Houston and the next largest city in the Houston metro area, Pasadena, do not have zoning. The community I work for has zoning, but there are still a lot of citizens and even council members who think zoning is a joke. Furthermore, state law prohibits zoning in counties. Coming from the midwest this was a shock.
    2) What do planners think about the future of the field over the next decade?

    I believe the decline in the planning field is beginnig to level out. I am notcing more and more job openings, although it will still take another 18-24 months to see the profession bounce back. I don't think we will see the boom days of the mid 2000's where planners were actively recruited. The profession is beginning to make the shift that good planning is good economic development. Many developers are reluctant to spend a few million dollars for a development when there is no guarantee that something noxious won't go next door.

    3) Once you are a planner, how is mobility? If you wish to move to another region, is that normally possible, or do people feel locked in to their jobs?

    I may be rare, but I have never felt locked into my job. I went to planning school in Minnesota and had 2 different jobs in the midwest before I moved to Texas. Planning is a pretty mobile field, especially for the first few years of your career.

    4) Where are the most job opportunities? Local governments, developers, academia?

    Most planners work in local governments (cities, counties, regional planning agencies/MPO's) with a fewer number working in the private sector. Some larger companies hire planners for site selection work, but those are fairly small numbers of positions.

    Despite the downturn in the last few years, I think planning is a good field to be in. The stress can be high, but it is a decent living. Try to look for a techincally or hands-on based planning program. I truely feel that the hands-on work I had in school, coupled with a few good internships helped me land my first job in 2008. Planning is a fairly small profession, and the connections you make even in an intership can help you well into your career. Good luck!

  10. #10
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    Schools Impacting Career Prospects

    This may be a more appropriate question for the "Student Lounge" forum, but my hunch is that most people checking that forum are prospective and current students, and I am looking for some guidance from practicing planners on how much weight a school's name/program carries in the real world.

    I am very fortunate to have gotten accepted into all the MCP programs I applied to for fall 2012. I'm planning on attending several open houses and I am sure that will help firm up my decision, but right now, my strong inclination is towards Rutgers-Bloustein. Am I insane to turn down MIT (which I applied to mostly out of curiosity, not expecting to get in, since I don't want to relocate to Boston for personal reasons) and Penn (financial reasons/don't want to take on too much debt)?

    Given that Rutgers has a pretty reputable program, will this have an impact on my post-graduate career in any significant way? I should say that going into school, my main interest is in redevelopment of industrial sites and my ideal post-graduate career would be with an economic development corp or something similar. Though of course my mind/interests might change once I'm in school.

    Apologies if this same question has been asked before (from perusing older threads, I gather that the consensus on Cyburbia is to go wherever is cheapest), but without any real-life people in the planning field to ask, I guess I am just hoping for some reassurance!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    [QUOTE=FaunaConfusia;627062]

    I am very fortunate to have gotten accepted into all the MCP programs I applied to for fall 2012. I'm planning on attending several open houses and I am sure that will help firm up my decision, but right now, my strong inclination is towards Rutgers-Bloustein. Am I insane to turn down MIT (which I applied to mostly out of curiosity, not expecting to get in, since I don't want to relocate to Boston for personal reasons) and Penn (financial reasons/don't want to take on too much debt)?
    QUOTE]

    Go where your heart and mind lead you.When hiring I would give equal high marks for both schools. I would be more interested in how you as an individual would fit with our organization and program.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by FaunaConfusia View post
    This may be a more appropriate question for the "Student Lounge" forum, but my hunch is that most people checking that forum are prospective and current students, and I am looking for some guidance from practicing planners on how much weight a school's name/program carries in the real world.!
    Like mike gurnee said, it carries a little bit of weight. I can certainly tell around here who went to a Colo school and who did not.

    But you can be a 4.0 MIT grad and if you are poorly socialized or don't fit or seem lazy or don't interview well or or or, all the 4.0s in the world won't mean a hill of beans.
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    I think name is a bigger deal in a regional context. As ColoGI alluded to, employers may prefer people who graduated from a local school over a big name one. Graduates from local schools are often a known quantity while "outsiders" are not. Though if you're not interested in local planning, this may not matter as much.

    If price isn't as much of an issue, pick the school that you feel will best lead you to your career goals. Like each of those programs have strengths and weaknesses. Pick the one that most aligns with what you want to do. Though I'd definitely lean towards Rutgers if I were in your shoes.

  14. #14

    Life outside planning

    Been a while since I posted in this forum, and a while since I've scanned the latest "status" of the planning profession. A year ago I was very outspoken against the health of the profession, and today I see no reason to alter my opinions.

    One thing new planners and students don't realize is importance of the overall climate of public employment that greatly affects our job opportunities. There is a war on against public expenditures, and fiscal conservatives have taken great advantage of the Great Recession. Local government budgets were hit extremely hard, and the delayed affect of reduced property tax revenue is still occurring. The goal of fiscal conservatives is to reduce expenditures permanently, regardless of the health of the economy. People on these boards consistently point to the hope of the economy recovering, and *voila* all the planning jobs will magically appear. This ain't happening. As someone above said, the "need" for planning is irrelevant. Students can't comprehend this, and accept that their educational institution of choice is training them in something that isn't worth the time and money they are spending on it. Professors have no farking idea what it's like in the real world. They are as cloistered as monks. So their opinions and advice are worth nothing on this subject. Harsh, but reality often is.

    As far as what I'm doing? I've become a stay-at-home dad and I love it. I spend my days brewing beer in the garage, changing diapers (not while I'm brewing beer), and working on a small business that has nothing to do with planning. I've come back to tell all you struggling planners and students that there is life outside planning, and it's a better one. I tune in the radio to the local station and listen to planning commission meetings and the staff reports by the local planners and wonder what in the hell I ever saw in it. I took pride in what I did, but it never gave me anything back. It did not feed my soul. I get more pleasure out of making a good salad and drinking a good beer. So take heart, and if you happen to leave the profession for good, as I have, trust that your life may very well turn out for the better.

    Cheers!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    As ColoGI alluded to, employers may prefer people who graduated from a local school over a big name one. .
    I danced around it to be tactful (for once), but what I meant was I can tell the quality of the education relatively easily and I can spot a CU grad after just a little bit of time. That is all.
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    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    There is a war on against public expenditures, and fiscal conservatives have taken great advantage of the Great Recession. Local government budgets were hit extremely hard, and the delayed affect of reduced property tax revenue is still occurring. The goal of fiscal conservatives is to reduce expenditures permanently, regardless of the health of the economy. People on these boards consistently point to the hope of the economy recovering, and *voila* all the planning jobs will magically appear. This ain't happening.
    CC, although some people on this board disagree with the comments you make, I am glad to hear you landed well at your stay at home gig. Since we met in "real time" i know the snarkiness is just the way people read it and not your true personality. Anyways, this is a truly good piece to chew on for those prospective students. I too feel the same way, as mentioned in another post in the student forum. The political climate we are in is all about austerity, reduce benefits and do more with less. The recovery will be about reducing spending in the government sector, which does not bode well for those aspiring planners looking to do government work or planners with no real sense of design skills or that can translate what they learn in school and being able to cross perform duties in the private sector.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  17. #17
    ChocolateChip should be required reading for potential planning students. Too many enter planning programs with this romanticized notion of urban planning that's reinforced by academia, but get disillusioned when the harsh realities of the real world hit them like a brick to the face. The municipal job market for planners is in shambles right now, but there are a lot of rewarding careers out there for those willing to step outside the box. There are special districts, states, federal agencies, non-profits, land developers, market research firms, right-of-way companies, consultants, and many more that are looking for the skills a city planner can bring to the table. ChocolateChip presents one point of view, but it should be contrasted by those of us that love what we do.

    My top three ideal jobs would be:

    -A high level planner overseeing the implementation of innovative planning tools in New York City to promote the creation of more workforce housing

    -A community development planner working to promote infill development in the southside of Chicago

    -Working in transit-joint developments in some capacity for the Washington Metro, selling air rights above rail stations for intense mixed-use, mixed income developments

    It's clear my interests are in development, but those are highly unrealistic fantasies at this stage in life. So I searched for something more realistic. I found a planning related gig at the state level that I enjoyed and grew it from there. I've worked the last couple years in affordable housing development and love the job with a passion. I don't disagree with anything ChocolateChip is saying, but I feel there is another side of the story to be told.

    P.S. CC, I feel like we’re both the red-headed step children here so cheers! I'm happy to hear that you've found peace from being an entrepreneur

  18. #18
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Brewing beer, dadding around, working on a small business.. sounds like you've found some happiness, man. Good stuff.

    I'm sort of comfortably numb at this point, having ratcheted my expectations for a rewarding career way down in the face of a collapsed planning job market. The austerity-induced structural changes in planning field may be such that we won't recognize this profession when the dust clears. I'm still looking for a way out, but don't see one that is compatible with the realities of paying down student loan debt and household bills. Even the few nonprofit gigs that I've interviewed for all pay around 1/3 less than a staff planner makes. Everyone wants a way out of the woods, but sometimes, all there is to do is suffer.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I'm still pretty young, 33, but I've already realized that my career will not be some impactful tour de force. Do I like what I do for a living? Yes. Do I love what I do? Some days. I make decent money that helps (along with my wife) to provide my family with a stable life.

    I can see myself doing this for the next 30 years, and I would be fine with that. I also know that if the right opportunity presents itself, I will transition out of the "land use planning/zoning administration" mode and into something else.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  20. #20
    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    Off-topic:


    CC, although some people on this board disagree with the comments you make, I am glad to hear you landed well at your stay at home gig. Since we met in "real time" i know the snarkiness is just the way people read it and not your true personality. Anyways, this is a truly good piece to chew on for those prospective students. I too feel the same way, as mentioned in another post in the student forum. The political climate we are in is all about austerity, reduce benefits and do more with less. The recovery will be about reducing spending in the government sector, which does not bode well for those aspiring planners looking to do government work or planners with no real sense of design skills or that can translate what they learn in school and being able to cross perform duties in the private sector.
    Thanks, man. I've mellowed since I've become a stay-at-home dad (especially since I started brewing beer ), so I don't intend anything, at this point, to be confrontational or snarky.

    In any case, if I could sum up all that I've preached here, it would be this:

    1. Generalist planning is out. Does this mean there are no generalist planners? Of course not. City planners must be generalists, to know something about everything, in order to get shit done. And, in general, all planners should have a wide range of skills. But outside the ever-narrowing slice of employment at municipal departments, there is no real need for generalist planners. You need to be a climate change specialist, NEPA/CEQA specialist, designer, etc. You're not going to develop a full-fledged specialty in college, but you should be arranging your courses and job searches with that in mind. Very, very few students will go straight into municipal planning.

    2. Universities are stocked with mainly two types of teachers: Planners who practiced 20-30 years ago, and then professors who never did any planning outside their own institutions. Both types don't understand what it's like surviving as a planner today outside the financially insulated confines of academia. They know the theory, they know all sorts of creative planning methods, and they certainly think they know how planning should be. But hardly any of it carries over into the real world, because they are largely detached from dictatorial public fund management. You'll find professors who get upset when they actually have to factor in financial constraints, for example when organizing and funding a student-led community planning workshop for an outside jurisdiction, saying things like "I just want to plan!" Some of them actually do have real-world project management skills, and oftentimes they are the ones that had more recent and relevant real-world experience, and probably they are part-time lecturers.

    3. The war on local government budgetary spending is real. There are more politicians and municipalities and states sworn against raising taxes now than there ever have been. We thought Prop 13 in CA was restrictive, and I think that is eventually going to pale in comparison to the changes that are now being made across the country in how public funds are gathered and spent. This really goes back to the very nature of planning itself, and it being an inherently socialist endeavor that is at odds with how money wants to be handled in our society. The Great Recession has made our nation more capitalist, has narrowed the middle class, and has made equitable resource distribution harder to attain.

    In many ways, my heart is with the young planning students today because I think the Recession has beat the idealism out of them, and this in a profession where semi-socialist idealism is like a badge of honor in school. I hope that they start demanding more practical educations from their planning schools, and are not afraid to take their money and walk. The changes that are being made now across this country, the changes to taxes, to city charters, to state constitutions, to the very process of government, these changes will have effects for decades to come. It's their responsibility to try to ascertain what planning will be like in 20 years, because the schools don't know. They're only concerned with their own temporary survival, and that includes taking your money.

    All I know is what I see, and what I see is fewer planners, less relevance of planning school education, fewer opportunities despite a reviving economy, increased derangement of professional organizations (i.e. AICP), and the reality that the world goes on without the planners that US News and BLS says it would need. When municipalities go without us and survive, why would they hire us again, with our fading skills? If there is ever any significantly reviving demand to spend money on planning, it will be taken up by private companies, and those companies won't refer to us as planners, but as project managers, contractors, administrators, specialists.

    Some can read this and call it doom and gloom rhetoric, but it's based on facts and honest observation. I said the same things when I was employed, so it's not just temporary personal negativity. Hell, I'm happier now than I've been in probably a decade. I understand the need for currently working planners to be positive about their work and about the profession, but it doesn't change the fact that, as it's historically been defined, the profession is in decline.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post

    In many ways, my heart is with the young planning students today because I think the Recession has beat the idealism out of them, and this in a profession where semi-socialist idealism is like a badge of honor in school. I hope that they start demanding more practical educations from their planning schools, and are not afraid to take their money and walk. The changes that are being made now across this country, the changes to taxes, to city charters, to state constitutions, to the very process of government, these changes will have effects for decades to come. It's their responsibility to try to ascertain what planning will be like in 20 years, because the schools don't know. They're only concerned with their own temporary survival, and that includes taking your money.
    Prepping for a night meeting, so I'm still in the office.

    I know some of these kids out there must be reading this. My take is this: this is a field that has always taken in highly motivated young idealists as a raw ingredient, put them through a meat grinder in their first position or two, and for those that stay with it, produced competent and pragmatic (if a bit staid) bureaucrats.. blueshirts, if you will. That was the Pact - you surrender a chunk of your idealism in order to learn and master the sometimes unsavory ways in which planning actually gets done, and in exchange, you got a fair salary, job security, a pension, etc. The New Economy has decimated this old order, and whatever it is that's in the process of replacing it may not be worth the investment of time, money, and sanity that it takes to get there - if 'there' is still something that's attainable under massive austerity.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    Prepping for a night meeting, so I'm still in the office.
    You got a fair salary, job security, a pension, etc. The New Economy has decimated this old order, and whatever it is that's in the process of replacing it may not be worth the investment of time, money, and sanity that it takes to get there - if 'there' is still something that's attainable under massive austerity.
    There isn't anything at the end of the line. A big problem is that planners/planning students equate planning work with planning job opportunities. Planning will get done, I think there will be a need for zoning ordinances, economic feasibility studies, transportation impact plans, international planning, etc. BUT will there be ENOUGH planning job opportunities to tip the scale back? Probably not.

    On a completely unrelated note, for those of you in APA-Texas, have there been any CM opportunities? The Houston Section has not had ANY annoucements since a non-CM social last December. As a former PDO myself I am extremely concerned about this as we are almost into April. I have already formally complained to the Chapter President and PDO but no responses.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  23. #23
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post

    : this is a field that has always taken in highly motivated young idealists as a raw ingredient, put them through a meat grinder in their first position or two, and for those that stay with it, produced competent and pragmatic (if a bit staid) bureaucrats.. blueshirts, if you will. That was the Pact - you surrender a chunk of your idealism in order to learn and master the sometimes unsavory ways in which planning actually gets done, and in exchange, you got a fair salary, job security, a pension, etc. The New Economy has decimated this old order, and whatever it is that's in the process of replacing it may not be worth the investment of time, money, and sanity that it takes to get there - if 'there' is still something that's attainable under massive austerity.
    Pretty much the text that will be set in stone in a few years after the New Normal sets in for good. Basically, what gets built will be what the people with the money want. Some of it will work.

    And this should be the header for many of the forums on this site. Wish I woulda said that!
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    Prepping for a night meeting, so I'm still in the office.

    I know some of these kids out there must be reading this. My take is this: this is a field that has always taken in highly motivated young idealists as a raw ingredient, put them through a meat grinder in their first position or two, and for those that stay with it, produced competent and pragmatic (if a bit staid) bureaucrats.. blueshirts, if you will. That was the Pact - you surrender a chunk of your idealism in order to learn and master the sometimes unsavory ways in which planning actually gets done, and in exchange, you got a fair salary, job security, a pension, etc. The New Economy has decimated this old order, and whatever it is that's in the process of replacing it may not be worth the investment of time, money, and sanity that it takes to get there - if 'there' is still something that's attainable under massive austerity.
    Agreed. This isn't just for planning, but many white and blue collar jobs. Globalization, etc, etc.

    Again, the challenge for students and new planners is in perceiving what this means for their future and their career. Unfortunately, I think most students are still being habituated to trusting the institutions; that the schools, corporations, governments have everything mapped out for them. The baby boomers were the only generation that had these opportunities so easily handed to them, and I have yet to meet one who truly understands the fragility of the modern economy and what it means for students.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    My take is this: this is a field that has always taken in highly motivated young idealists as a raw ingredient, put them through a meat grinder in their first position or two, and for those that stay with it, produced competent and pragmatic (if a bit staid) bureaucrats.. blueshirts, if you will. That was the Pact - you surrender a chunk of your idealism in order to learn and master the sometimes unsavory ways in which planning actually gets done, and in exchange, you got a fair salary, job security, a pension, etc. The New Economy has decimated this old order, and whatever it is that's in the process of replacing it may not be worth the investment of time, money, and sanity that it takes to get there - if 'there' is still something that's attainable under massive austerity.
    I agree other than to say that the New Economy has not entirely eliminated this deal. However, you never really get job security anymore, that's just not there for most jobs. But if you stick with planning and learn to balance idealism with pragmatism, I think that there is still room to practice planning.

    Having said that, I have never been laid off, let go, etc. But I have had to make some tough balancing acts in my career.

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